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Thread: Syringomyelia

  1. #41
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    Almost all the breeder responses bar one (from Canada, which is very sensible) are either being deliberately evasive or these people are incredibly ignorant about the breed and these critical health issues.

    One has only seen ONE case in 20 years? Then they simply have no idea what they are looking at or for.

    Please do not support a breeder who is doing nothing to help this breed. If you are concerned about cost up front, then beware the costs that will come later with a breed prone to costly health issues. A single MRI, or a couple of visits to a cardiologist, will likely exceed the total cost of a puppy, and that's before tests or medications. There is a statistically very significant increase in the chance of an SM-free or at least late onset, symptom free dog if using a breeder who MRIs and follows the SM protocol for breeding -- on average at least 3 times better chance of a healthier puppy. The same goes for those properly heart testing and following the MVD protocol.

    No one was arguing against mutts -- indeed they have a better health record as insurance stats show.

    I'd agree that considering a rescue cavalier is a much better and positive option rather than supporting an ignorant breeder who doesn't bother to properly health test, thus condemning puppies to a far higher risk of illness. I'd give a needy rescue a loving home -- and insure it.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladyglove View Post
    The reason I'm still considering it is: Really, according to everyone here even if I find a reputable breeder there still is a chance of the pup getting SM.
    Still a chance is just that, a chance, and if you do get a pup from a scanning breeder that chance decreases significantly! If you are already saying that money might be a problem is your pup gets SM, then I would think you would do everything in your power to decrease that chance, and that is going with a scanning breeder. I know it is hard. I know how it feels after you have already met the pup, your heart is involved...so I don't discount that feeling for you or how hard this decision is. But please, follow your head and not your heart. It will hurt, but if you receive a pup from a scanning breeder you will be doing a greater good for everyone, including yourself. Like has been mentioned 50%+ (more in other regions, that was what I was quoted in Australia) cavaliers will get affected with SM, but keep in mind that is 50% of all Cav's, not 50% of MRI scanned and health screened cavaliers. There is a big difference. So yes, while we are all talking about these high statistics, that is for overall cavs and I cannot reiterate enough that the significance is greatly reducedif you pup comes from scanned parents.

    Chance? Yes, there is one, but that chance is closer to a guarantee from a non-scanning breeder.

  3. #43
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    Syringomyelia is a very complex condition.
    It really is very difficult to interpret what exactly "symptomatic" means.
    For many symptomatic cavaliers,it's very obvious that they bunny hop and air scratch when walking and pause every few steps to scratch.
    However,there are others who have never displayed these symptoms and yet are very badly affected.
    Daisy was asymptomatic when I had her scanned in 2009.Yes,she scratched her ear and wasn't the best at jumping onto the sofa,but I just figured that she had no traction on the wooden floors and that she perhaps had an ear infection(which she in fact did).
    I showed her pedigree to a few breeders who told me that I'd have no problem with her.There were no current top UK sires in there,just very old Irish and UK lines,many of the dogs being behind todays generation of cavaliers.
    So I scanned her for research and to prove to myself that SM wasn't such a major problem as was being suggested.She was 2.8 years at the time of scanning and technically, had she been sold elsewhere she would have been sold as a breeding bitch and would have had maybe two litters by then.She has two syrinxs between C2 and C4.
    She didn't become symptomatic really until close to 3.5 years,by which time she was intermittently lame and becoming very quiet and withdrawn.She has had two episodes where from nowhere,she threw herself down on the floor and rolled around screaming.It's not something I'll ever forget.
    Thankfully medication has eliminated those episodes and she's no longer lame.But she shuffles around like a geriatric cavalier instead of a normal almost 5 year old.
    So what I'm saying is that just by looking at a young cavalier and trying to guess if she or he is affected is pointless.What may look fine at age 2 from the outside,may be a ticking time bomb waiting to happen,which is why many Uk breeders now screen their cavaliers.
    Mri scanning is not perfect,but it's a useful tool for responsible breeders who know how to use it to the best effect.
    I bet too that these breeders who claim that it's "inbreeding in England" that's caused the trouble "over there" are also quite happy to point out to pet buyers,the number of "English champions" in their dog's pedigree.
    Sins

  4. #44
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    There won't be a single person on this forum that will tell you it's a good idea to buy this puppy.

