One Word No Cavalier Owner Ever Wants to Hear

by Gretchen DeMoss

There’s one word that no Cavalier owner ever, ever  wants to hear – Syringomyelia. You may have noticed that we’ve been a bit “dark” over here at The Adventures of Kendall the Cavalier. Little Kendall has been dealing with some health issues that are still unresolved.

A few months ago, Kendall started limping after we’d been for walks. The vet thought it might be a soft tissue problem and prescribed some Metacam and reduced activity. We complied and kept her walks short and kept her home from doggie daycare. Things didn’t seem to improve. A couple of weeks ago, during her wellness visit, she checked out just fine. The limping was intermittent and thought to be a result of walking in the sand at the beach or excessive exercise (like a Cavalier could do that).

Late last week, Kendall stopped jumping up on the couch and the bed. She was her same perky, happy self, but she wasn’t jumping. Then, on Tuesday, I came home from work to a very unhappy girl. She could hardly move her neck and yelped every time she moved her head. Poor girl! I called the vet, and she spent all of Wednesday there. They checked her out thoroughly, took x-rays, looked at her eardrums and everything else they could think to look at. Nothing showed up as an obvious answer.

So, she came home with a prescription for gabapentin, the drug they give to dogs with syringomyelia. It is a neurogenic analgesic. She’s responding well to it. That’s bittersweet for us and not a true diagnosis. We have a plan with the vet to eliminate other factors and then confirm with an MRI, but I can’t deny that we’re worried. All we want is our Kendall to be comfortable and be the happy, loving dog she’s always been. We’re lucky that we have a great vet, but the wait-and-see game is pretty stressful.

Meanwhile, we’ve stopped doing our Pet Partner therapy team visits. Although Kendall loves it, I’m afraid that she may have a moment of pain when she may not be as friendly as she usually is. I look at this as a learning experience. It keeps bringing me back to responsible breeding – something I plan to expound upon in the upcoming weeks.

8 thoughts on “One Word No Cavalier Owner Ever Wants to Hear

  1. Poor Kendall and poor Mum. I know just how you both feel. Jasper had a sick spell recently and it was a virus and he wouldnt eat for days. He was on anti-biotics and is okay now, but then it was Marleys turn. We think he fell off the couch when we were out for the day and he was yelping and not jumping up just like Kendall. We did some gentle massage for a week and he seems okay again, but now he has an eye infection so he is on antibiotics and eye ointment. So hard when they cant tell us what is wrong. We hope Kendall is okay and that the dignosis is not as bad as you think. Cuddles!

  2. I wish you a correct diagnosis. Our Mango had SM surgery 4 1/2 years ago, and she is doing well on gabapentin and a check up with the neurosurgeon once a year. Give Kendall a hug from me.

  3. Thanks for the thoughts, everyone, and the words of encouragement, Bobbie. We will do everything we can to take care of her. Glad I got pet insurance for her a couple of years ago.

  4. I am so sorry! That is the word no Cav mom wants to hear! I’m sure you already know, but from my experience with Magnus’ MRI last year please be careful what vet does it. We ended up paying 1800.00 for a near worthless scan. Positioning and machine quality affect so much. We will be thinking of you guys! I think you follow Embee Cavaliers? On Mary Beth’s new website she has the best list of articles and education on SM. Maybe check it out? It’s: I may be biased, but as breeders go, she’s been amazing to help me learn. I hope things work out okay! Our thoughts are with you all!

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