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Thread: my 11 month old black and tan boy toto just diagnosed with severe onset syringomyelia

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  1. #1
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    Default my 11 month old black and tan boy toto just diagnosed with severe onset syringomyelia

    hi all,

    I have just joined this forum. I have three beautiful dogs, Bailey my 5 year old ruby boy who is a therapy dog and also has had epilepsy since he was two years old; however its controlled very well by medication and he has a very good quality of life. I was very reluctant to get another cavalier after my experience with Bailey and I waited a long time to get Toto. I got him from a very reputable show breeder and was sure I was going to avoid all the heartache of a cavalier with serious health problems. Alas, he is a very unwell dog. He is only 11 months old and is severely affected by SM. According to my vet he has scoliosis of the spine as well as occipital caudal malformation and the outlook is very poor for him. I'm totally devastated at the thought of losing him and dont know how i'm going to face that day when it comes. In the meantime I am going to give him the best life he can have as long as his quality of life is maintained and he can go for a walk, wag his tail and be relatively pain free. my head is in a spin as I only got this news a week ago and i'm still trying to take it all in. I have written to the breeder with a recommendation from my vet that the parents should be mri'd and not be bred in the future. Any advice would be much appreciated. my other dog is Roxy a one year old japanese spitz and I got her at five months from a family who could not keep her any longer. Roxy and Toto are the best of friends and Bailey tolerates the two of them with as much grace as possible!

    Milly

  2. #2
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    Hello Milly and welcome to the site.
    I'm sorry for the circumstances which brought you here,but you can be certain of plenty of support and advice for both of your cavaliers.
    There are members here who have experience with both epilepsy and SM.
    11 months is very young to have to cope with SM.
    I presume you have had him Mri scanned and have good veterinary care and insurance?
    the best advice I can give,based on my own experience with SM,is to make sure you do a blood test for liver function before putting him on medication and monitor every few months as some meds can be tough on the liver.
    There are others here who can give better information of their experiences of medicating and managing younger dogs with the condition.
    As for surgical intervention,I chose not to go down that route myself,I didn't feel that there was a hospital with the expertise and experience to carry out the surgery in Ireland and it is a very big undertaking.
    It's understandable that your head is in a spin and you need to allow time to absorb the news and research the condition.
    Anything we can do to help...just ask!
    Sins
    Sharing my sofa with Holly, Ivy,Lilly and Hazy.. and never forgetting our beautiful Daisy who reached the bridge too soon.

  3. #3
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    Have you had any reply from the breeder? It seems as though many breeders want to deny that they have SM in their line.
    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
    - Bern Williams

  4. #4
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    Hi Alana,

    I sent a letter to the breeder yesterday outlining the situation with Toto and included a letter from my vet as well as clinical documentaton; hopefully I will hear something soon. To be honest I am sort of anxious of what kind of reaction I will get. thanks for your reply

    milly.

  5. #5
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    Hi Milly -- if you PM me (privately) your phone number I will give you a call. Toto should def be on meds. Scoliosis is common in early onset SM and tends to correct itself. I can tell you about Irish options, UK options, and who to definitely avoid in Ireland...

    Good for you for informing the breeder. Breeders need to start accepting this is a serious issue in the breed -- Irish breeders have been amongst the worst internationally. It is when they realise officially that some of their own dogs are getting this that some -- the truly decent ones -- start to do something. Too many think it isn't their problem. It is every cavalier breeder's problem and will require an international effort to address.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  6. #6
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    Sorry you're going through this, Milly. Such a pity that there are people still breeding without doing all the necessary health checks. I hope the breeder takes your vet's advice and gets her dogs MRI'd before she allows them to breed again. Good luck with Toto.x
    Kathleen
    Thomas (tri-colour) & Jade (blenheim) waiting at the Bridge

  7. #7
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    hi Sins,

    Thanks for your reply. Fortunately I have a wonderful vet who I trust implicitly. he cares for all my dogs. I do have pet insurance which I took out for all my dogs. Toto has had ongoing health problems since he was six months old. Initially he had hip pain and when x rays were taken it was found that he has 'shallow hip bones'. My vet thought it was Legge Perthe's disease and advised total rest for a period of time. when he was re-xrayed no clinical changes were found and it was ruled out... thought I was at end of health problems .. Then I started to notice Toto's head cocked low to one side and other changes a sort of hopping walk but I kept trying to put this down to his other hip problems. but it started to get worse. when I took him to my vet he just examined him and found torticollis of neck, scoliosis of the back and hyperaesthesia of the neck area which he feels are all consistent with early onset SM. Toto has not had an MRI Scan as my vet feels he can make the diagnosis just from the clinical signs as they are so severe. As I only found out a few days ago he is currently receiving no treatment and I am just wondering which way to go forward? Should I go down medication route, surgery route? My vet feels that Toto has a poor prognosis but we all really love him so much. He is the sweetest dog and he has never as much as growled once in his little life. he loves people and other dogs its just so sad that he has to go through all this.

  8. #8
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    My Tobey was diagnosed in February (occipital caudal malformation) and operated on February 13. He is doing extremely well. I struggled with the MRI because I had to know what I would do with the information and when I was certain I would proceed with surgery, I had the MRI and Tobey had the surgery. Here in the US we have a wonderful neuro doctor at Tufts Cummings Foster Animal Hospital. I know I'm blessed to be able to proceed with the surgery. There is a credit card "Care Credit" that allows for zero interest for six months. Google it and see if it's available where you are.

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