Ella was diagnosed with Syringomyelia and taught me more in her short life about how to live life to the fullest, love with all your heart, and learn from each other.

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The moment I first held Ella, my world changed. She has touched so many people giving love as a therapy dog but now it is time to give back. No matter how hard she tries to give, her eyes show sadness and pain.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Putting it Together

I have been writing several posts tonight because I am up with Ella and I'm worried. We saw our cavalier neighbors finley and lulu tonight and I started walking with their owner talking about SM and how we can help, why is it seeming to be more common, why did she not hear about until Ella and mainly where to go from here. When I first got Ella I was so excited to have someone that had a Cavalier that is no gone but lived to 13. She got Finley after and he is just 6 months older than Ella and it has been nice having a person to go to with cavalier issues.

The hardest thing is trying to let Ella enjoy life and at the same time be aware to know when to go home. I was talking to my neighbor and we talked about how you know more than anyone when something is not right. I usually know the look when she is tired or can pick her up after 10 minutes or so even though her eyes may scream "oh mom but can I play longer" but tonight I feel terrible. This is so hard because even though she seems so happy, I hear underneath her breath a whine that no one else can't. Someone said today that I can't analize everything and study her every movement but I do and I can't help it.

If I carry her around and don't let her have any exercise then how can it be good for her heart? I met another cavalier at the park Sunday and they had a cavalier that they said had the cerebral fluid problem or whatever they called it because this was back before 2005. They told me their dog would whelp but he seemed to grow out of it and died of conjestivs heart failure. When they had their previous cavalier with what they think was SM it was before anyone here (us) really knew anything. I think even today, Ella was the first dog my vet saw and I had to beg that I thought she needed an MRI and I could no longer rule everything else out.

That's what's hard too. It's not some simple test to see if your dog has SM and most of the symptoms could be confused as other things. Dogs scratch, dogs have ear infections so should someone go spend $2000 for an MRI only to find out that it's just skin allergies? Maybe if you have enough money that the cost is nothing but even so what an MRI says one day it does not mean it could change. Let me say if anyone has the means to get an MRI anytime then PLEASE help with donating towards research or help the breeders out by low cost MRIs because it will also help this breed now and in the future. This is a big problem and I pray that something changes because I would hate to see something happen to this breed because they are so special.

That was my little plea but for most people an MRI is just not easy. For Ella, her vet wanted to rule everything else out and an MRI was her last step. I knew Ella and putting things together and reading about Ollie, I knew it was more. Now thinking back I think of other things I missed. I noticed that Ella only would walk on one side of me up the stairs. I had her eyes checked because she seemed scared at night going outside. Was that something related because they can have balance issues. I thought it was cute because for as long as I remember, Ella would cough once everytime she drank water. I thought I read this could be a symptom.

Now the hard part of was this a symptom, each tome she scratches I think oh no it's coming back. My neighbor says she started to think these things after learning a little bit about SM but she said she knows her dogs. I am big about people being aware of the symptoms but everytime a dog scratches you can not assume that it's because they have syringomyelia. She said the truth that I know Ella and she knows every look etc. with finley and lulu that I had a feeling something is off.

That brings me to tonight. Something is off. She saw her neurologist Monday who told me that after surgery they can be fine at first and then start to show the signs again and it is all part of her recovery but it should even out. Please even out and please not have her have heart failure or MVD because I could not take it. I read about Darcy who had MVD and all she went through and that's tough too. My neighbor said her cavalier lived to 13 and on 15 different medications with MVD. I know that Ella has a huge heart but I worry about her every day.

I saw a flea on her the other day after being around a cavalier that I was told had flea problems. It was like Santa clause came I was so excited over a flea! Ella's scratching from a flea! What a relief :) I then made sure to double check her calender and yes I had given her the monthly heart and flea medication.

Moral to this story: it's okay to worry about our dogs but don't assume the absurd worse. You never know because it might be a flea. However, make sure to be aware of changes or if something is out of the ordinary. For a long time I though Ella had fleas or skin allergies, ear infections but I knew she looked funny walking. She seemed to look different walking up stairs. I took her to the vet and of course she was walking fine up the stairs when I tried to show them what I was talking about. Trust yourself because I know I just knew no matter if no one else saw it, I knew there was something going on.

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