I took Oliver to the Royal Veterinary College near London yesterday for his 'interview' before starting on the clinical trial of two different SM drugs. He had a blood test and was poked and prodded and passed with flying colours. So next Sunday we start on the 6 weeks of trial. He will be taking Rimadyl throughout as a baseline pain relief - in case one or other drug doesn't work so well for him. So one week on Rimadyl alone, to get his present drug regime (gabapentin and Zitac) out of his system; then two weeks on Drug A. Another week on Rimadyl alone to get Drug A out of his system, then two weeks on Drug B. For each week I have to give him a mark on a line between 'Leading a normal life' and 'So much pain he should be euthanased'!! The RVC will then tell me which drug seems to work best for him, and he can probably continue to take that one. We won't need to go back to the RVC (thank goodness - it was interesting, but a bit of a drag by train).
Oliver seems a good candidate for the trial, as I'm beginning to think that gabapentin really doesn't work all that well for him; we've recently doubled his dose to the maximum possible, but it hasn't made a great difference - he still gets a lot of headaches (probably fairly mild, but I'd rather he didn't have any!), even though he's never had the intense pain that some SM dogs experience. So I'm hoping the trial will find something better for him.
The researcher for this trial needs more Cavaliers to take part. You don't have to go to the RVC - Cambridge, Clare Rusbridge in London, and Nick Jeffery in the US (Iowa State) are also able to do the 'interview' and oversee the trial. Do think seriously about taking part - the trial could really help the treatment of dogs with SM, and for most of them medication is the only option we've got at the moment. To find out more you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret came along with me to find out more about the trial firsthand - and I much appreciated getting a lift from Hatfield station, although I had worked out the buses! It was interesting talking to the main RCV researcher, Johnny Plessas, who had worked with Nick Jeffery in Cambridge. A good piece of information he gave us was that since the earlier trial of pain relief (about 5 years ago) the RVC has been working with a pharmaceutical company and they will be unveiling their product shortly.
Kate, Oliver and Aled