    Like Brooklyns mum- she saw a puppy fell in love and backed away- because the parents weren't fully health tested and she is applauded for doing so. And although yes, it's not guarenteed that Brooklyn will be spared this disease, she has a much better chance.

    And we have to look at the bigger picture here, for a breed that is in such a detrimental state of affairs at the momment I think we all owe some sort of sacrifice to secure their future,

    These dogs didn't ask for this, they are such placid and beautiful little creatures that would do anything to make people happy, so don't we owe them the same in return??

    So if, by making this choice now to walk away and look for a health focused breeder; helps this breed secure a much better journey to a healthy and sustainable future ...then we should all be doing it.

    Having lived and witnessed the extreme pain that this disease inflicts on these dogs, I would urge you to look elsewhere.

    I have to pick Ruby up a certain way or she screams in pain, she can't play simple tug of war with a toy (its too painful), something that all dogs should enjoy, she can't get up on the sofa/bed with out the steps on her bad days, sometimes she can't even get up in the morning, she suffers through out the summer months when the weather gets too warm (im talking 20 degrees +, not particularly hot), she will not go up to strange dogs in the park and curls up in a ball if anything approaches her for fear that they will hurt her, my family wonder where they can stroke her for fear of causing her pain.

    This is not what a dog should live like but she does it with such grace and dignity,

    And then there is Charlie- I rescued him as I didn't want to put my money in to any breeders pockets at that point (having Ruby diagnosed for only a few months when I bought him home) and also with the consideration that a puppy jumping round her was the last thing she needed!

    He has pain associated with CM, requires medication too, claws at his head, doesn't like anyone approaching his head or face, tears fall constantly where there is so much pressure built up behind his eyes and they are red also.

    This isn't something that anyone should have to live with and if you have the chance of not living with it then I should take that chance.

    Its expensive, heart breaking and soul destroying for us watching it so I can only imagine how my dogs could feel!!

    Karen

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


  5. #45
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    I agree with what people are saying on this thread. SM is a devestating disease, I bought my first two cavs from a backyard breeder and Bonnie was diagnosed at 8 months, it breaks your heart to see these beautiful little dogs having to live with this terrible disease, even though the meds controlled the symptoms to a certain degree she was never completely pain free, there were good days and bad days and she was unable to enjoy life to the extent of how a dog should, whilst her sister who is SM symptom free would run and play she would just watch and have her cuddles. I didn't have pet insurance on her so the costs were rather large, meds alone were about $100 a month. I recently had her put to sleep for a completely unrelated reason but I was always waiting for the day that the meds wouldn't control her pain.

    I have since bought another pup, but this time being very aware of the health problems of this little breed. I made sure the breeder was regisitered, did current health testing and was able to provide the certificates and also researched the pedigrees and longevity of grandparents, he comes from a very sporty line involved in agility, flyball etc.

    But the first thing I did was take out pet insurance on him as well as making sure my other cav was insured, so hopefully if anything comes up at least I will not have to worry about the costs of treatment. One MRI scan (if required) would more than cover the cost of yearly insurance.

    It is easy to fall in love with a Cav pup, but please do your research.
    Paula

    Molly (Tri female),
    Murphy (Blen boy), and Bonnie (running at the rainbow bridge)

  6. #46
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    Riley has never displayed any of the typical SM symptoms, but I think she is just really good at hiding her pain levels. Even after her decompression surgery, when my other dogs are running around the house, she will hide under a table or a chair so that they will not accidently bump into her. Outside, if she sees Oz (my youngest who is still full of beans) racing toward her, she will drop down immediately to minimize the chance that he will knock her over or hurt her. She can not withstand a body block, her balance is too bad and she has weakness in her rear legs. There are days that the single step coming into the house is almost too much for her.

    But she is the light of my life. Like Karen said, she didn't ask for this and like Ruby, she withstands her SM with grace and dignity. I can't imagine my life without her, but I often imagine what her life would have been like without this horrible disease. She is a happy dog and lives to please and love me, but I would love her to be able to enjoy life more.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Love my Cavaliers View Post
    Riley has never displayed any of the typical SM symptoms, but I think she is just really good at hiding her pain levels. Even after her decompression surgery, when my other dogs are running around the house, she will hide under a table or a chair so that they will not accidently bump into her. Outside, if she sees Oz (my youngest who is still full of beans) racing toward her, she will drop down immediately to minimize the chance that he will knock her over or hurt her. She can not withstand a body block, her balance is too bad and she has weakness in her rear legs. There are days that the single step coming into the house is almost too much for her.

