13th June 2015, 03:28 AM
Fantastic news about Ruby, Kate! Chuffed to hear you were able to adopt from Many Tears!! Small world! We do home checks for them and have fostered on multiple occasions with them, excellent rescue.
Thanks Flo! Fortunately I think we've hit a sweetspot with his treatment program. Its sort of balanced out just right in a pretty simple combination. I was talking about it with mom today saying how strange it was that we tried all sorts of complex combinations of medications and different dosages, unyet the magic bullet seems to be the high dose of gabapentin and the amitriptaline. Hes happy right now and comfortable with what hes on and we're making the absolute most of it as always.
RE to the collapsing, it seems to have gotten a little worse but its not so much of a concern as when it first started. We thought it might go rapidly down hill but it seems to be something thats just there and not really causing too much of a problem. We discussed it with our vet and we were told to keep an eye on it (he said it was likely to do with his SM/CM seeing as it happened to any limbs at random) and to let them know if it progresses any further at which point we will consider further treatment options.
He is still happy and comfortable, I am pleased to report and is enjoying the sunshine! Just last weekend he was basking in the sun on my bed with me in the morning, which was lovely. He was comfortable and well away, such a nice thing to see! As you all know, he always used to seek cooler places but this isnt so much the case any more.
We have also noticed that he is actually playing occasionally which used to be a really rare occurrence, so hes definitely happier. When we were at the caravan last weekend he was even chewing his bone! (which he had previously stopped doing all together) He really enjoyed coming down to the caravan, he just sat there on the patio in the sun chilling while we did gardening work (alright for some, eh?) which was nice as (although this isnt related to his condition) he used to have pretty bad separation anxiety and didnt like it unless he could be directly by his moms side but I think the medication has made him a bit more relaxed, which was good! .
Oh and also, before I forget...
Just a few weeks ago we noticed he was fussing with his ears more than usual. So to make sure everything was OK, we took a look down his left ear and noticed it was caked in this black tar like substance. This happened fairly quickly as the week before we had cleaned his ears out best we could as we usually do (which as I am sure some of you know, is a rather difficult task when you're dealing with SM/CM ) and they were fine. Anyway, we rang the vets and got an appointment and they diagnosed him with a yeast and ear infection in both ears, we were really surprised he wasnt showing any outward symptoms other than a bit more ear scratching than usual!
We were so proud of him because the vet had to examine his ear which as you can imagine was a very distressing experience for him.
Now as you know, getting round the ears of an SM/CM cav is extremely difficult and painful experience for them, espcailly with Zigg because his ears are his major trigger spot, so to speak. Now not only did he have the infection to deal with, he also had his condition to deal with, poor thing. He scrabbled and scrabbled like mad (literally bull in a china shop stakes) to try and get away, you could tell he was in a great deal of discomfort with someone getting round his ears but we got it done in the end! He even kissed the vet at the end of it all too! Typical cav
We got sent home with some ear cleaning solution along with anti biotic drops. He has now finished the anti biotics and is now just on his cleaner for another week. The infection has now cleared up and he is better for it!
So as you can imagine, we are really pleased with how well he is doing, especially with all he has had going on.
Anyway, thats about it from our end! I trust that everythings going OK with Ruby?
Hope you're all doing OK
15th June 2015, 10:31 PM
Thanks for the update, and SO glad to hear the good news about Zigg Any hope of bringing him over to this year's Cavalier Weekend - same place as last year, 11-12 July? It would be great to see him (and you and your mum!) again.
Ruby is doing well. I think she was pretty spoilt as a pet and also missed out on walks and attention when her previous owner became too ill to care for her properly, so there are a few issues to work through, but she is getting very confident and also losing weight steadily (she was 12.15kg when she arrived 7 weeks ago and is now 11.45; I'm aiming for around 10.5). She walks nicely on the lead, is brilliantly house trained (both Oliver and Aled had a lot of accidents in their last few months, so it's nice to put the Febreze back in the cupboard!), gallops back to me when called, has taken buses and trains in her stride, is good with children. She is bright and will need training to keep her mind occupied, and can be demanding of attention; she still looks a bit like a beagle (she had been shaved!) but her coat is growing. So all in all we're getting on well, I think.
Hope Zigg continues to keep well,
Kate and Ruby
25th November 2015, 12:34 PM
So so so sorry I didnt get round to updating everyone sooner, things have been absolutely chaos to say the least!
Happy to report that he has been stable all year round and he even went on holiday with us, coped great and really enjoyed it! The mix of the 900mg of Gabapentin daily alongside with the amatriptaline really did the trick for him. It made him comfortable and gave him a much better quality of life, although a high dose it certainly worked. A lot of people we tell about his doses are shocked that he isnt sedated. So anyone heading down a similar road to us: definitely dont be disheartened by the higher doses but at the same time, no 2 cases are the same (especially with it being such a complex condition), so theres also that to consider!
