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Thread: Results of owners' questionnaires on pain in CM/SM cavaliers

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MomObvious View Post
    Alright Rod, I can see what you mean but what does that mean for someone who owns a cavalier puppy who parents were not properly health tested?

    Fletcher is 4 months old, I have learned a lot about what to watch for... but what are owners like me, or all owners for that matter to do. Do you suggest I have him scanned? If so, at what age? How often? I use a vet who treats several cavalier's yes some with CM and SM and all eventually heart murmurs, she has no problems I believe sending a cavalier to a specialist IF and WHEN needed. Yes, I will take Fletcher to the vet at the blink of an eye if I ever think he is in ANY pain. As a owner of a young cavalier I believe I have done or am doing all I can for Fletcher....please if you think I am not on the right track let me know.
    I don't think it makes a dime's worth of difference whether your puppy's parents were properly health tested or not. All cavaliers should be suspected of CM and SM.

    One of the values of the just-published article on the questionnaire is to alert all of us to be more aware of our cavaliers' strange behaviors, rather than just looking for the more obvious signs of severe head and neck pain.

    I have not discussed this question with any neurologists, but what I would like to hear them tell me is that MRIs are not necessary for non-breeding-stock, and that if any of these symptoms appear, medications can be prescribed that will ease the pain if the dog has CM or SM, but will not harmfully affect the dog if it does not have these disorders.

    I hate to think that every cavalier should be MRI-scanned, even if it is just once in a lifetime (which we know would not be sufficient if the goal is to confirm the presence of syrinxes). There is the possibility in the future that other, less expensive, detection devices -- other than MRIs -- will suffice, even if they are not as accurate as MRI scans. But until that time, we need to determine whether or not an MRI-scan is a necessary prerequisite for prescribing medications. I hope that neuro-researchers will focus on that and let us know.
    Last edited by RodRussell; 1st July 2012 at 06:37 PM.
    Rod Russell

  2. #12
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    medications can be prescribed that will ease the pain if the dog has CM or SM, but will not harmfully affect the dog if it does not have these disorders.
    Sadly,I'm becoming aware of cavaliers who have died prematurely who have been on medium/ longterm NSAIDs for SM.
    I count my own beautiful girl in that group.Even though the drug which disagreed with her was withdrawn from her treatment plan,she went into liver failure and her liver became neoplastic.I firmly blame that drug for her death and I cannot directly attribute SM as a cause of death,even though her symptoms were troublesome.
    A friend of mine lost his cavalier to kidney failure as a result of meds and same situation happened to a Fb friend who lost a bitch to kidney failure.
    I simply won't medicate a dog without very compelling clinical signs and certainly not unless it's under specialist supervision. ..
    and not on the basis of one single study based on subjective questionnaires.
    Sins
    Sharing my sofa with Holly, Ivy,Lilly and Hazy.. and never forgetting our beautiful Daisy who reached the bridge too soon.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sins View Post
    ...I simply won't medicate a dog without very compelling clinical signs and certainly not unless it's under specialist supervision. ..
    and not on the basis of one single study based on subjective questionnaires.
    I agree with all of that.
    Rod Russell

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    Sins, your comment has reminded me of a question that I've been intending to ask for a while now.... How many of our cavaliers with SM die from causes other than SM, in particular as a result of the side effects of the drugs they are on? Your own Daisy and our FB friend have prompted me to ask this.
    Shirley
    A comfy lap for
    Trapper - tri boy Feb 2004, Bosco - ruby boy Jan 2008

  5. #15
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    I think I am among the others here asking this??....
    Where do we go from here? Where is the "balance" to all this TALK ?
    Is the bottom line that we shouldn't have these dogs due to all the health problems?
    Not meant to be offensive..please..just help me to understand. Cause it sure seems like you are saying NO dog is exempt.
    I so appreciate all the information shared regarding SM. About buying from good breeders, etc. Supporting research and so forth. You're all very intelligent about these matters.
    But also...like you shared Karlin... I would much rather "enjoy being a dog owner"* and not be constantly dwelling on the "negatives" of this breed's health !!
    Yes... I think we all need to be wise. We all need to do our research & be aware.
    I have to be honest that I "thought" I had researched this breed pretty well before buying..obviously I didn't !!!
    But now I have a dog that I "LOVE" dearly.
    I do not want to feel I need to be looking at every single thing Wrigley does wondering if this is a sign something is wrong though. I don't want to live in constant FEAR that one day Wrigley will succumb to this dreadful disease ( or MVD that Cavaliers are prone to!!)
    I have certificates from my breeder on clearances she had for her dogs...but she DID breed them young ( at the age of 2 - 5)...so who knows? Maybe they too are affected and she just doesn't know it??
    Do I spend tons of money on testing now?
    Or do I try and relax and just keep a watchful eye?
    It is so hard to know that answer... since I DO totally believe that most dogs hide how they are feeling till they just can't any longer. Like I said to Kate....it is just part of who they are instinctively.
    Lord knows I DO NOT want to lose a young dog. I will do everything within my power to help my dog.
    It was heartbreaking enough losing the ones we did even though they were older & had a different disease.

