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.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spreading Awareness of SM and Ella's Story

Ella's story and the comments I read about her touching other people were amazing.  This blog has many posts (which I hope people read) about some of the issues that is faced with Syringomyelia. Each dog is different and Ella is just one of many.  There are dogs with Syringomyelia that never show any signs, ones that do well several years on medication alone, some that even with medication still progress.  I wanted to give support for others and also spread awareness.  There are so many people that don't even know about this and do not see what people are doing to try to make sure breed healthy puppies.

I was so lucky to get support and donations to help her get an MRI. Ella had an MRI which I thought was going to be covered by her insurance. That does not matter because she needed it and when I found out that it was severe, I knew I had to have surgery even though I could not afford this. I have a post about surgery vs. medical management. It is important to know that each dog is different and reacts differently to medication. Ella was not having any improvements. Even with her surgery, I am starting to see her get worse. Yes, I could keep trying different medications, but I need to know how bad or even pray good she is. 

I am so thankful for donations towards her but also thankful that it brought awareness to others. Not only because of her story, but because I read comments that people have never heard of this.  There are many people and organizations that have always been on this website, that I feel are important for the future of this condition.  Just knowing how much it can cost me to have an MRI, think about the breeders. If a potential Cavalier or other breed did not know about this, would they know to look for breeders who are scanning their dogs to try to prevent the puppies from developing this? Those breeders should be supported. 

Rupert's Fund was set up to scan older Cavalier's to find clear lines and the Canadian genome research (according to the Rupert's Fund website) has "already has pinpointed the likely areas of cavalier genes where SM is carried"

I would like to add that when it is your dog, it is hard to think of anything else but helping her. I have mentioned to others that I want to spread and help with Rupert's Fund. Things do not stop with Ella. I will always know and strive for the health of not only Cavaliers but others. I will be there for others because I know how it feels to think you may lose your beloved.  Ella is everything to me. I don't know how I would handle not having her. When she is in pain, it kills me. I hope you read her blog and others understand that their are more than her.

Her story has touched others and brought awareness and I will always be thankful.  Jana wrote this on her website www.dawgbusiness.blogspot.com which is the best thing and explains in words that is so important. Bringing awareness and maybe one other owner can benefit from her story. Read more about the symptoms and also the concerns. Maybe see things, like I did, that helped prevent more damage. I will tell the story about Corey next.

A response and comment Jana wrote on her blog.

"It is my understanding that it is the severity of the case that either does or does not warrant the need for surgery. Ella's situation was such that it did call for surgery.

We had been through a lot with our Jasmine in last two and there were times when we were asking ourselves whether we would be able to actually help her and provide good quality of life.

We did take some chances and they did work out for Jasmine who is now doing great!

I chose to help Ella because situation like this feels very close to home to me. I believe that whatever the decision it should not be based on financial situation. We do lose a dog in the past because we couldn't afford the veterinary expense at that time. It is a horrible feeling.

I believe that even though this is an individual cause it does a lot of global good. Having a face to go with the situation does speak to people's hearts. Many people heard about syringomyelia for the first time because of Ella. That is Ella's contribution to the other dogs suffering from this condition.

Personally I was moved by Ella's situation not only to try to help her, but I also plan on pursuing this issue further in terms the importance of responsible breeding practices and awareness of these issues.

There is much to be done, but one has to start somewhere and this is where I started.


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