Zigg didnt change much from my last post until around October time. Very unfortunately, symptoms we were having previous to the higher dose of Gabapentin were starting to creep back in. More excessive paw licking (although this never really completely went away, but it wasnt becoming obvious he was doing it a lot), more tremors (finally found out what those are!), violent scratching episodes, general collapsing and just general instability on his feet. Its gotten to a point where hes not really able to sit still on a wooden floor without slipping back.
Since October, the things that have been coming back have been getting worse, so we decided to book another appointment with the Willows. We heard that Stephanie left so we ended up with Sebastian.
The appointment was yesterday, Sebastian was excellent. He did the usual assessment and picked up a few new things:
He found that Zigg had a curvature in his spine (id say it was somewhere down the middle; I think) due to the Chari Malformation, which could be (among everything else) contributing to his decline in mobility. He then went on to discover that theres quite a bit of muscle wastage affecting ziggs front legs, which would probably explain his weakness when it comes to being able to hold still on a wooden floor. He also saw one of Ziggs tremors while assessing him and he queried us about it. He said that what Zigg was experiencing with these tremors were very mild seizures (cant remember the complicated name for it!) and that they would obviously exacerbate his symptoms.
Hes put us on some new medication for the seizures with the starting dose being 200mg (I'l update you all with the name of it soon!), of which he warned would make him tired as a transitional side affect, but once hes on it for longer then 3 days he should pick up. He is definitely completely knocked out, I dont think I've ever seen him like this before. Hes now extremely unstable on his feet and very very lethargic, I cant say hes was awake that much yesterday. This morning is even worse, so Im not sure we'l be able to keep him on this. I know hes going to be tired, but not this tired... Surely?
So hopefully, this will ease up and he'l start to feel a bit better!
Sebastian also suggested we put him on steroids but we told him about our previous experiences and he agreed that it wouldnt be a good idea with his colitis issue. As an alternative he will be put on omeprazone (I think...? Il have to check that ) perminantly rather than as and when he needs it. He said putting Zigg on it for his fluid build up will help a bit but he said to trail it for at least a month to 6 weeks to start seeing results.
However, Sebastian did also warn us that theres only so much more we can do past this point. We definitely know we are on borrowed time with him and we never ever take that for granted. He said that we could try Pregabalin further down the line (in a months time) failing everything else but said its not likely to have any significant affect.
One thing we are all saying is that we never ever could have imagined he would make it past Xmas 2013, so he's done so so well and we're so proud of him with how hes coped with everything hes had to deal with. Just heart breaking to think that such a wonderful dog/breed should have to go through such horrendous pain and suffering
Anyway, Il keep you all updated and let you know of anything that happens.
By the way, Kate: sounds like Ruby is doing really well! Thats great to hear, she sounds a brilliant companion. Hows she getting on now?
25th November 2015, 01:10 PM
So good to hear from you, James, and to get up to date with Ziggy. His symptoms sound very much like Oliver's, who after having his CM/SM well controlled for several years, started getting symptoms again at the age of 13. He had really weak hind legs, which could well have been degenerative myelopathy (the hind leg weakness generally associated with German Shepherds but now known to occur in Cavaliers and several other breeds), rather than CM/SM related. He also had curvature of the spine, but a physiotherapist we saw said this was due to him using his abdominal muscles to keep his hind legs upright so that he could balance himself, so that he looked tucked up and his spine was pushed up.
Is Ziggy's anti-seizure drug Topiramate? Aled was on it for his myoclonus. Hope Ziggy has woken up by now - these drugs tend to zap some dogs more than others. I'm glad you had some time when Ziggy was like his old self - it's good to have happy things to remember, and not just the stress of dealing with one thing after another with a very sick dog. I found I did a lot of grieving when Oliver got so ill in the last 18 months of his life - missing the energetic dog who went on long walks, did competition obedience, camped and visited friends, and went everywhere with me. That dog had disappeared and been replaced by an old dog who battled valiantly to live a normal life. Be gentle with yourself too - it is hugely stressful to nurse a really ill dog.
Ruby is fun, if very noisy! Having lost 1.5kg, she is now very energetic and very bright. She loves our monthly training class and does everything at top speed! So far she has a clear heart; CM/SM? Anybody's guess. It feels quite odd having a dog who only goes to the vet's to be weighed! But I am lucky to have her.
Pat Ziggy from us, and we are thinking of you both.
Kate and Ruby
PS You might find a buggy helpful if Ziggy's walking continues difficult - Oliver and Aled enjoyed going out and about in ours, they could walk as far as they could manage and then sit in their chariot and get fussed by everybody!
PPS If you felt Ziggy would enjoy it, you would all be very welcome at the Midland Christmas Party on 5 December in Coventry. He could sit on your lap and watch the proceedings - and get a present from Santa!