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, September 6, 2010

She is fine, but she isn't

The hardest and frustrating thing about syringomyelia is how it changes and is so hard to notice the signs. I personally can share how from someone else's eyes who does not know the things to look for Ella could seem completely fine. She stayed at my mother's house for a week and although she said she seemed to sleep a lot and be tired, she seemed okay.  Ella has not been showing the most typical symptom of syringomyelia which is strange. She hasn't been scratching.

This is the one thing my mom knows and so she did not notice it and because they do not know the other things to look for, she seemed ok. They have a back yard and they just let Ella go outside, do her business and come back in. They do not see the difficulty climbing stairs. They are not with her enough to notice the changes in laying on the floor, shaking her head, and not wanting to be touched.

Back in May Ella stayed with a friend who has a Cavalier, and she told me nothing was wrong with her. She was the one who said the same thing before Ella got her first MRI and said the same thing. When the results came back, she said she would never doubt me again.  I started to notice things with Ella even back then. I would watch her all the time. I could tell when she had enough. I could see her tuck her paw under (a sign), i saw her sometimes struggle up the stairs.

This is where I come to the part of how it changes day to day. Yesterday Ella had a great day. She was full of energy and we had so much fun at the park. Even though she was worn out the rest of the day, i was so happy. Maybe it is not as bad as the MRI said. Then she changed.

Last night and today she was running away from me. Hiding under the table for protection because she did not want to be touched. I had to carry her. I can hear faint cries.

I knew what to look for and her MRI proves that she really is bad off. Dogs can not tell you they are in pain. SM does not have things like vomiting, fever, and what seems normal isn't and it could get to a point of perminant damage to the spinal cord and paralysis in serious cases. That is another thing. Estimates vary on the amount of Cavaliers with SM (some up to 70 %) and a lot of them are asymptomatic. So each dog varies.

Ella's neurologist said when he talked to a group of Cavalier owners in Charlotte that the majority of the Cavaliers here have SM. He said most of the time it is diagnosed is by having done an MRI for another problem. A dog comes in for one thing and finds out their dog has SM which is completely unrelated to what they came in for.

Ella is an unlucky one and even because a lot might never get to the point where i am so scared of just how long Ella has, it can not be taken lightly. It is getting worse with every generation. Had I not seen these new symptoms develop as i said before, it would be too late.

I will know more tomorrow after meeting with Ella's neurologist but let's pray she beats the statistics i have read.

Look at her yesterday. She seems fine and not the dog i'm hoping for another day, month, and if a miracle many years.

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