Ziggy made it through the the MRI and he is now in recovery!
Very very sadly, he has got syringomyellia. This is gutting news (even though I already kenw he had it, it just seems much more real now we have a diagnosis :( ) for us and its really rather upsetting but the priority now is making him comfortable and hoping we can have him for atleast another few months. We havent been back yet to find out more information so things might not be as bad as we think. Il keep you all updated when we pick him up at 4.
I'm so sorry that your suspicions were confirmed, but please don't think that SM is a death sentence. In all probability, Ziggy should be able to live a long life with SM once you get his meds sorted out. Yes, there are some very severe cases of SM in which it is more humane to end a dogs suffering, but Ziggy doesn't see to in that category. I think he'll do just fine once you find the right meds and the right dosage for him. Remember, it can take awhile to figure out if the meds are working or if you need to change or up the dosage. You have to have patience and then relax and enjoy Ziggy. Don't look at him as if he's a sick dog. Easier said than done, I know. I treated Riley, my SM dog with kid gloves for a long time, always looking for a setback or symptoms and thinking no one else could take care of her as well as I could. Well, she's 11 years old now and is doing great. She doesn't know she has SM. She will never be normal but she compensates and just keeps on going. That's what you can hope for with Ziggy. That he lives as normal a life as he can, and you love him as best you can for a long time.
I could not agree more with what Bev has said. I also thought it was the end of the world when my 8 years old 'man of the house' became symptomatic, but here we are some 3 years later with a very well treated dog, who lives an almost normal life and is said to be in very good condition for a dog of his age. Rebel's optimum doseage is 200-300 mgs Gabapentin daily, more if required, plus Tagamet if needed, 20 mgs Frusemide and Loxicom once daily for his arthritic pain.
It all sounds very complex at first but it's very easy to estimate on a day to day basis, especially for a greedy Cavalier who thinks his pills are the extra sweeties that are reserved especially for him.
Just as Bev so rightly says 'he doesn't now he has SM' and neither will Ziggy :wggle:so just give out the pills and try not to worry, even if it takes a while to find the best drugs and doses for him.
What a relief it must be to know for sure :D
Sorry, I forgot to mention what I think is a very important thing to do:
I can't remember whether you said you had discussed Ziggy's problems with his breeder, but whether he or she is interested or not, I think you should write a formal letter enclosing a copy of the official scan results, plus the heart form too, assuming that they gave you one, which you send to the breeder with a polite letter advising of the situation because you are anxious the same parents should not be mated together again because of Ziggy's condition. When each of my Cavaliers was MRId and I got yellow heart reports too, as a matter of courtesy I sent copies to the breeders of bitch and stud by signed for post so that I knew they had been received. What the breeder(s) do after that is their choice, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have done all you can to avoid further affected puppies being produced from a repeat mating.
I think that if everyone behaves responsibly as a result of affected or non affected dogs being examined, then the prospects of breeding healthy dogs is improved.
Thank you all for your kind support! :) Hes now home and hes his usual puppy like self. Luckily for the breeder, she isnt breeding anymore (She was just an independent breeder who bred from home. It wasnt a puppy farm or anything like that) but if we do get in touch again I shal definitely just let her know as she was otherwise a very very good breeder.
@Love My Cavs & ByFloSin, Thank you for the reassurance both. Its nice that the neurologist also said the same. She said to us it was much more likely that something else would carry him off which I feel a lot more at ease about. We were given 6 weeks supply of Gabapentin at 100mg 3 times a day and we were told to report back to them over the phone and then go for a follow up appointment in January. So Im much much happier about this now I know more where I am! I was awfully worried it was going to be a downward slope constantly (which it still could be, but the specialist reckons that in his case theres quite a bit more life in him yet.) so we are thrilled to have some treatment on the table for himt o have.
How will we know when they start to work? Will he stop licking his paws or will we see a decrease of these symptoms?
