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Thread: Oliver and the RVC trial

  1. #11
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    Thanks Kate -- very interesting to follow your experience.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
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  2. #12
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    End of week 4, second week on just Rimadyl.

    I think what has struck me this last week (and over the trial so far) is that two weeks on a moderate dose on gabapentin has made very little difference. The surprise so far has been the difference that an NSAID such as Rimadyl has made. Not just that the wobble in his back legs has gone, but I noticed this afternoon when Oliver was running free in the park that for the first time for ages he was trotting - even a little run - instead of the pacing that I have come to take for granted. The Rimadyl seems to have reduced the inflammation of his spondylosis and generally freed up his spine.

    This week he also seems to have been whimpering a bit less often when lying flat on his tummy, and perhaps also squinting less when the light coming through the window is bright - difficult to judge, and I've been out a lot without the dogs this week, so haven't been able to observe him so much. But it makes me wonder whether his eye problem of light phobia, which seems to be related to his dilated ventricles, is perhaps caused by pressure from his ventricles causing some inflammation or damage at the back of his eyes (I know the mechanism of his pupils is either blocked or damaged in some way) and this is also responding to the Rimadyl, rather than pain from nerve damage which should respond to a drug like gabapentin. Of course I may be completely on the wrong track, but a referral to an ophthalmologist when the RVC trial is over seems increasingly a good idea.

    Today we started on two weeks on Drug B. I have no idea what it is (Nicki thinks she knows but isn't letting on!), and I am looking forward with interest to seeing whether it makes any difference - if it does, of course, it will invalidate the speculation of my previous paragraph! But the important thing is not that my layperson's guesses should be right, but that Oliver should have fewer headaches. Will tell you next Sunday how we're doing at the end of the first week on Drug B.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  3. #13
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    End of Week 5, first week on Rimadyl + Drug B.

    I'm not quite sure what - if anything - is happening at the moment! At the beginning of the week there was a mild side-effect of Oliver being very unsteady on his feet when first standing up - swaying slightly on all four legs. Once he started moving it got better, and after a few days disappeared. I think he's having slightly fewer headaches, but this is so difficult to tell. He's still a noisy and restless sleeper, but it seems to be more grunts and snores, not the higher-pitched whimper that usually signifies a headache. Though he does make those headache noises when it's close to the time for his next pill, so if Drug B is right for him, it may need to be a slightly higher dose than the 100mg he's on for this fortnight. He also seems a little more lively - but this may be because a staffie has just come to live next door, and as President of the Anti-Staffie League, Oliver feels bound to make his presence known!

    So I think I'll have more idea of whether Drug B is helping at the end of next week.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  4. #14
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    Thanks for the update Kate - it's good that Oliver is better at night, it does sound like the headaches are better controlled. If this is the drug I suspect, one of its uses is prevention of migraine in humans so that is interesting. Recommended starting dosage is 5 to 10 mg/kg orally twice a day [taken from an article by Dr. Gregg Kortz - but not about Syringomyelia! so that may affect the frequency and amount of the dose]

    Many of these drugs have side effects to start with making you feel a bit unsteady and dizzy, but it's good that it has settled down.

    President of the Anti-Staffie League - LOL what an important role for a very special dog

    I'm not sure if I posted before about pain signals, pain is transmitted more slowly than other sensations such as touch - hence we rub ourselves when we bump into something or get stung, and that "stops" the pain -the signal for that sensation is travelling faster. There are also distraction techniques which you can learn so that you are not so aware of pain, when out and about or concentrating on something, we are far less aware of pain. When adrenaline levels are raised that seems to dull our observation of pain, hence when you are busy Oliver seems to be better.


    It is really interesting to follow his progress, thank you for keeping us updated.
    Nicki and the Cavalier Clan Our photos www.scotlandimagery.com
    Supporting www.rupertsfund.com and www.cavaliermatters.org

  5. #15
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    Yes echo what Nicki says; has been very interesting to read your detail on this trial -- thanks so much for doing this!
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  6. #16
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    This week's report: end of trial

    Oliver finished his six weeks of RVC trial yesterday. It has been an interesting experience (at least for me - don't know how he felt about it!), and has passed without incident - no real side-effects or major ups or downs, but a couple of encouraging discoveries.

