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Thread: Syringomyelia

  1. #11
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    Thank you brooklynmom, I am not getting the impression that any cavaliers are SM free for life which is where the worry comes from. Your comments are very reassuring and I have relaxed a bit already since my last thread with worries thanks again.

  2. #12
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    [QUOTE=Ladyglove;404309]I must be blind but I didn't see any US studies about Syringomyelia, could you give me a direct link?QUOTE]

    First let me say I am from the USA and had a dog with SM. Here is a direct link to the Canine Chiari Institute (IN THE USA) where there is a guide book with some studies. This is not a condition in one country. NC State Vet did a study in 2006 and LIVS has ongoing studies but I am not sure why that matters since I can tell you flat out that it is NOT specific to certain countries.

    http://www.caninechiariinstitute.org...what-is-chiari

    I don't know how to say this without sounding harsh but I have to.

    You said,

    "How common is it for SM to get bad enough for it to require medication or (goodness forbid) putting the dog to sleep?"

    SM is common and you can see statistics and I am not sure how many are symptomatic but I don't think this question should even be a factor. Think about early onset MVD, patella issues, hip displaysia, eye problems. Sins mentioned that you don't even know if it is a full breed Cavalier. You get what you pay for and unfortunately that doesn't sink in.

    Sins mentioned rescue. If you are in the USA, I know there are several rescue organizations. I have a bundle of joy, Elton, that came from rescue.

    Good luck but please don't pay a penny for a puppy that did not come from a breeder that knows nothing about history, breeding, health, standards, etc.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

  3. #13
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    Just wanted to say Elton (my rescue) is not the one who had SM.

    LJW,

    Brooklyn's Mom gave good advice. It is good to know what to look for but you HAVE to enjoy your puppy. Don't let anything take that time away because that's so important.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

  4. #14
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    I am sure Rod Russell will post some quotes from his site but here is the link again http://cavalierhealth.com/syringomyelia.htm

    Names like Drs. Cerda-Gonzalez and Olby, Dr. Marino, Dr. Dewey, are some from the USA. The link I provided before also has a question of how common is it and heritability. Some of these studies have % that vary because of who was participating in study and if it included symptomatic cavaliers. Just know that having to go through the emotion of having a cavalier with SM that was very symptomatic, it is hard to see someone want to spend money for a puppy with no history. I know that the cavalier was already pregnant, but I don't know why they are still asking for money.

    I have had a puppy from a good breeder who ended up having severe SM. (Ella had all other health testing except parents did not have MRI but very few breeders in the USA were doing that in 2005). I never blamed the breeder and was thankful she did do several other health tests at the time and the parents were older. She brought a lot of joy even with the SM and was worth every penny but it was an emotional roller coaster.

    I now have a rescue that is about to turn 5 that I got in July. He has also brought me a lot of joy. I know nothing about his pedigree or history of parents, but I did get one almost 5 and he has vet records. That was important to me. If I ever get a puppy, believe me, I would drive or fly or go anywhere if I spent money for that so that it came from a breeder that I knew had the best interest of the breed.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladyglove View Post
    I must be blind but I didn't see any US studies about Syringomyelia, could you give me a direct link?
    Yes. The webpages on http://cavalierhealth.org about SM are these:

    http://www.cavalierhealth.org/syringomyelia.htm

    http://www.cavalierhealth.org/smprotocol.htm

    http://www.cavalierhealth.org/sm-mri...ngprotocol.htm

    Summaries of nearly every veterinary research report on SM, those from the USA and elsewhere, are listed here:

    http://www.cavalierhealth.org/syring...nary_Resources
    Rod Russell

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladyglove View Post
    ... My main question hasn't really been answered. How common is it for SM to get bad enough for it to require medication or (goodness forbid) putting the dog to sleep?
    I don't know how common it is, but CM/SM in the breed is very common -- like 50+% -- and CM/SM is progressive, which means that it can -- and likely will -- get worse as time goes by. So, you should proceed by assuming that your new cavalier will develop SM and that it will need medication and/or surgery.

