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Thread: Rupert's Fund at Work - My boy's MRI

  1. #1
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    Default Rupert's Fund at Work - My boy's MRI

    Many of you have read about my Tucker (Craigowl Joplin, DOB 10/10/2002) who had an MRI last Monday funded by Rupert's Fund as part of the CKCS genome study. Little did I know during the holiday auction when I bid on and won a few items that this initiative would affect me personally!

    It began when I read here on CT about the search for older dogs who were symptomless for SM and who had never been scanned. I thought to myself that Tucker (renamed by me when he came to live with me at age 4 - and named after my father and brother) would be a great candidate for this study. At age 8, Tucker has a clear heart, is a wonderfully healthy boy, and has not shown symptoms of SM. He has been under anesthesia for dentals every year and has never had a problem. I knew that the risk would be almost nonexistent.

    I casually mentioned on a thread here that I had a boy that fit the profile for Rupert's Fund, and Karlin contacted me and introduced me to Penny Knowler via email. I wasn't sure that this would work because I am in the US and far from the low cost scanning centers. Luckily, UK neurologist Simon Platt is working at the University of Georgia (about two hours' drive from me) including work on a scanning study for Brussels Griffon, and he was willing to do the scan for a reduced rate. I talked with my vet and we even took baseline chest radiographs just to make sure that there was minimal risk for my boy. While drawing blood for his pre-anesthesia blood chemistry, we drew extra to overnight to Canada for the DNA part of the project. I was a bit nervous about the MRI because this was the first time that Tucker ever had any procedure or test or was under anesthesia without my being present. I was also nervous because I would know for certain one way or the other whether Tucker had SM, but at the same time I really wanted to know his status so that I could be a better caretaker.

    So, the results have already been announced in the SM forum. Tucker was graded an A by Dr. Platt. He does have CM - "mild flattening of the cerebellum and a slight herniation" but he has "no evidence of SM, no syrinx or pre-syrinx, normal ventricles, and no PSOM." Dr. Platt graded him a CM-2 and an SM-0 on the new grading scale. CM is a 2 because there is mild flattening (1) plus a slight herniation (moves it to a 2). His age is also part of the new grading scale; if he were a young dog, the CM-2 would be a different number. I was not familiar with this grading system until last Monday. Dr. Platt said that because of Tucker's age it is highly unlikely that he will ever develop SM or experience any problems from the mild CM.

    I am hopeful because I read the report here that about 2/3rds of the Cavaliers scanned under Rupert's Fund project have been graded A, although all had CM (some very mild). We need more of these older Cavaliers scanned to help us learn more about the incidence in this age group and to try to understand why some Cavaliers with CM do not go on to develop SM as well as helping with the genome and EBV studies. I would never have been able to do this MRI on my own - I have four dogs (three seniors) and a cat and spend a lot of money on their care. There would not have been $1,500 "extra" available to MRI a dog that had no symptoms; I just could not justify this expense as a middle class person.

    I want to extend sincere thanks to (in random order and please don't let me forget anyone):

    CT members who started and all that have contributed to Rupert's Fund - keep up the good work!
    Karlin for introducing me to Penny and keeping Rupert's Fund in the public awareness
    Penny Knowler and Clare Rusbridge for their tireless work on behalf of Cavaliers and for putting up with me
    Simon Platt who was wonderful and went above and beyond to give me all the information that I sought
    My GP vet and friend, Sue Goodman, for her support and friendship and helping keep those bills low
    Norma and Gordon Inglis for bringing my wonderful boy into the world
    Gerri (don't know if she wants to be identified so first name only) for importing this boy to the US and giving him to me after I lost my beloved Capers

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  2. #2
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    I am very new here, so I am learning about all of this (frankly, I thought i researched the breed endlessly before I bought Brooklyn, but I have learned more from this forum in the last few weeks than I ever knew existed!), but I am happy to hear Tucker does not have SM and how wonderful are you (and brave little him) for partaking in this study and even more wonderful in the Rupert Fund. It is such a blessing. Someone has to look after this breed, it worries me all the time to think about all I know now and how much people who breed for "beauty" or "numbers" can ruin this beautiful and heartfelt breed.

    Good for you and Tucker and everyone who was involved. I hope in Brooklyns generation (she is 19 months) that we get to know more about this breed than we ever thought possible. Lets set right what was wronged without thinking.

    In Australia, they are just starting to even talk about MRI's because there is no equipment or it is far away for most (and expensive obviously). It took me almost a year to find a breeder here who had MRI reports for her bloodline. Even then, there are no guarantees. It is ridiculous to me that they are so behind.

    Here's to a SM free Tucker, what a good boy...taking one for the team!

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much for posting this moving tale, Pat. It is so rewarding to hear how Rupert's Fund is benefitting both individuals, their dogs, and the all-important research projects.