    I've already mentioned the Rimadyl, which continues to deal with the problems caused - as far as we know - by his spondylosis. It's lovely to see Oliver trotting and even running round the park in a way he hasn't done for years. I went to the vet on Friday and got him a new supply so that we can keep up the good work.

    The other encouraging discovery is Drug B (or more accurately, my Drug B - which drug is which is decided randomly). An eerie silence has overtaken our house - broken by the noise of Oliver gently snoring (a snuffly nose is one of the benign side-effects) - but virtually none of the whimpering that usually means a headache. Just a little bit of noise and head rubbing if I'm late giving him his pill - he obviously needs to keep to the eight hours. Now that Oliver's part in the trial is finished, I've checked with the chief researcher what Drug B is, because - subject to approval from our vet and neurologist - I'd like to keep Oliver on it, at least for a longer trial period. It took a few days to start working - or for me to realise that for a couple of days I hadn't had to roll Oliver onto his side to stop his whimpering! It really seems to have made a difference, really tackled his headaches, in a way that gabapentin didn't. Apparently it is a human drug not yet generally used for CM/SM in dogs. It would be great if it could add to the range of medication available for our dogs, but obviously this won't become clear until the trial is finished and the results assessed and evaluated. Dr Plassis at RVC specifically asked me not to mention the drug by name (and those of you who can make a good guess - PLEASE don't speculate in public ) - it is of the utmost importance that the trial is blind, that people don't know what their dog is having, but simply record the reaction to the two drugs.

    So no problems and two possibly positive discoveries - I'm really glad I enrolled Oliver in the trial. I think it is still possible for your Cavalier to take part - even if you live in the US, since Nick Jeffery is coordinating it there. And there are several centres in the UK besides the RVC, and only one visit is required to assess your dog's suitability; Oliver doesn't have to go back. I posted information about the trial and the centres when I first contacted the RVC - I think you could find that if you search for 'RVC Clinical Trial'.

    Next job is searching the internet to find a reliable online pharmacy that can supply Oliver with Drug B at a reasonable price...

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Wow! It's great they were willing to give you the drug name. Glad you found a better option for Oliver.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate H View Post

    Dr Plassis at RVC specifically asked me not to mention the drug by name (and those of you who can make a good guess - PLEASE don't speculate in public ) - it is of the utmost importance that the trial is blind, that people don't know what their dog is having, but simply record the reaction to the two drugs.


    Yes that's why I didn't post what I thought the drug was, it would spoil the trial.

    I'm so pleased that Oliver is doing well and that the new drug works for him. hope you've managed to find a supplier. I was expecting it to be a bit cheaper than Gabapentin so hopefully that is the case.

    Any idea when the trial is expected to be completed?
    Nicki and the Cavalier Clan Our photos www.scotlandimagery.com
    Supporting www.rupertsfund.com and www.cavaliermatters.org

  9. #19
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    I realised you were being responsible, Nicki, and I'm really grateful. Yes, I've found a reliable online pharmacy (which I've used for Oliver's gabapentin for several years) who can supply the generic version of the drug at a cheaper price than gabapentin, which is a great relief.

    In his email to me about the new drug, Dr Plassis, the lead researcher, wrote 'After the end of the trial (in a few months hopefully)', so I think there is still time for people to take part, as the trial only takes 1.5 months/6 weeks. Then they have to evaluate the results, so I would think autumn before they publish them. I hope other dogs with dilated ventricles from CM will find it as useful as Oliver has done - it would be so good to have an effective new weapon in our armoury.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  10. #20
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    I am so pleased the trial has proved worthwhile for you and Oliver

    You truly deserved to get some benefit as there are not many people that would have made such an effort, given up a whole day, travelled so far by public transport with two dogs, to support a research project as you did.

    Thank you because this may help a great many of our dogs in the future.
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
    Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
    Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi

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