Tentative SM diagnosis
Well, another one of my bunch has been tentatively diagnosed with SM based on a neurological exam. I had been expecting it and oddly enough, I'm relieved to have him on gabapentin now and not distressed to have the tentative diagnosis. Oz scratches more than my other three combined and yelps whenever anyone touches him around his neck and ears. During his neuro exam, he exhibited pretty significant neck pain. Based on his symptoms and the exam, we're trialing gabapentin and omeprazole for two weeks and then following up with the neuro. I really have no doubt though that he'll be better.
When Riley was diagnosed I was devastated. I thought she was ready to die. Six years later, she's still around and doing great, so that's helped with my attitude toward Oz's diagnosis. We'll make it through this and I know whatever comes down the road, however severe it gets, we'll handle it. This also will be a different experience for me going the medication management route vs surgery. Although I'm certain that surgery prolonged Riley's life and definitely gave her a better quality of life, I certainly didn't want to repeat that one!
Oh Bev so sorry to hear this news. Even when you're expecting it, it's still a shock to hear the diagnosis, but it sounds like you have a very positive attitude and that really helps. Do hope the medication will help relieve the scratching, so distressing to watch.
Riley has been amazing, it's wonderful to hear that news. It's always a very tough decision, my dog who had surgery only had 10 months with us.
Really hope that Oz will do well for a long time to come. As he is older anyway, that will help - they don't seem to progress so quickly in my experience.
Bev, I'm so sorry to read this news. It just isn't fair. I'm glad that you are getting Oz on a trial with the meds. I'm sure he will be more comfortable. :hug:
So sorry you are facing this with another of your cavaliers. As Joyce wrote, it just doesn't seem fair. Fingers crossed the medication route will keep Oz comfortable.
Riley has been remarkable. Such an amazing little trouper. xx
Bev I am really sorry. But I also know just what you mean about being able to take it in and move forward following a (likely) diagnosis. I was devastated following my first diagnosis on Leo, back in 2005. Nine years later, and he manages quite well on Lyrica and cimetidine. Meanwhile, six of the six I currently have, have either CM or CM/SM. Four have symptomatic SM confirmed on scans. Fortunately they are moderately, not severely symptomatic and are all elderly though very active cavaliers (all age 9 plus).
Like all of us in this unwanted club, you know well that no CM/SM diagnosis is easy. Some are tragic from a very young age and have too little time with their families. Others can be around for many years, or even a normal lifespan. I think Leo will ultimately lose the battle to MVD, not SM; he's already over 10, and I thought I'd have just a couple of years with him when he was diagnosed at 18 months or so.
So many of us know how variable this condition can be, how unpredictable, but also that often it can be managed for many years and even for a full lifetime. But the significant burden for the owners, even in a mildly affected dog, is always the uncertainty. :(
The positives are that you are experienced with the condition, Oz is in great hands, and you know what to look for and when to go in for changes to meds etc. Hopefully you will have many many years of successful management in meds. We have lots of meds-managed dogs here as you know well and lots of people at the ready to answer any questions and concerns, from experience. :flwr:
Thank you all for your kind words of support. That's one thing that has made it easier for me to deal with this, the amazing support of people who love their dogs like I do.
It's depressing how much vets take for granted that every Cavalier will have a heart murmur, but we're almost getting the same with CM/SM - when yet another of ours gets diagnosed it's no longer so much of a shock, just a sad acceptance of what seems inevitable - OK, here we go again. But my Oliver is just about to become a terrible teenager, was diagnosed with CM/SM at 6 but had probably had it from a much younger age and fortunately is not too severe (though more complications as he gets older) - so I hope this will be the same for Oz and you will have some terrible teenagers too! They make you laugh!
Kate, Oliver and Aled
Thank you Kate - and I already do have my own terrible teenager! Oliver is 13+ and is such a sweetie, but has become somewhat demanding in his old age - for example, wanting things at the exact same time every day and complaining loudly until they happen. The others can be dissuaded, but not my old man!! I love him though!
Oz also has seem symptomatic for quite awhile. I've just been putting off the inevitable. Plus I was dealing with his IBD which we now seem to have under control. But that meant that I could no longer ignore his yelping either and had to get him some relief. Going the medication route will be new for me and I may ask a million questions. Be ready for me!!!
One of my rescue vets says he already sees more cavaliers showing signs of SM than MVD -- mainly I think because it is younger dogs showing the CM/SM signs, whereas hearts don't tend to start to show problems til later in life. :cry*ing: