This week I was very fortunate to be approached by Norma Inglis of Craigowl Cavaliers who writes for Cavalier Chatterbox. Most people who are involved in Cavaliers have heard of Chatterbox. We all wait eagerly as each week a new “Chatterbox is open”. Anyone who has read this week’s Chatterbox would have seen Mylee’s story posted. It was the same version I first chose to share with the SM list originally. If you haven’t, go check it out. Thank you to Norma and Chatterbox for sharing Mylee’s story with the Cavalier world. It is one that I hope people will revisit, and learn from.
Mylee’s story will also be posted in the upcoming Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia Awareness event that is being hosted by Two Little Cavaliers. I look forward to the awareness, and attention being brought to such important health issues. I also look forward to celebrating the accomplishments made so far, a re-commitment to research initiatives, and recognizing those wonderful breeders out there who are working to breed healthy cavaliers.
I used to be very apprehensive about sharing Mylee’s story. Whenever I tried to with Cavalier friends, it was incredibly hard. Her story always resulted in questions and criticisms that caught me off guard. They often put me on the defensive, and upset me. Comments and criticisms from people who weren’t trying to be mean, they just plain didn’t understand how a dog could be clear of syringomyelia yet be so symptomatic and in pain. Almost all awareness and research was dedicated to SM. My little red monster did not fit with any of it.
“Are you sure you haven’t missed something?”
Yes I’m sure, everything has been ruled out. She is a healthy little dog aside from her CM.
“What about her teeth? Her ears? Allergies? Autoimmune? She did have a mild amount of PSOM in one ear.”
All have been ruled out. Mylee has beautiful little white teeth. 100% better than her sister who lives here and receives the same dental care. She did have a yeast issue in her ears that cleared up easily with a diet change and treatment. From her elimination diets it was easily determined that she has sensitivities to chicken, corn, wheat, and soy. Her coat, skin, and ears look incredible after making changes to her diet and moving to primarily a home cooked holistic approach. Although she was looking better after the changes she was still vocalizing and scratching in pain. Her ears and head still felt like they were on fire with the amount of heat coming through them.
PSOM was also addressed and ruled out. Her Neurologist said several times when I inquired that she sees several cavaliers and other breeds with large amounts of PSOM in *both* ears and that they were definitely not screaming out and vocalize in pain like Mylee does. In her experience they often have no symptoms at all from their PSOM.
“Do you know what the long term effects are of prednisone?!”
Yes. I am well aware of the long term effects of prednisone. I make the choice for her quality of life now versus possible *long term* (several years down the road) side effects. If the use of prednisone allows Mylee to be comfortable and happy 95% of the time for 9 years, instead of her suffering in severe amounts of pain her every waking moment, but her living to be 12 years old; my choice would be the same every time. I will take however long I can have with my girl, and not take a single day for granted. I do that regardless with my dogs as you never know what tomorrow will bring.. healthy dog or not.
“I would never have my dog on prednisone for that long!”
Never say never until you have a dog like Mylee. You have never lived with a dog in severe amounts of pain.
A video of Mylee’s symptoms. It does have sound but if you are sensitive I wouldn’t watch it or I would turn your sound off. After watching it. Imagine experiencing that level of pain 10-15x a day. Imagine for the rest of the day your dog laying flat out on the floor with her paws under her and her chin flat against the floor and her head and ears radiating with heat. That is what Mylee goes through without being on prednisone.
The combination (yes they have to be in combination) of Lyrica (pregabalin) and prednisone have been wonder drugs for Mylee. They allow her to experience everyday like a dog should. She runs, she plays, and is completely devoted to me.
I DO NOT blame her breeder in the slightest for what has happened to Mylee. I hold the utmost of respect for her and what she has accomplished in the breed. She is an incredible, and highly respected woman in Cavaliers. It was NOT her fault that Mylee turned out this way.
I THANK HER for entrusting Mylee to me and for producing her. She has made made my life incredibly special in ways that I have trouble putting into words. She is a very special “little red dog” to me and I am thankful for everyday I spend with her.