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6th October 2011, 08:24 PM
Going back to your questoin about whether or not many dogs end up needing medication..........
Amoungst many others on this forum I have a dog with just Chiari-like Malformation who requires medication so even if you do end up one of the lucky ones with out the SM diagnosis, you could still be faced with one of the many many symptomatic CM dogs that require just as much care as the SM diagnosed dogs.
CM is present in over 90% of all Cavaliers, not just in the UK but worldwide
Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play
6th October 2011, 08:26 PM
[QUOTE=RodRussell;404337]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. QUOTE]
Really Rod, I can agree with buying a puppy, you have to assume there are no guarantees but not to assume that every cavalier will develop SM AND that it will need medication and/or surgery. That simply is not true. Sure I think the statistics are accurate but that does not say how many are SYMPTOMATIC and to conclude that would mean they would be treated. To say that, just kills ever puppy or cavalier owner's joy even when they buy from MRI scanned parents.
When I got Elton did CM/SM be a consideration? YES. Did MVD? YES. What about your example of your childhood cavalier with the "golden leg" from a luxating patella? All of these things are why it's important to get a puppy from a reputable breeder or get a rescue.
Anne Proud mother of
and Angel Ella
6th October 2011, 08:28 PM
There is no clear percentage of what number end up with symptoms but there's lots of anecdotal evidence that the number is growing, proportionally, and that symptoms are becoming more severe at a younger age across the breed.
If 70% of *asymptomatic* cavaliers have SM by age 6-7+, according to a study of 555 dogs across four age groups (none of those seen to be showing symptoms by owners, but neurologists say many dogs owners think are symptomless actually show clear symptoms on clinical exam) you can extrapolate out that a significant number will eventually show symptoms. Breeders themselves who scan their dogs typically report about half have syrinxes already by breeding age or older. The number with symptoms will be high enough to make this disease a significant concern for any owner of a cavalier.
As I said, I have had five, three with *symptomatic* SM. If you have one dog with a lot of symptoms it becomes pretty easy to spot symptoms in other cavaliers, often dogs that owners think have no sympotms. My vets confirm the same thing -- once they knew what to be looking for, they have sent many cavaliers for MRIs that have come back positive.
Sadly I must disagree that the majority of dogs with Sm do really well after surgery or with medications. Studies show most do not, though many get by and a small number do really well. A fifth of dogs tend to worsen very quickly after surgery. Most dogs I know that have had surgery require ongoing medications to control symptoms, and most dogs on medications require endless adjustments to cope with increasing levels of discomfort/pain. I know several dogs with surgery that have declined significantly over time, including several that had the mesh surgery. In the one small comparison study done, about half of dogs on medications eventually are euthenised for pain that can no longer be adequately controlled.
Living with a more significantly symptomatic dog is an emotional rollercoaster, as others have noted. I feel very fortunate to have my most affected dog somehow cope with a wide and short syrinx with only moderate symptoms but his cocktail of meds have had to be increased and changed many times and even as he reaches 8 (diagnosed at 1) I still constantly wonder if I should have opted for surgery and watch him for deterioration. Deciding whether to do surgery is a whole separate, very emotional decision with many factors to consider.
I think most neurologists (and experienced owners of CM/SM dogs too) feel the number of dogs wit clinical symptoms is far, far higher than acknowledged because so many simply do not recognise or acknowledge visible symptoms and so many vets are uneducated about the condition, and themselves misdiagnose on average for two YEARS before the correct SM diagnosis is made, generally by a neurologist. There's growing evidence that CM, which affects nearly every single cavalier (researchers have found only about 6 cavaliers without CM) can cause significant pain inits own right. There's also plenty of evidence that the dogs simply learn to live with chronic pain. This means owners may feel a dog that has serious pain has none and is therefore without symptoms. The most common and debilitating form of pain the human CM/SM sufferers report is severe headaches -- something very hard to diagnose in dogs (though many of us with affected dogs do learn to see when they seem to have this type of pain and can add additional levels of pain relief).
It is a miserable disease -- considered the single most painful malady humans can have. The only way to even begin to address it, and hopefully save this breed, is to support health focused, testing breeders. If the poor breeders cannot make money off this breed they will either move to improve breeding practice or get out of a breed they do not deserve to be in.