    But she is the light of my life. Like Karen said, she didn't ask for this and like Ruby, she withstands her SM with grace and dignity. I can't imagine my life without her, but I often imagine what her life would have been like without this horrible disease. She is a happy dog and lives to please and love me, but I would love her to be able to enjoy life more.
    Aww Bev when you talk about Riley it brings back memories. That look of pain in the eyes if someone was going to touch. I always describe when I would put my hand over Ella's head like I was going to pat it, she would flench like she was about to get a shot. I remember those looks.

    Ladyglove,

    This is a wonderful breed and even going through what I did with Ella, she brought a lot of joy to me and I wouldn't change that. What I would change, is getting a puppy from a breeder that scans to minimize that happening to another. I would accept any puppy no matter what happens but I think it's important to really do research because even if not SM, there will be a higher chance of something whether temperment, health, etc. and this puppy will be with you for a long time.

    Please just do me a favor and ask these questions to yourself http://www.ckcsc.org/ckcsc/ckcsc_inc...nyourself.html

    and this http://www.ckcsc.org/ckcsc/ckcsc_inc...nvestment.html

    "[FONT=Arial]The high number of serious inherited defects seen in ALL dogs today makes this a pre-requisite before you purchase your puppy. You are paying a hefty sum of money for your puppy – at least get your money’s worth and buy the best puppy you can find from the most reputable breeder. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BARGAIN HUNT!c [/FONT]"

    And to LJW and those with puppies or cavaliers already I am going to quote Rod! We can do what we can before hand to make sure to reduce the chances of a health problem but once you have them don't worry about what may or may not come and enjoy the days with them


    Originally Posted by LJW
    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.





    Yeah, that's about it. Live for today with them; enjoy them; let them enjoy you; don't emote a downer attitude.

    Rod Russell
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Almost all the breeder responses bar one (from Canada, which is very sensible) are either being deliberately evasive or these people are incredibly ignorant about the breed and these critical health issues.

    One has only seen ONE case in 20 years? Then they simply have no idea what they are looking at or for.

    Please do not support a breeder who is doing nothing to help this breed. If you are concerned about cost up front, then beware the costs that will come later with a breed prone to costly health issues. A single MRI, or a couple of visits to a cardiologist, will likely exceed the total cost of a puppy, and that's before tests or medications. There is a statistically very significant increase in the chance of an SM-free or at least late onset, symptom free dog if using a breeder who MRIs and follows the SM protocol for breeding -- on average at least 3 times better chance of a healthier puppy. The same goes for those properly heart testing and following the MVD protocol.

    No one was arguing against mutts -- indeed they have a better health record as insurance stats show.

    I'd agree that considering a rescue cavalier is a much better and positive option rather than supporting an ignorant breeder who doesn't bother to properly health test, thus condemning puppies to a far higher risk of illness. I'd give a needy rescue a loving home -- and insure it.
    Even though your orignial inquiry was about SM, Karlin and others have also made reference to the high incidence of MVD in this breed. My dog has severe MVD. Since you have made mention that the cost of caring for an ill dog is also a consideration for you, here's what you should also know.

    The cost of a cardiologist's visit ranges about $300. She sees him every 6 weeks, or sooner if health concerns warrent it. If any testing is done, echocardiogram, xrays, blood work, ascites, etc. that cost could range $1500+ per visit. The cost of Sydney's medicine (he takes 8 prescriptions) runs about $500 per month. This is all out of pocket for me as I do not have pet insurance.

    The emotional toll is, in my opinion, a lot harder. Watching your dog gasping for breath, having him faint and rushing to the emergency room where he needs to be put on oxygen, watching as his abdomen swells with fluids and the doctors have to insert a needle into him to remove 48 ounces of fluid. Some days it is an effort for him to just walk around the yard. Other days he's active and so playful that I cry with joy. Just like with the dogs with SM or CM, there are good days and bad days. Just different symptoms, different medications, but always the same heartache.

    You have taken the best first step in getting a cavalier......asking questions. When you look into the eyes of a cavalier, in a pet store, or at a BYB, it's so hard not to scoop them up and bring them home. But what is right for this breed? Take the second best step......go to a breeder that does ALL the health tests. Like you said, it doesn't guarantee a long and healthy life, but it certainly reduces the odds of your dog being ill. Check into pet insurance before you pet is ill.