    I know that Nicki will be particularly pleased to hear your good news, as we all are. Well done, Tucker, and may you have many more wonderful years together
    Marie-Anne taken over by
    Hattie (Blenheim) Poppy (Blenheim) + Lucy (Shih-tzu)
    Louie, Joss, Peppa, Megan, Victoria all waiting patiently at the Bridge

  4. #4
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    A great result, Pat: I know how pleased you must be! If the researchers can begin to understand why some of these seniors have excellent, SM-free scans, and why related dogs and offspring go on the develop SM (as seems to be the case in every line scanned), that will go such a long way towards understanding how to breed away from this condition and help give breeders real tools fort trying to rescue this breed.

    Funding the scanning of Tucker, whom you had suspected might be a very good candidate, and who, because of his pedigree, will now be another puzzle piece in place in the larger picture, is exactly what Rupert's Fund is there for. It is especially great that this was another male, as there are far fewer males coming forward. Donating blood for DNA for the genome work I know will also be hugely helpful as the researchers in Canada try to pinpoint exactly why some dogs remain clear into old age.

    Hopefully your experience might encourage others to consider scanning their older dogs, and/or contributing to Rupert's Fund (lots of information on how to do so in the Rupert's Fund section of the forum here!). I also hope it encourages breeders to scan their breeding dogs of whatever lines, as this information will feed into overall research projects on a number of fronts, being done by a number of globally-disperesed researchers. Those results, clear or not, can be set in comparison to the scans of older dogs, clear or not, to better understand inheritance.

    I had a similar result to yours at age 9.5 on my Roycroft dog, scanned a few years back. The next stage which I hope people with older scanned dogs in particular might consider (though any scanned dog is of great value) is to help Margaret Carter's Tissue Collection project by donating tissue after the dog's death. As Margaret has so sensitively written in the past, this is often difficult to consider as arrangements need to be in place at a time of stress and distress for the owner, but the value of these dogs to SM research is huge. I am at the sad point where this has become a consideration and must say that although making such arrangements in advance means experiencing a certain amount of grief in advance, I have felt this is more than compensated for by the knowledge that one little dog will continue to provide important information that might help save a breed.

    All of these projects interlock and information benefits many researcher projects and eventually, breeders in the first instance along with the breed. The projects need full support form pet owners and breeders.

    Just a quick note on Australia -- actually some fantastic work on SM has been pioneered by Australian breeder of Bruxelles Griffinois, Lee Pieterse, helping lead to the project at the U of Georgia that Pat mentions. Griffon breeders also have created an online health database for their breed that can list MRIs:http://www.griffonplaza.com/griffon-health/
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    I hope you don't mind me asking Pat,
    Has he been neutered?
    Sins

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    Pat. meant to correct one thing -- I wish two thirds of dogs had scanned A with Rupert's Fund but it is quite a bit less than that, though more than 50%. This is from Penny's thank you and update on RF last month:

    Results:

    18 A grades: 11 females and 7 males
    11 D grades: 6 female and 5 males
    All had CM, two with mild CM.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sins View Post
    I hope you don't mind me asking Pat,
    Has he been neutered?
    Sins
    I don't mind at all. He was neutered at age 4 before he came to live with me - for valid reasons. (He did sire some litters - I think two or three and I should track those breeders down to give them an update on him.)

    I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, my first thought was that he should be out there making baby Cavaliers. But I am not cut out to be a breeder. I would worry every day about what kind of lives those babies were living - it's just not for me - way too much responsibility that I don't want. So if he hadn't been neutered, he wouldn't currently be sleeping in my bed. I know that there are other good dogs out there that are still intact. The Cavalier world needs people who are willing to keep intact boys as pets, but it is a huge responsibility and not one that I would take on.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

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    Default Thank you to everyone involved in this cause

    Pat... I am so happy for you that Tucker had such a positive result overall. I would be most relieved with that result given the options.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Pat. meant to correct one thing -- I wish two thirds of dogs had scanned A with Rupert's Fund but it is quite a bit less than that, though more than 50%. This is from Penny's thank you and update on RF last month:
    OK, I was an English major and not a math major, but I used those figures when I calculated. I added Tucker and counted 19 A's and 11 D's (of course there could be more scanned since then besides Tucker for different totals).

    That is 30 dogs total and 19 divided by 30 is 63% - not quite 67% which would be a true 2/3rds.........

    At any rate, I still am encouraged by the results and hope to see a lot more older dogs scanned so that we have a larger database.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  10. #10
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    Hi Pat! You know I am thrilled for you and Tucker. Tucker is the prettiest, sweetest boy and I am so pleased that he had a good result. I know how much you adore him! How wonderful that you were able to take advantage of such an opportunity and contribute to the research that is being done.
    Holly, Oliver, Rosalita, and Scarlett

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