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Thread: Fergie - My 22 month old Tri

  1. #1
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    Post Fergie - My 22 month old Tri

    Hi,

    I got Fergie when she was three months old from a reputable breeder. I knew it was important to go to a reputable breeder since King Charles Cavaliers could suffer from heart problems and SM. I met both Fergie's parents, both of whom were very healthy. I was told that Fergie's grandparents were also alive and well.

    Fergie has been the best dog that I could have imagined. She loves other dogs and people, and her favorite activity is to walk the beach and personally greet every person and dog she meets. She has simply been a joy, and I can't imagine not having her.

    A month and a half ago she started fly biting. It came out of no where, and each day the episodes became more frequent. I had been on the look out for symptoms of SM, since I had done some research on the disease when I decided to get a King Charles Cavalier. I could have just put her on phenobarbital for the fly biting seizures, but I wanted to know if this could be a sign of SM. Therefore, I had an MRI and spinal tap done at the Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital. The MRI confirmed chiari malformation and mild SM. Perhaps even more devastating than the diagnosis was the fact that the anesthesia progressed the condition which, prior to the procedure, had shown no symptoms other than the fly biting. My little girl came out of the procedure with a lot of pain in her neck and weakness on her right side. She stayed in the hospital overnight. The pain in her neck subsided, but she still could not walk straight and kept collapsing on her right side.

    Fergie has made progress with walking over the last five weeks thanks to ongoing prednisone, and the seizures have stopped with the phenobarbital. But the SM symptoms are now real, and they seem to be getting worse. Her neck isn't straight and leans to the right side, and her spine appears swollen, crooked, and C-shaped. She is no longer comfortable curling up with me, but instead prefers to sleep straight on her belly on the cold floor with her neck elevated. She does some head-scratching and yawning. She was just under 12 pounds before this nightmare started (a very petite girl), and quickly gained over two pounds on the meds. Sometimes, it is hard to know which are symptoms of the disease and which are due to the meds.

    I have an appointment on January 2 for Fergie to see Dr. Dewey at Cornell. Despite all of my research, I am still unsure whether surgery is the right choice. The personal stories on this forum have been helpful, and I thank you for posting them. My heart breaks for Fergie and for all of you and your beloved dogs who have been impacted by this disease.

    It would be very helpful for me to hear from anyone who has had experience with the folks at Cornell. I am not really sure what to expect when we get to the hospital.

    Warmly,
    Karen

  2. #2
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    Your post seems to have been overlooked some how and I didn't want it to go unanswered. I'm sorry Fergie has been going through so much. I have no experience with SM, but, unfortunately, many here do. I hope someone will now see this post and help answer your questions.

    By the way, I saw Fergie's pictures in your introduction post and she is really beautiful!
    Joyce - Proudly owned & loved by

    BellaMia (Aug. 30, 2012) My Beautiful Red Headed Baby Girl
    Sydney (
    April 16, 2000~April 4, 2012) Always and Forever In My Heart

  3. #3
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    I'm so sorry Fergie is going through this. It is a heartbreaking disease. Like Fergie, my Riley had a negative reaction to the anesthesia for the MRI. Afterwards she could not stand, sit or walk and had to stay overnight also. She did not end up with seizures , but like Fergie, prednisone was the only med that helped her. She did have a pretty severe head tilt before the MRI which luckily was not made worse. I opted for surgery for Riley which was a great decision for her. This was 5+ years ago and she is doing so well. She did not see Dr. Dewey however and I do not have any experience with him except anecdotally that he is pro-surgery. I'm happy to share my experience with you if you'd like. Please let us know how things are going with her and how your visit goes. She is adorable.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  4. #4
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    Hi Karen

    I can't help in practical ways because I'm the wrong side of the Atlantic! And surgery for CM/SM is much less common in the UK. Both my Cavaliers have CM/SM but not too badly and are well-controlled with meds, so this is just to send a little support for you in this nightmare situation and hope that you are able to make the right decisions for Fergie.



    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your response. I am very happy that the surgery was the right decision for Riley. Did Riley still need to be on prednisone after the surgery? Did the surgery correct the head tilt? I am also interested in what to expect the surgery to cost and what kind of care is needed at home following the surgery. I work outside of the house four days a week. Usually Fergie goes to daycare, so I would need to make other arrangements. I have been waiting all month for Fergie's appointment, and there is now a major snowstorm heading in my direction in the US New England area. It is a 6+ hour drive to the hospital. I'm afraid I may have to call tomorrow and postpone. Hopefully, we will get to the hospital later this month. Thank you again!
    Karen

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