    One thing I don't understand is the focus on US versus the world. Maybe I missed something you wrote previously. Are you saying that some breeder told you that SM is only a problem in the UK? If so, that is an absurdity, a geographical excuse for a genetic problem. Believe me, if the problem exists in the UK, then it either already does exist everywhere else or soon will. The one thing that all of this breed has in common is its UK roots.
    Rod Russell

  7. #17
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    Unforunately Ladyglove it is very common for SM to get bad enough to require medication. I don't know many SM dogs who get along without any type of medication, and again, unfortunately, the drug cocktail usually increases the longer the dog has SM - although not always. My SM dog, Riley, was diagnosed with severe and advanced SM and had decompression surgery 3 and 1/2 years ago. She is doing really well now but she will never be a normal dog as the SM damaged her vestibular system and the damage cannot be repaired. She still takes daily medication (prednisone) and will for the rest of her life, but she is a happy dog and loves life. I am so thankful that I was able to afford her surgery as the typical SM meds as well as some not so typical medications given pre-operatively had no effect on her.

    Some dogs do have to be put to sleep because of SM, but I think the vast majority of them cope really well with medication and/or surgery. I have no statistics though, that's just a gut feeling. No matter, it is heartbreaking to see your dog suffer from SM. Most of the time Riley seems to function fairly normally, but when the SM kicks in (and it still does, even after surgery), a piece of my heart is torn out. Especially because she always looks at me right after as if she's letting me know that she's okay. I just want to gather her in my arms and hold her forever, but she's still in too fragile a state at that point. No dog should have to suffer that.

    I would still get another cavalier though. But I would walk into it with my eyes wide open. When I got my four I did not know about SM. I did know about MVD and met the MVD free parents and grandparents of all but Oliver who I bought ignorantly from a backyard breeder. When I'm ready to buy another I will only buy from a breeder who MRI scans the parents.

    I know the position you're in though having already seen the puppy. You're in love already. That's what this breed does so well is work their way into your heart in about two seconds flat! I hate to say it, but the best thing to do is to walk away. Find another breeder, one who health tests the dogs. Depending on where you are, there are people on this board who could help you locate a responsible breeder. Despite all the advice about SM and MVD that's been given, if you can't find it in your heart to walk away, then get a good pet insurance right away that would cover both conditions. Good luck.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RodRussell View Post
    One thing I don't understand is the focus on US versus the world. Maybe I missed something you wrote previously. Are you saying that some breeder told you that SM is only a problem in the UK? If so, that is an absurdity, a geographical excuse for a genetic problem. Believe me, if the problem exists in the UK, then it either already does exist everywhere else or soon will. The one thing that all of this breed has in common is its UK roots.
    Yes Rod, read the first part of the post. I don't think this puppy but other breeders she contacted said it's a problem in the UK due to inbreeding, etc. Must be the water
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

  9. #19
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    I'm in the USA (Texas) and have 3 Cavaliers badly affected by CM/SM.

    The puppy I bought came to me at 12 weeks showing sever symptoms and at 6 months old his symptoms were extreme! A long story short many months later I ended up with his parents. They are extremely affected. (Although the "breeder" saw no symptoms). The father has over 90% of his spinal cord blocked by a syrinx at 4 years of age. Now the "breeder" who had the two parents was IMO no more then a puppy miller/backyard breeder who was breeding only for money.

    As far is "inbreeding". Since I have all pedigrees I can tell you Mom & dad are VERY unrelated. (Well as unrelated as Cavaliers can be since most Cavaliers originated from a small breeding stock. ). Mom has a pedigree of more German dogs & Dad has a pedigree of Irish/English Dogs. I want back as far as I could on the pedigree (8-10 generations) and only found 2 or 3 similar dogs way back.

    Statistics say 90% of Cavaliers have the malformation that can lead to SM. My neurologist said most Cavaliers he scans have SM. Even the ones he scans for other reasons.

    I contacted the ORIGINAL breeders of the mom and dad. Both sell there puppies for $2000 - $3,000. Both live in different parts of Texas. Both claim to have never produced a dog suffering from SM OR MVD. I told both of them about there dogs. I sent there medical records from the Neurologist and Cardiologists. I also verified pedigrees to make sure they really were there dogs. BOTH breeders had "excuses" that the conditions must have been caused by something else. Now you ready for the REAL shocker? A few months later I sent an email "interested in a puppy" from another email with another name. Asked about heath conditions... BOTH breeders have claimed to have never had a dog affected.