    When I was diagnosed w/ Lupus, neuropathy & some other things that went along with the disease....people told me I needed to get into a support group. So I did. I went 2X..and stopped. WHY??? Because most every conversation was about the disease & how each of them were "feeling".
    It was as if one person was trying to top the other with their symptoms being worse than someone else's.
    Sure.. I needed to know what I was was up against...but what they shared didn't "encourage me"...it actually "discouraged" me. It was quite depressing. It was still my LIFE.
    So..why am I sharing that?? Because if we want to truly help our dog..then we need to stay "positive" as much as we can. ~ They pick up on our emotions...their senses are so much more tuned in then we know !! I know this for a fact..because on my worst days physically..my dog never left my side.
    Dogs don't lay around feeling sorry for themselves. We humans do that. They may know they are sick..but they do not know to what degree. So..If we are living worried..they sense that energy...and we are not helping them.
    Positive energy helps! Does it mean we live in denial? Or that the disease will go away?..no..but any doctor WILL tell you..it helps.
    Maybe none of what I am saying is making sense here ... I dunno?
    Please forgive me for being so BLUNT.
    I just hope you understand.

    * I bet anything...if our dogs could talk ( even the ones we lost) they would tell us...
    > " No matter how we might FEEL...Live each day to the fullest"..."life is too short not to." <

    Diane
    Last edited by DZee; 2nd July 2012 at 12:08 AM.
    *Diane ~ Mom to~
    Wrigley ( Cavalier) Zeb ( Labrador) & Jake ( Labradoodle)

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    I think each owner has to approach things in a way that both they are comfortable with BUT that recognises they own a breed of dog in which a disturbing 50% have a serious level of heart disease -- eg a murmur -- by age 5, and that virtually all will have one by age 10. And that a large study sample indicates a quarter will have syrinxes by around age 1 -- a fourth of all cavaliers! -- and that at least 70% will eventually have a syrinx. Both these conditions are serious, usually progressive conditions. Their progressive nature makes caring for affected dogs a long and changing, usually stressful and often exhausting process. That is the tragedy of the breed. Pretending it isn't so, won't change the situation for us, and I have seen situations over and again where dogs suffer because owners don't want to accept they have a dog with SM or worsening SM. So any cognisant, caring and responsible owner has to find some balance between knowing the facts and living with them without ignoring them -- or choose another breed or mix, I guess.

    Some may feel positive energy will help them deal with those realities, and that's fine. Others manage these concerns in other ways. Just as some people find support groups really helpful and others do not. Personally I have found support groups extremely positive and full of information on my own health matters -- typically full of people far more informed than the GP, and even many of the specialists.

    The main intent of CavTalk always has been to provide a focus on breed health, support to those with affected dogs, and support and promotion of rescue. So I am utterly unapologetic for that focus being here. People can ignore topics, or entire subforums if it suits them.

    For many of us, working to give this breed some kind of future -- which many, including geneticists, feel is increasingly challenging because of these major health issues -- is a passion and a conviction, and it's going to stay that way here and dare I say that IS 'positive energy'. There is a hell of a lot more 'positive energy' here to actually ADDRESS these issues than there is elsewhere -- just look at our Rupert's Fund project which has raised over 20,000 pounds for research, through or directly from people connected to the board. We provide guidance for puppy buyers, support for people with affected dogs, guidance and links. We post up the latest research and health information. Crucially, we also don't deny there's a problem or downplay it. We work in and support cavalier rescue across the world. We have helped get lost dogs and owners reunited. How much more 'positive energy' can we provide? I do, very seriously though, think the many people here who devote hours to these activities and often have done so for years --regularly using the board as a base and networking hub -- may be a bit insulted to be told we are not positive enough however.

    I think I am among the others here asking this??....
    Where do we go from here? Where is the "balance" to all this TALK ?
    Sorry: but are you serious? The whole board is full of discussions and activities and actions, fundraisers, research projects and support, in precisely these areas. Maybe as you are still relatively new, you haven't gone back to the hundreds of earlier threads on this, over seven years, yet? Maybe read a bit more on Rupert's Fund, the Cavalier Collection Project, Cavalier Matters, Rod's work with the Cavalier health website, Carol Fowler's Cavalier Campaign, Margaret's Cavalier Puppy buyer's information website...and on and on and on...

    ------

    Separate to that: I would not scan an asymptomatic pet dog just to scan, myself. And agree with others, I would not give meds without a reason to give them. Vets unfortunately are not great on knowledge about the meds for SM. Dogs on meds for SM should be having regular blood tests, for example, but most vets don't monitor this (I always have to ask). I don't think a dog can be left without addressing pain with SM however. And many are treated without NSAIDS - most dogs like most humans, won't have serious side effects from NSAIDS though I sure understand the issues, too -- I cannot take long term NSAIDS myself. All meds should of course be given with neurologist/vet supervision and appropriate tests as needed; and any increase in dosage should be worked through with a professional, not ad hoc.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  7. #17
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    Karlin, I agree with everything you just posted above...I'm very grateful for all the great health info I have found on this site. After all it saved my from buying a puppy I shouldn't have and educated me of why I want to be an advocate for this breed, in whatever small way I can. To me it is so handy to have so many people with a ton of practical knowledge at my finger tips.

    All the wonderful people and organizations you mentions have one same goal first: AWARENESS without it there is no hope of ever helping this breed.

    I do think it all comes down to being a responsible cavalier owner, which means:

    1. Don't buy for a breeder in it for the money, they cut corners on health testing and cost this breed a lot of pain. Even if as Rod says all cavalier health tested parents or not we should expect our cavalier to develops one or more of these disorders....these breeders are not helping matters. Heck they don't even think SM or CM is in "their lines" yes it is.

    2. Educate yourself and never stop learning things about cavalier health, don't be a fool the numbers do not lie on MVD, CM, SM and more. If you have the slightest "feeling something is not right with your dog" act on it as quickly as possible. That goes for more than just watching for symptoms not just of these disorders everything. A good owner is always monitors their animals carefully.

    3. Be an advocate at the vet, if you feel your vet is dismissing problems you see..then keep going and try a vet who will actually view your pets health as a partnership WITH you. I would NEVER leave a doctor visit without having all my concerns addressed.

    4. Do all you can to prevent any health problems you can...feed properly, make sure your cavalier gets exercise. Don't skip those annual vet check up.

    I'm sure I missed some but you get the idea For me owning a cavalier's knowing the risks, I am willing to accept our beloved cavalier's require extra attention and consideration. Maybe I just think so much of other cavalier owners, I'm sure there are plenty out there who have never heard of these disorders and have no idea their dogs are in pain, but that where again the awareness comes in.


    Sometimes, as a owner I find all this bad health news (tho I know I need to know) makes me feel helpless. This report for example has all bad news but no advice on what responsible owners should do with this info.....I know its not a straight forward answer. Watch and wait and continue my cavalier health education but as some point I need to also remember Fletcher is my dog....I need to enjoy everyday we have. For me as of now its worth the risk. I know for a fact that I will one day care for an ill cavalier, how do I know because I already am so in love with this breed I will always have one.

    Melissa

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    I think each owner has to approach things in a way that both they are comfortable with BUT that recognises they own a breed of dog in which a disturbing 50% have a serious level of heart disease -- eg a murmur -- by age 5, and that virtually all will have one by age 10. And that a large study sample indicates a quarter will have syrinxes by around age 1 -- a fourth of all cavaliers! -- and that at least 70% will eventually have a syrinx. Both these conditions are serious, usually progressive conditions. Their progressive nature makes caring for affected dogs a long and changing, usually stressful and often exhausting process. That is the tragedy of the breed. Pretending it isn't so, won't change the situation for us, and I have seen situations over and again where dogs suffer because owners don't want to accept they have a dog with SM or worsening SM. So any cognisant, caring and responsible owner has to find some balance between knowing the facts and living with them without ignoring them -- or choose another breed or mix, I guess.
    I think we all recognise that reading these posts is hard for new puppy owners. They have bought their bright -eyed energetic little darling without realising what the future may hold, or even worse they may has done some homework and bought from someone who appeared to be a responsible breeder only to realise when they come on this forum that the breeder was only paying lip service to health protocols.

    I do not enjoy bursting people's bubbles, but often in this world you have to make a choice, and I decided a long time ago that I had to put the welfare of the dogs first.

    Owners need to know about the health issues that will affect nearly every cavalier at some time in their life because they are painful if unrecognised and untreated, and the dog's quality of life can be so improved if owners are aware that quirky scratching or bunny hopping behaviour in their pet, or young cavaliers not wanting to exercise, being 'couch potatoes' or hiding under chairs, is not normal in any breed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Some may feel positive energy will help them deal with those realities, and that's fine. Others manage these concerns in other ways. Just as some people find support groups really helpful and others do not. Personally I have found support groups extremely positive and full of information on my own health matters -- typically full of people far more informed than the GP, and even many of the specialists.

