one year after surgery


You have a special place Dear Lord that I know you'll always keep

A special place reserved for dogs when they quietly fall asleep

With large and airy kennels and a yard for hiding bones

With maybe a little babbling creek that chatters over stones.

With wide green fields and flowers for those who never knew about running freely under

Your sky of perfect blue. Lord,I know You keep this Special Place and so to you I Pray, for one Special Cavalier Who quietly died today

She was full of strength & love and so very, very wise.

The puppy look she once had had long since left her eyes.

She is dearly missed my Lord by her Mom & Dad.

She went to join her family in Your land that is Devine

So, speak to Abbey softly please and give her a warm hello.

She's a Special gift to you Dear Lord from her Mommy & Daddy, who loved her so.

Run free sweet Abbey.

Abbey 1/24/2004 - 1/3/2012

Oh my sweet Abbey. You are with the angels and finally free of this awful disease. I will miss you sooooooo much and I am at a loss as to what to do right now. I love you so much but I know we did the right thing today.

RIP and I thank god he brought you to us.

I love you so much.


Not doing well--Any of Us - December 29,2011

It's been a very long time since I updated and unfortunately this is not a good
one. It is now almost 3 years since finally figuring out what Abbey had/has. She
was doing relatively good until this past year and has been declining. We are
now seriously talking abou putting her down. I've never had to put an animal down in my life.
Thank you dear lord they have always gone on their own. I'm looking at Abbey in a
different way now---she is having such a very hard time getting around--she
slips and slides all over the place and falls. Her eyes just don't have the
"sparkle" they used to. I think she's plain tired of dealing with this disease.
George and I talked alot last night and shed many many tears and also saw
another neurologist 3 weeks ago and was told we were doing all that she would
have us do and saw our vet yesterday and he agreed with me about her quality of
life. My emotions are so up and down right now. One minute I'm ready to make the
appt. and the next minute I say no. George feels we need to give it a couple
more weeks to give the increase in prednisone and omeprazole a chance. I can't
hardly look at her right now without sobbing so I know it won't be long. If
you've read our story you know how much we do love her and how this is killing
me. I will post when we finally make the decision.

One Year after Surgery

Hard to believe that its been a year. Time flies. She is doing well and is a very happy dog. She was having some scractching episodes about a month ago and we were quite concerned. She has never been symptom free since the surgery and we never believed she would be--we hoped though. I felt she was having some distress so we took her off the temaril and she is now on prednisone which seems to be doing the trick. I have only seen her scratch a couple times in the past 6 weeks or so. The change has been quite visible. She is hungry though and I guess steroids do that to you. We are still happy that we did the surgery as our goal was for her not to get worse and we have accomplished that goal 100% and more as she is definitely better than a year ago. Any questions, please e-mail me and I will get back to you quickly. I still get e-mails and sometimes people call me as they are worried and I sure understand what its like to go down this road.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Abbey was born on January 21, 2004 in Slovakia. Yep thats correct Slovakia. We are near Atlanta, Georgia, USA. We found Abbey in a newspaper ad and went to look at her on April 10, 2004 when she was 7 weeks old. We were in love immediately. We brought her home and approximately 2 weeks after getting her she had her first seizure. The first one terrified me enormously and after I calmed down a bit I called my vet. We talked about what the worst scenario would be etc. and she said if she was epileptic and would be on meds all the time the expense would be minimal and could have a very happy life. I also contacted the "so called" breeder and she offered to take her back. Of course I couldn't even consider this. She was my daughter. In a way I don't even know why I contacted the breeder in the first place. She hasn't had that many seizures. I think maybe in the vicinity of 8 that we have witnessed with one time being pretty bad but most of them have lasted maybe a minute and just been a little tired after. One thing we noticed also when we picked her up she yelped. Well, the obedience trainer tells us what wooses ckcs are. Yep they are little toddlers. Just thought she was what some breeders call "soft". Its really really hard at this point to even come close to when her first symptoms appeared. Some time in 2008 or even possibly 2007 she was scratching and licking etc. The vet did a skin scrape to rule out mange which was negative and just contributed it to allergies. Our shih tzu also has itchy skin lets say so the vet even made a notation in Abbey's chart about another dog in the house with allergies. Abbey was put on methylprednisolone which seemed to help. The vet also labeled the problem as possibly behavioral issues--another words ocd or food allergy. Our shih tzu gets the worst right after a bath and so thought possibly Abbey had the same problem. I've tried more shampoos than Carter has pills lets say. Even ones the vet gave me. Made no difference on either Winston the shih tzu or Abbey. As months go on its getting worse. Now there are wet spots on the carpet that aren't quite as bad as if a dog had had an accident but dang close. These were being caused by her licking her paws. Also, I remember waking up one night and thought she had wet in the bed but she hadn't. Was that wet!!! Also, on the air scratching probably as far back as I remember. Just thought she was a little weird lets say. Remember these symptoms were minimal because they were being masked now with her being on the methylprednisolone .