    Several months ago I was at PetSmart with one of my Cavaliers. I was stopped by an older couple who wanted to make over him. They went on to tell me a very heart breaking story of the Cavalier they once owned. "It had sever ear infections that the vet was never able to clear up". "It scratched sores all around it's ears." "It was such a terrible experience. The vets just didn't know what was wrong. Nothing cured it". The dog was put down and I could not possibly bare to tell them about SM. Before my puppy was diagnosed he was working on bald spots on his head/neck/ears from all the rubbing and scratching. I had gone to 3 different vet clinics trying to get him diagnosed. I was the one who learned of SM. I had to fight vets to get 2 of them MRI'ed. My vets misdiagnosed ear infections, allergies AND spinal issues. In the end MRI confirmed SM. Sadly many Cavaliers in the USA are misdiagnosed. Many vets have never heard about SM. It is the lucky few dogs that get sent to specialists who finally find the right diagnosis and get medical relief. Over the last year I have met so many people all around the USA who have Cavaliers suffering from SM. It is not just a UK problem. Personally I feel that is a breeders "excuses" to avoid proper testing.

    As far as money goes. I spend about $40 a month PER cavalier on Insurance. Without it I could NOT afford even one. All 3 of mine have CM/SM. And the two adults have heart problems. One has moderate MVD and the other has a very strange heart condition that will soon need a pace maker. They just turned 5. We are out over $10,000 in vet bills in a little less then a year. (Thankfully insurance covers a large chunk of it). Now not all cavaliers cost this much and these came from a less then ideal situation but that does not change there inherited conditions. On top of cost there is all the vet visits & check ups. One has to have her heart checked every 3 months. This check costs around $300 every time. All vet fees have to come OUT OF POCKET and then in 7 - 10 buisness days our insurance pays there part.

    I love Cavaliers and may one day consider another one from a heath focused breeder. I believe every dog created SHOULD have a home but when purchasing a Cavalier I believe one should know ALL the facts before buying. Every time someone buys from a breeder who does not health tests they are only supporting that breeder. As long as a breeder can sell there puppies they will keep creating them. When people buy a puppy from a breeder who does not health test it only shows that breeder there is no reason to health test. Now I know every situation is different and everyone has to make there own decision on what is best for them. If your set on getting a Cavalier and knowing the facts doesn't change your mind I do hope you consider insurance right away. It is not a reason to get a puppy from a less then ideal breeder but I really feel it is necessary with ANY Cavalier. Also remember with insurance ANYTHING your puppy has been to the vet for before insurance will be "pre-exisiting". They only pay a portion of the bill. Most insurance companies require you pay upfront. We have waited up to 60 days for the insurance to reimburse us while the norm is 10 days.

    Sorry about the long post. I just feel very strongly about Cavaliers and there heath issues. I'm also so SICK of talking to breeders all over the USA who don't health test and who deny or make excuses for CM/SM.
    Flash Blitz Holly

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by anniemac View Post
    She brought a lot of joy even with the SM and was worth every penny but it was an emotional roller coaster.
    This is how I feel about my 3!


    I also wanted to add Cavaliers are not as common in the USA as they are in the UK. So it would be expected for there to be more many more UK members then US members.


    Also wanted to mention last week I had a lady over buying some baby chicks and we got in a long conversation about Cavaliers. Her best friend has 2. Both are young (2-3 years old) and both are suffering from heart conditions. I don't know all the details but thought it was worth mentioning. Also my new friend (only known about 4 months) has a family member with a Cavalier. It has many of the symptoms of SM (hind leg weakness, yelping and excessive scratching) and the vets not been able to help it. It has been treated for a possible back injury, pulled muscles, ear infections & allergies. It has spent several weeks on "crate rest" and has shown no improvement. His friend has researched SM, talked with there vet and they now have an appointment with a neurologist. It sounds very likely to be suffering from SM. From my knowledge neither of these people are on this forum. There are people all over the world who for whatever reasons don't posts on forums such as these. Just become people do not post on this forum does not mean the problem does not exist.
    Last edited by Reptigirl; 6th October 2011 at 08:37 PM.
    Flash Blitz Holly

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