    The main intent of CavTalk always has been to provide a focus on breed health, support to those with affected dogs, and support and promotion of rescue. So I am utterly unapologetic for that focus being here. People can ignore topics, or entire subforums if it suits them.

    For many of us, working to give this breed some kind of future -- which many, including geneticists, feel is increasingly challenging because of these major health issues -- is a passion and a conviction, and it's going to stay that way here and dare I say that IS 'positive energy'. There is a hell of a lot more 'positive energy' here to actually ADDRESS these issues than there is elsewhere -- just look at our Rupert's Fund project which has raised over 20,000 pounds for research, through or directly from people connected to the board. We provide guidance for puppy buyers, support for people with affected dogs, guidance and links. We post up the latest research and health information. Crucially, we also don't deny there's a problem or downplay it. We work in and support cavalier rescue across the world. We have helped get lost dogs and owners reunited. How much more 'positive energy' can we provide? I do, very seriously though, think the many people here who devote hours to these activities and often have done so for years --regularly using the board as a base and networking hub -- may be a bit insulted to be told we are not positive enough however.
    Many breeders do not talk about health problems because it 'ruins the breed' (you can translate that into puppies don't sell )

    Many pet owners do not want to be worried about the possibility of an unhealthy future in a dog they have already bought and bonded with.

    So cavalier health campaigners, who have spent years trying to get something positive done to address health issues, get accused from both sides of being negative doom & gloom merchants.


    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Sorry: but are you serious? The whole board is full of discussions and activities and actions, fundraisers, research projects and support, in precisely these areas. Maybe as you are still relatively new, you haven't gone back to the hundreds of earlier threads on this, over seven years, yet? Maybe read a bit more on Rupert's Fund, the Cavalier Collection Project, Cavalier Matters, Rod's work with the Cavalier health website, Carol Fowler's Cavalier Campaign, Margaret's Cavalier Puppy buyer's information website...and on and on and on...

    A lot of positive things have been done for over 10 years now.

    ------

    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Separate to that: I would not scan an asymptomatic pet dog just to scan, myself. And agree with others, I would not give meds without a reason to give them. Vets unfortunately are not great on knowledge about the meds for SM. Dogs on meds for SM should be having regular blood tests, for example, but most vets don't monitor this (I always have to ask). I don't think a dog can be left without addressing pain with SM however. And many are treated without NSAIDS - most dogs like most humans, won't have serious side effects from NSAIDS though I sure understand the issues, too -- I cannot take long term NSAIDS myself. All meds should of course be given with neurologist/vet supervision and appropriate tests as needed; and any increase in dosage should be worked through with a professional, not ad hoc.
    My Tommy Tuppence has pancreatitis and kidney disease ( as well as SM, MVD, Dry Eye, and deafness ) It was probably Frusemide and Metacam and possibly other drugs like Gabapentin and then Lyrica that caused the kidney problems.
    I have asked specialist researcher Dr Penny Watson about this. Her response was that although some pain relieving medications can have side effects in dogs with already compromised kidneys, it would be wrong to leave any dog in pain for fear of possible future consequences.
    Margaret C

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

  9. #19
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    Well...I took your advice ...and for the last few days I read through MANY posts on the forum concerning all this.
    I also re-read my own.
    Please understand me...I never meant anything I said to be critical of this forum or anyone on it.

    Much as I still believe in a more natural approach ( if at all possible!)..and also that positive energy is a good thing..
    I would NOT neglect medicating my dog if need be. I would never want to leave anything I loved in pain.

    I wanted to explain how learning of the threat of SM in the Cavalier breed has led me to be in fear of possibly losing a dog that I love dearly at a young age. Forgive me..if I didn't come across w/ that message the correct way.
    I want to try my best to stay aware...but also to just enjoy being a dog owner with as much or as little time that God allows me to have my beautiful Wrigley.
    *Diane ~ Mom to~
    Wrigley ( Cavalier) Zeb ( Labrador) & Jake ( Labradoodle)

  10. #20
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    I think we've had slightly crossed lines here. Karlin has been talking about positive action - and yes, we have plenty of that on this forum and I think it is something we can be proud of. Diane seems to be talking more about positive attitudes towards our dogs - giving them as normal a life as possible, having fun with them and enjoying them, even while we keep more of an eye on them than most dog owners would do. I think all of us with SM dogs try to do this, at the same time as the question is always at the back of our minds 'Is he/she OK? Is there anything I can do to make life more comfortable?' This is something that for the moment we just have to live with, but it shouldn't - and doesn't - stop us enjoying our dogs. On the contrary, knowing your dog has SM or may one day get it makes all the ordinary, normal, fun days much more precious. And who knows, medication and treatment may improve, we may have a DNA test, irresponsible breeders may learn responsibility - and I might see a pink animal with wings fly pass my window!

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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