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Thread: Shelby's MRI

  1. #11
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    Cathy, I am so sorry to hear about Shelby's MRI. I know what you are going through, and even though we had a clear (no syrinx) MRI at 7 months, but confirmed Chiari malformation with crowding, Dottie had major symptoms, even after her procedure for PSOM.

    As you know in my other posts, we are going with the omeprazole therapy for now and it seems to be working for her. I am not convinced that she hasn't developed a syrinx since her initial scan, but I don't see a need to re scan her just to find out, at least for now.

    Pat, we have Petplan and they were wonderful throughout this whole ordeal. They covered our appointments, the MRI, the myringotomy and medications (after the co-pay/deductable that we had selected of course.) They even sent follow up emails and phone calls to see how Dottie was doing after treatment!
    The guy that started PetPlan (at least in the U.S.) has a cavalier so they are partial to them there. I highly recommend them here.

    Cathy, my thoughts and prayers will continue to go up for you and little Shelby, that she will be okay and not progress. Please keep us posted!
    Marianne
    Mom to Dottie, and our precious rescue, Claire-Bear

  2. #12
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    Cathy so sorry to hear about Shelby's mri....you will both be in my thoughts.
    Gus(blenhiem) Pippin(tri) DJ(ruby)

  3. #13
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    Thanks for all the info - I am going to sign up for PetPlan asap. I've never had pet insurance because I've always had so many pets that the annual premium would be $4,000+ or so which would be insane - I would have lost money big time. But now I'm down to four dogs and the cat. All have been incredibly healthy and I've just had to spend money on routine - dentals, blood chemistry and so forth. None of the four has a heart murmur. They are 14 1/2, 12, 9 and 7 - and now only the 7 year old is still eligible to sign up for PetPlan - the others are too old. I have felt pretty "safe" since the youngest is 7 but I guess SM could still become a problem even with older dogs who have never shown symptoms. I'm going to start with a "lesser" plan as they tell me I can upgrade the plan either at renewal or you can upgrade the plan once a year with no penalty.

    The person who started PetPlan who has a Cavalier is a woman - she has sent me emails because I've contacted them so many times for info.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  4. #14
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    It's so sad that the SM club keeps getting larger and that Shelby was the one who joined. You are so right about being resigned to either SM or MVD in this breed. Since Riley has SM, Oz has a murmur and 2nd degree heart block as well as the malformation (no syrinxes), I am just waiting for Oliver and Madison to come up with something. Had Oliver at the vet yesterday and at 8.5 years old, he is still heart clear (and my vet can hear a grade 1 murmur since they diagnosed Oz at 4 months of age). I was fully expecting them to tell me he had a murmur. And I am fully expecting Oz to develop syrinxes down the road. Sad, but it sure doesn't make me love the breed less. When I finaly get down to just one or two dogs, I will probably get another cavalier - but be smart about where I get it from. Like you though Kathy, my breeder has been phenomenal with the SM/MVD news on two of her dogs.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  5. #15
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    One statistic I have just confirmed with researchers:

    Of 1,100 MRIs on the genome research database (of which 3/4ths were done for research purposes, not because they were dogs needing an MRI because they were brought in as symptomatic by owners), every single dog with SM also had CM.

    So in cases where there seems to be no CM in an MRI'd dog, I'd certainly have a second reading done by one of the neurologists involved with the SM conferences, the panel that agreed on the grading scheme. A lot of neurologists clearly are unfamiliar with reading for CM. That's far more difficult than reading for SM; most people can see a syrinx once they know what one looks like on an MRI.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  6. #16
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    So sorry about Shelby's occasional discomfort!

    I rotated the scan around. It is hard to know, but to me, it looks like there's actually mild compression at the base of the cerebellum -- also in comparison to images of mild malformation on Laura's site, would seem to be some compression? I will be interested to see what the response from Clare is.

    I would have to agree- Ive just been looking back over Rubys pictures and her herniation is large but I would say that there is a degree of herniation there.
    Im so sorry about Shelby- it seems like an everday occurance that we are hearing about another dog with an SM diagnosis. Its sooooo sad to hear x

    Karen

    Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
    Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play


  7. #17
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    I'm so sorry, Cathy. It is easy to understand your reaction, though. As we live with our dogs and love them, we also watch them and know what is not normal. It would have been wonderful, indeed, if the MRI would have been clear. SM just seems to grind us down after a while, though. One more thing.. and then one more thing...pretty soon we just come to accept the abnormal as our new normal. It is impossible to stay in the state of intense worry and intense hope. Now we know. We don't like it. We HATE it but it eventually slips into being a normal part of our lives.

    I am so unhappy because I know that it didn't have to be like this. If people would have listened and acted appropriately in the 90s this disease might well be gone or almost gone instead of gradually bringing down dog after dog; owner after owner.

    The local paper has Cavalier pups for sale for $800. I see that and I know what is probably in store for those pups and their new owners. I feel like taking out an ad in the paper that just warns people about what they are likely to be getting if they buy those poor puppies.

    I don't know what to say except I am sorry and I do understand.

    Kathy

  8. #18
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    Cathy, I'm sorry your "gut feeling" has been confirmed I hope and pray that Shelby's symptoms stay forever mild
    Claire
    Once owned by Rudeepoohs
    then rescued by CaraMia and Minnie Moo.
    Missing all my girls every day....

  9. #19
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    Looking at Karlin's useful comparison of Laura's and Shelby's scan, it looks to me as if the brain ventricle in Shelby's is larger than it should be (dilated), which is a symptom of CM and is what eventually pushes the cerebellum downwards - effectively you're dealing with a dog with hydrocephalous. As I have discovered with Oliver, this in itself can cause problems in other parts of the skull (eg pressure behind the eyes), which could account for Shelby's scratching even if the syrinx is not yet causing damage. I wonder how much of the scratching we worry about as a symptom of SM is actually the result of CM - which may of course eventually lead to SM but is in itself a different condition. Hydrocephalous occurs fairly regularly in human babies - does anyone know if this is caused by a mismatch between brain and skull growth, as seems to be emerging in the Cavalier research? A friend's baby born with hydrocephalous also had spina bifida - ie damage caused to the spine (which sometimes includes the central canal) by the hydrocephalous.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  10. #20
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    Cathy:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I had a similiar experience to yours. I had a gut feeling and expected Buddy's diagnosis this past summer. I never cried until weeks later when I was telling a friend about what we had learned and it was like everything caught up with me. Like you if I had not read alot about SM and been a member of Cavalier Talk I might never have followed up because Buddy's symptoms are also mild and I most likely would have attributed them to "that's just our BudBud." All that makes me believe there are many, many more Cavaliers out their who are symptomatic, but the symptoms are so mild that it is just attributed to allergies, "he's overly sensitve to pain" or, as you say, quirky behavior.

    Hope all goes well with Shelby. You are being such a good canine parent.
    Phyllis in West Virginia USA with two Clumbers and a Cavalier Named Buddy

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