    Getting a cavalier is the best thing I did. Even with all the health issues, I have received so much love and joy from Sydney that I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world. I think you will find that most here will say the same.
    Joyce - Proudly owned & loved by

    BellaMia (Aug. 30, 2012) My Beautiful Ruby Milo (Jan. 20, 2014) My Handsome Tri
    Sydney (
    April 16, 2000~April 4, 2012) Always and Forever In My Heart

  9. #49
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    Joyce, thanks for that; it's a great post and gives the reasons why so many of us, even those of us who have nursed a loved cavalier through one or more of these diseases, do not regret having chosen this breed. And would do so again, knowing we have more experience to recognise and manage these conditions.

    And why so many of us feel so strongly about fighting for the future of this breed, supporting truly health-focused breeders, and helping fund critical research that gives the only chance of a future for the breed.

    It is really what I hope people will understand when they consider this breed and come here and read about health issues and why we all feel understanding them, and being aware, is so important: there are so many positives about the breed but any prospective owner also simply must consider IF they are ready to also manage the relatively high risk, compared to many other breeds or crosses, of emotional and financial costs down the line to deal with the diseases endemic in cavaliers. And to take the responsible role of understanding the conditions and their symptoms so that they know what to look for IF their cavalier starts to suffer from one of them.

    Nearly every one of us will eventually deal with MVD and the costs of at least some medications. Half of us will start to deal with this before or by the time our cavalier is age 5. Most of us will also eventually face SM in every cavalier we own. With luck the dog will never be symptomatic but prospective buyers need t consider IF they can deal with the uncertainty for maybe 12 years (with luck) of a cavalier's life that at any time, this painful disease could surface. Fortunately MOST will not deal with serious, symptomatic SM. But all evidence is that many go undiagnosed despite symptoms. (Again, that is why we want to raise awareness here so that more cavaliers are correctly diagnosed and treated if they have this condition, which most vets are unfamiliar with!).

    I truly found the final months of MVD in Lucy -- the on and off listlessness, the increasing number of collapsing episodes and small seizures, the coughing, the liquid on the lungs, the worry about leaving her for any length of time -- to be much harder, and more emotionally draining, than managing Leo's SM over the past 7 years ( am fortunate that he mostly has had scratching and moderate discomfort to manage and not yelping pain episodes, however The only bad episode he had now seems to have been related to a fall where he hurt his back and probably set off greater pain around his syrinx for a couple of days).

    My costs for medications for Leo alone right now surpasses the amount I paid for Leo about every 5 months. So really: the lifetime cost issue of owning a dog, especially a breed with potential health issues, must be considered -- and is why it makes so much sense to support a good breeder from the start and increase the chance of a healthy dog.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  10. #50
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    Sorry it's been so long since I posted. I've read all your posts. I actually discussed all this with my mom and she says that you can never know who's a responsible breeder. She worked for a women in Florida who bred Pom's (forum rules say no breeder names so I won't include it) who looked perfect to the outside dog breeding world.

    She had a high rate of show winners (some even going to Westminster) she took care of her dogs, they had their shots, if they needed surgery they got it. They had a clean, warm, dry places to sleep, and they were exercised, socialized and fairly well adjusted. They were healthy, happy pups and adults. Potential owners could drop by on a whim and she'd be happy to show them the pups. She had health guarantees, you could call her whenever. She had a clause that if you ever needed to give the dog up you were to contact her first. Now this was before genetic screening, but my mom assured me that she would have done so.

    However, say her prized bitch game birth to a litter of 2 pups, to the AKC she would say the bitch had 4 or five pups. Or she might say she bred a lower quality bitch to her prized stud, but it wouldn't be, it would be her other stud. Likewise if she chose a stud from another breeder she'd say that the bitch had a larger litter, or if she had lost the pups she would take another bitch's pups and give them, so she would say those were the pups bred. And the times when the fee for the stud was the pick of the litter she would hide the prized put (the one she thought would show well) and put it out of sight. She charged (pet puppy price) $1500 for a male. And like I said on paper she looked great.

    Now my mom regrets she didn't do anything, but she was very young at the time and really didn't know any better, but even then she was alone for the first time. But now she regrets it.


    EDIT: Nothing relate to me or my situation but has anyone here heard anything more about normast? It sound like it could do a lot of good for a lot of dogs. I was just wondering if anyone here has tried it or heard about it.

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