I cannot stress enough that MVD is equally horrific and affects far MORE cavaliers at a significantly symptomatic level that truly impacts quality of life of both dog and owner. It was much more difficult and distressing for me to manage my older dog, who died recently from MVD years before she should have, and who was very symptomatic for many months, limiting my day to day activity and ability to go away -- than it has been to manage my SM dogs to date. I consider MVD and SM to be equally devastating.
In memory: Lucy
6th October 2011, 08:39 PM
When you hear a breeder give that excuse, back away smartly and then run.
Originally Posted by anniemac
6th October 2011, 08:49 PM
Since roughly 90% of cavaliers have CM and roughly 70% have SM, AND since SM is progressive -- meaning it keeps getting worse -- then it is not unreasonable to proceed by assuming that one's new cavalier will have CM and will have SM and that at some point it will need medication for SM and even may need surgery. If a pet buyer goes into the breed with those assumptions, then she will be less disillusioned if and when these things happen.
Originally Posted by anniemac
6th October 2011, 08:52 PM
I must agree with Karlin and that a lot are not treated correctly or do not know what symptoms to look for and are misdiagnosed or treated. Shannon (Reptigirl) told about the person in Petsmart. Also as Karen noted, CM can be painful on its own.
I got another cavalier and love the breed but I just think that it's very important that if money is an issue, don't sacrifice a dog's health or pain from any condition that can come from a bad breeding to save money. There are rescues if dead set on a cavalier and even though I have an older one, I think it's pretty awesome. You would be surprised and its worth the wait.
Anne Proud mother of
and Angel Ella
6th October 2011, 09:05 PM
Well I couldn't agree more that people should not be disillusioned. I guess if you consider the study (I'm sure you remember) that a high % (can't remember) of cavaliers that were said to be asymptomatic actually showed clinical signs upon further examination, that could be more accurate. What I am trying to say is, I think those statistics are accurate but I would imagine that a majority sadly are not diagnosed (meaning thought to be asymptomatic) or have mild symptoms that are not noticed.
Originally Posted by RodRussell
I am being touchy today because Elton has been scratching and face rubbing recently. There I said it! He is almost 5 and I really think it is related to allergies because of a change in food (not scratching on lead, runny eyes), this statement crosses my mind. He has already had neurological consultation and I have had a cavalier with SM so I am pretty apt to pick up symptoms which I don't think any of these things are CM or SM. I am not going to run and have an MRI because he is scratching. Even though I could assume that given % he probably has CM and or SM. I think this is not related.
Anne Proud mother of
and Angel Ella
6th October 2011, 09:16 PM
Very interesting reading and some differing opinions. For me I guess I need to enjoy my pup, stop worrying about potential illnesses whilst being aware that there is a very high chance he may develop symptoms in the future. Thanks all.
6th October 2011, 10:01 PM
Yeah, that's about it. Live for today with them; enjoy them; let them enjoy you; don't emote a downer attitude.
Originally Posted by LJW
6th October 2011, 11:19 PM
I want to post what the breeders wrote back so you can see. I'll need to do this in a few posts, so please bare with it.
I absolutely love my Cavaliers. Yes, you are right, I have been told that it is a devastating condition. I have not experienced it personally. I have been raising Cavaliers for 6 years and have had one puppy with this condition. She is now just about four years old and her condition is controlled by medication. She is doing well. I pinpointed the carrier dog and she was immediately spayed and placed in a pet home. She is now almost nine and has shown no signs of SM at all. I do have a genetic health guarantee that I provide with all of our fur kids. I would like to invite you to visit my website if you have not already done so. You are also welcome to come to the farm and meet the fur kids and I can also provide contact information to you of others that have our kids. Please let me know Talk to you soon And another Thank you for your inquiry.
Syringomyelia has been found in cavalier king Charles spaniels, but if you do the research on the disease it originates from inbreeding done in England. Show professionals will sometimes breed mothers to sons and fathers to daughters to keep certain traits in their lines which is what causes the disease. None if our dogs are from England and we would never breed any dogs in close relation because we focus on health and personality,not on looks. Please let me know if you gave any other questions. We currently have 2 puppies available, 1 black and tan female and 1 tricolour.
Last edited by Ladyglove; 6th October 2011 at 11:35 PM.