Then in November we decided we needed to have another baby in the family so we got our one year old Bentley. This time we were a little smarter. Got him from a reputable breeder about 90 mins from where we live. On December 9, 2008 I was doing a google search for something to do with cavaliers and came across I signed up and over the following weeks I had seen posts about something called syringomyelia and sm but didn't pay attention to them. Approximately January 8th I was curious and started to read about it and the more I read the more I couldn't stop. I also watched a few videos of dogs with sm and thats when I really knew she had it. I was scared and scared bad. Thats when the tears started and it takes alot for me to cry!!! I contacted my vet with my fears and she had never heard of it. She asked me to spell it which I did and she told me she was going to contact a local breeder which came to her practice. Her symptoms were:

air scratching
licking paws
scratching neck
paw like cramp like--we used to say it was like she had a charlie horse and would squeak in a sense
rubbing head on floor or going by a couch and rubbing side-digging and pushing
seeking cool area
lip licking

Like I said when I saw the videos of dogs with sm I knew right away. I could not believe my vet knew nothing of this and it bugged me that she didn't. Also, my husband then mentioned our previous dog being misdiagnosed with pancreatitis and ended up dying and after 7 years he voices this to me and that did it--we needed a new vet. I was also confused-angry etc. that my vet knew nothing BUT everybody told me not to be as none of them know nothing. I still to this day cannot understand that--don't they read journals etc? My gosh my husband has a plumbing business and in order for him to keep his license he has to do continuing education. I still haven't come to grips with this subject. Seems like after seizures-licking-scratching that somebody should have looked into it further. I asked a friend of mine how she liked her vet and she loved him so called this clinic and asked if they knew much about cavaliers and the response was "the owner has 3 of them and both of his daughters have them". I was excited. Maybe there was somebody that actually knew something. I then asked do you know anything about syringomyelia and the reply was yes. I almost screamed with excitement. Then I said I want to bring her in. Guess what they could get her in in about 2 hrs. Now I'm really really excited. Call my husband George and he's going to go in with me. We go in with her and of course he didn't have a clue to what it was--I had printouts with me and I really think the guy thought I was one wacko that diagnosed her dog off the net--heck why did he go to all that school with the internet. Then Abbey started doing her scratching etc. and he picked her off the table and put her on the floor and he said "I've seen this in other cavaliers". He listened. Now we have talked about this and he tells me he never felt like I was wacko. He said he believed me from the start and listened. At least this guy wanted to listen and I felt since he had 3 cavaliers himself that he would have a GREAT interest in this. We said to him--we want a mri and told him where we wanted to go and get it--I had done my research on this. He went out of the room and phoned Auburn University in Auburn, AL to make an appt. The soonest we could get in would be another week. This was on a thursday I believe. By the following monday Abbey all morning long was miserable and I was in complete shut-down at this point and crying uncontrollably and called the university and they told me "your doctor can get her in tomorrow on an emergency basis if he calls and talks to the neurologist". Oh my god somebody is looking down for us. I call Dr. Davis and they say to bring her in for bloodwork and he tells me he's afraid that if we go in on an emergency basis that they won't do the mri and I say I don't want to go then --would wait for my actual appt date. He said he'll go call to find out for sure. He comes back and tells me I can bring her in tomorrow and she will be mri'd that day.

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If you have a CKCS-Cavalier Spaniel-and you've run across this page by accident, you at least need to be aware of a disease that is in ALOT of the cavaliers. If you don't read this, then at least go to (link below) and read about what it is. It could be the best thing you do for your dog. We need to spread the word about this.

Day 23--she's feeling better and bored!!!

Symptoms of Syringomyelia - also known as SM

New videos can be seen at: