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Thread: Lost my love to SM

  1. #1
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    Default Lost my love to SM

    Hello to all. I'm new to the board but I wanted to talk a little about SM. I just lost my sweet B&T cav Ollie to SM after a long and hard fought battle. Ollie exhibited sign of SM, although my vets didn't know what it was and misdiagnosed it for six months until I did the research and discovered what I though might be his problem. I contacted the Long Island Vet Hospital in Plainview NY ( I live in South Florida) and they agreed to take Ollie in to their grant program. We flew to NY and he had MRI, CT, Baer, tomography, sonogram and other tests. Unfortunately it came back that Ollie had SM with Sphrinx in the cervical and dorsal area of his spine. I elected to give him the best chance possible and left him there for the newest type of surgery, cranioplasty, where they removed a section of his skull, replaced it with a titanium mesh screen and secured it with titanium screws. Two weeks later I returned to pick up my boy and bring him home. He was on Gabaphentin 3X a day, Tramadol 2X a day and predisone. For two months he seemed to be somewhat the little cav I remembered but slowely he started showing more and more new symptoms and the symptoms were more severe. Face rubbing, head shaking, seizure like activity where his back feet scratched and thumped on the floor as he went in semi circles, yelping, air licking, biting his foot and hiding after attacks. After seven months of medication changes, additions and five rounds of predisone ( at first it seemed like a miracle drug as Ollie seemed back to his old self ) but with each additional dose the effect was less and less effective. After seven months of watching Ollie in obvious pain I decided I had to release him from his pain and put him down. It was the worst day of my life and the tears have not stopped. I am working with breeders around the country who have called me, vets who I am informing about SM and the girl, Sandy Smith, who wrote the book "For the Love of Ollie" to promote awareness of SM within the vet world and trying to get a low cost screening MRI etc in every state for breeders as well as owners. If we can get breeders to get their bitches and studs MRI'd and removed from the breeding gene pool we might have a chanc at saving this beloved breed. if we don't we are going to loose them to this terrible genetic illness that is stricking more than 50% of all cavaliers today. If you are interested in finding out what you can do to spread the word and help to get the low cost screening available throughout the country please let me know. I'm not asking for money just that you would want to get the information and pass it along and write letters to the vet hospitals, especially the ones affiliated with Universities to say you would be intersted in low cost screening of cavaliers. If enough people let them know they would use the service then maybe we have a chance of getting a program going that everyone could use. I don't want my beloved 3 1/2 year old Ollie to have died in vain. Thanks for reading this.
    Karen 239-454-4854. South West Florida

  2. #2
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    So sorry
    Gus(blenhiem) Pippin(tri) DJ(ruby)

  3. #3
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    Sorry to hear about Ollie's struggles.

    I sent an email the other day to Purdue University Veterinary Hospital & asked how much they know about SM & reduced MRI's. I told them about what Ohio State University is now doing for Cavaliers. I didn't think I'd get a reply but they did send me some kind of form letter about going to my Vet and getting a referral then I could have a consult for $500 & if an MRI was needed another $2500. That's just for 1 dog. I have 3 so I appreciate what you are doing in Ollie's name. I bought the book "For the Love of Ollie" by Sandy Smith & have had everybody I know read it.
    Teri, Remus, Loki, Leopold
    3 cats - Rumor, Serenity, & Thor

  4. #4
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    I receive so many phone calls from people with SM dogs of all ages. Some are breeders, some are pet owners.
    Please, if you are breeding cavaliers read Karen's post. How can anyone who loves their dogs not do everything possible to avoid inflicting such suffering on a dog and the owner.


    Quote Originally Posted by kloey View Post
    For two months he seemed to be somewhat the little cav I remembered but slowely he started showing more and more new symptoms and the symptoms were more severe. Face rubbing, head shaking, seizure like activity where his back feet scratched and thumped on the floor as he went in semi circles, yelping, air licking, biting his foot and hiding after attacks. After seven months of medication changes, additions and five rounds of predisone ( at first it seemed like a miracle drug as Ollie seemed back to his old self ) but with each additional dose the effect was less and less effective. After seven months of watching Ollie in obvious pain I decided I had to release him from his pain and put him down. It was the worst day of my life and the tears have not stopped
    .

    I would like to think that every cavalier club magazine, and every cavalier forum would publish the excerpt above.
    That suffering is what denial, apathy and the reluctance to help the researchers perpetuates.


    Quote Originally Posted by kloey View Post
    I am working with breeders around the country who have called me, vets who I am informing about SM and the girl, Sandy Smith, who wrote the book "For the Love of Ollie" to promote awareness of SM within the vet world and trying to get a low cost screening MRI etc in every state for breeders as well as owners. If we can get breeders to get their bitches and studs MRI'd and removed from the breeding gene pool we might have a chanc at saving this beloved breed. if we don't we are going to loose them to this terrible genetic illness that is stricking more than 50% of all cavaliers today. If you are interested in finding out what you can do to spread the word and help to get the low cost screening available throughout the country please let me know. I'm not asking for money just that you would want to get the information and pass it along and write letters to the vet hospitals, especially the ones affiliated with Universities to say you would be intersted in low cost screening of cavaliers. If enough people let them know they would use the service then maybe we have a chance of getting a program going that everyone could use. I don't want my beloved 3 1/2 year old Ollie to have died in vain. Thanks for reading this.
    Karen 239-454-4854. South West Florida
    Karen, Ollie was lucky to have such a loving owner as you and I am so sorry you lost him to such a dreadful illness.
    When I had to put Monty to sleep, I felt the same as you, I could not stay silent.

    The most important thing you can do is arrange for low cost MRIs to be available to USA breeders. You will meet opposition and you'll need to be determined and stay focused.
    Don't let the insults, rejection and jeers stop you.

    There are lots of good caring breeders out there, some have already stood up to be counted, others just need to pluck up their courage and defy the bullies who dominate the show world in so many countries.
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
    Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
    Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi

  5. #5
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    Default Lost my love to SM

    kloey,

    You sure have left me with such a Lump in my Throat after reading about Ollie.

    What I do wonder is why is it only from Cavalier Pet Owners that we about those Heart Breaking cases of the suffering of Cavaliers from SM ,I know Margaret knows all about it ,but there must must be other Cavalier Breeders who have had Cavaliers dying from SM.

    Do they not want to discuss the Problem. ?

    All I seem to read about is the damage Jemima Harrison and her Pedigree Dogs Exposed TV Film did to our Cavalier Breed.

    Best of Luck kloey in doing what you are doing.

    There are many of us Cavalier Pet Owners behind you. You are not alone.
    Bet (Hargreaves)

  6. #6
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    Margaret, your post was so heartfelt that we can all feel your pain too!

    Stories like Karen's bring us all up sharp with the reality of this dreadful disease for some dogs and their owners.

    I agree that her story needs to be told in as many places as we can all think of, both to raise awareness and to ensure that these beautiful little dogs are not suffering and dying in vain

    RIP little Ollie and healing thoughts to you too Karen. Good luck with your efforts and do keep us posted how you get on.
    Marie-Anne taken over by
    Hattie (Blenheim) Poppy (Blenheim) + Lucy (Shih-tzu)
    Louie, Joss, Peppa, Megan, Victoria all waiting patiently at the Bridge

  7. #7
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    Kloey, please accept my heartfelt condolences for you loss of your beloved Ollie.

    I applaud your efforts to try to make his life comfortable and as pain free as possible. I also applaud your efforts to help combat this very scary disorder that plagues our wonderful breed.

    I am sure that it was a very difficult and heartbreaking time for you and your family. 3 1/2 years was way too young. I pray we get answers soon.

    Peace,
    J.
    J. and pups, Gem, Monty, Harley and Sapphire

  8. #8
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    I'm so sorry, Kloey. I fully support your efforts to raise awareness and to try and convince facilities to get involved in offering low cost screening.

    I suggest for anyone who wishes to get involved, to do these simple things -- click to download and then print out these documents for your vets and any vets in your region. Most vets still are sadly unaware of SM and the high rate of incidence in this breed. Dogs could receive needed treatment that might save their lives, and definitely get relief for their pain, much earlier if vets, all cavalier pet owners and breeders were better informed.

    Here are the documents:

    Dr Clare Rusbridge's basic guide to CM/SM

    Dr Rusbridge's recommended treatment programme for CM/SM


    Breeding guidelines (it would help enormously if vets could make sure any breeders or prospective breeders were aware of these)

    SM symptoms document


    Anyone wanting to hear a basic lecture by Dr Rusbridge on SM can listen here:

    http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/rusbridge.mp3
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  9. #9
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    Sandy Smith has raised significant funds towards research through the sale of her For the Love of Ollie book. You can read more, and buy a copy of this touching book, here:

    http://www.fortheloveofollie.com/

    Most recently a major donation from Sandy helped many breeders in the Canadian CKCS Club get low cost MRI screening for their breeding dogs, scans that also went towards the Canadian hunt for the CM/SM genes. I think many people remain unaware of how much pet owners like Sandy have contributed to breeder and club efforts to get dogs scanned at low cost.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  10. #10
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    I lie awake at night sometimes with our BudBud sleeping next to me and wonder what is he thinking, what pain does he feel, does he understand we are trying to help him? We are so far blessed that BudBud has very mild symptoms and we are not faced with major decisions like whether to have decompression surgery or the ultimate decision of whether it is time to say good-bye. Most days I do not dwell on it and we live our lives with BudBud as we have with all our dogs -- enjoying their company, laughing with and at them, playing ball, walks to the Park, trips to the house in the country, cuddles in the evening. Sometimes though I look at our beautiful boy and my eyes fill with tears. I know there are good breeders and folks trying to do the right thing -- I want to support those folks and help educate the public -- and not let anger at those who seem to be indifferent or even hostile consume me.

    At this time of year I remember Cathy Moon's Charlie whom she brought all the way from California to her home in Ohio to live his last months in her loving home. We need to tell the stories of the Charlies and Ollies and make people understand that these are not isolated cases --but representative of what is happening to far too many in this wonderful breed.

    Bless those of you who are working in the trenches. Karen, I am overcommitted to major volunteer projects right now but I can help in small ways so do not hesitate to keep me in the loop. I can be reached at ppotterfield@bowlesrice.com. Bless you for your love of your Ollie.
    Phyllis in West Virginia USA with two Clumbers and a Cavalier Named Buddy

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