Again, thank you all very much for your support and reassurance :hug:
Oliver was diagnosed with CM/SM at 6, started showing more (still mild) symptoms at 8, but is now 12 and still only on 100mg x 4 of gabapentin. He leads a normal life, except that he is getting old and a bit unsteady on his feet, but can still enjoy a 2 mile walk off lead. Gabapentin should make a difference quite quickly, except that it may make Ziggy a bit sleepy for a week or two. It's usual to also start CM/SM dogs on a diuretic such as Zitac (omeprazole) or similar, to reduce the build up of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain - something you may want to discuss at your January visit. But it's normal to have to tweak medication over a few months (for example, some dogs do fine on x3 a day, whereas Oliver does better on x4), and from time to time during later life - CM/SM is a progressive disease, but progression can be really slow with some dogs, so :xfngr: Ziggy is one of those and you will have him with you for many more years.
Even if Ziggy's breeder no longer breeds, she may want to contact other people with puppies she has bred who share one or both of Ziggy's parents, so that they can be on the alert and perhaps get their dogs scanned. If she is likely to still belong to either the Cavalier Club or the Midland Cavalier Club, I might be able to track her down in the membership lists - if you think it's worth hunting, send me a private message (via the 'Notifications' menu at the top of this page) with her name and I'll see if I can help.
Kate, Oliver and Aled
Hi kate! Thanks for all the info! I will definitely for sure discuss the possibility of Zitac with the vet. We have noticed (like you mentioned) he is definitely very very tired *but* this isnt actually getting in the way of his improvements that much. This morning bless him, he could only open one eye and wag his tail slightly (im pretty sure this was fatigue from yesterday ontop of the meds hes on) but however, right now he is fantastic! I havent seen him this spritely in a long long time. His paws are dry! He hasnt obsessively licked his paws although he has licked them slightly (like for seconds at a time) but not for long long sessions which is amazing. He looks in himself more contented and much much more comfortable. I cant tell you how much it means to me to see an improvement in him even though! Hes so much more settled.. He is right now as I write this he is lying accross my lap. Not sure how he expects me to write this with him sitting on me!
He has perked up so much. He has even taken up much more interest in sniffing whats in all the nooks and crannies of the house! We'l keep you posted on everything else
It's so good to see this. I saw a similar change when Rebel started his medication with Frusemide, then again when he progressed and graduated to Gabapentin, then Tagamet.
It is only in the most extreme cases that the defect appreciably shortens the lifespan, so please carry on enjoying life with Ziggy for years and years to come.
I am so glad and relieved that Ziggy has been properly diagnosed and responding to the appropriate treatment. Let us know more when you have the follow up appointment in January please. Meanwhile enjoy an extra special Christmas and give that boy some very special hugs from his Auntie Flo.
Absolutely will do, Flo!
I too am relived that we have a proper diagnosis and that we are on the path of treatment of which is working. You certainly havent seen the last of us! Il keep you all posted with all the further progress and stuff and Il see what I can do about helping people in a similar situation here.
He took himself to bed and has settled for the 2nd night so far on his meds which is far better than before we started as he was very bad in the night. (hed just get up and not able to settle)
I have been keeping a close eye on his symptoms today and I only managed to find 2 (and im not sure if the second one I witnessed was just normal behavior or SM) today, whereas before it was about 5 or 6. He still licks his paws (I have seen him do it about 3 times today whereas before youd simply loose count) but no where near as much as he did and when he does its for no longer than a few seconds and he stops and settles and thats the end of it.
Sending hugs Ziggs way! :) We are very much looking forward now to enjoying a Christmas without the worry of it not being treated so so much! Anyway, Il keep everyone posted on Ziggys progress.
Ziggy has had a much better morning than yesterday which is good. He jumped up into bed with me this morning and slept with me for about 40 minutes or so which is nice. (before it would have been a quick hello if at all and then hed jump off to lie in a cool place) Been very good all morning but he did just do that face rubbing thing and now hes in the kitchen obsessively licking his paws. But Im pretty sure I heard somewhere that the storms can still make them bad (medication or not) which it is pretty bad at the moment. Hes still better than without the medication though which is still brilliant! Il have to learn how to read the pressure readings so we can gauge whats what with it all.
Eak! Sure enough,here comes the storm! Getting rather dark and stormy out there. Hes not happy bless him but fingers crossed its just the storm!
Also! What about grooming? Can he still go to the groomers? We like to keep his fur extra short when its the summer because we dont like him getting hot. Are we best off just leaving it for his claws and paws?