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Archive for the ‘prior to decompression’ Category

Early to bed

Charlie played with his toys again this evening, then had a thoroughly enjoyable ‘Bark Fest’ with Geordie. Now he’s sound asleep at 8:30 pm. We’re leaving tomorrow morning at 6:00 to drive him to the hospital.

Thanks for your good wishes and kind words, everyone. Charlie is truly a special little boy, and we feel blessed to have him in our lives. Here he is, sound asleep:

I may not be able to post an update until tomorrow evening, but will try to do so earlier if I possibly can.

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We’re not alone: Charlie’s decompression surgery will be on November 8, then Bianca (14 months old) will have surgery on November 12, followed by Seamus (1 year old), whose surgery is scheduled for November 14. I’m praying for the very best outcomes for all three cavaliers.

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Playing!

Charlie is like a puppy tonight – he’s playing with all of his toys. I’m at the computer nearby, and I hear him stomping around and play growling. So far he has ‘killed’ a pink bunny, brown bear, a kitty and a red rope with three fish on it. Now he’s working on his orange puppy pillow while lying in bed. I love to see him this way – very busy and content, technically still a puppy since he hasn’t turned two yet.

Today is one of his better days – no pain episode this morning, but three episodes at lunch time while he was outside. The weather is cold today, and might be a contributing factor.

Woo hoo, Colin’s home – time for smoochies!

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Mornings with Charlie are very quiet. Every day I get up at 5:00am to give Charlie his first Gabapentin capsule of the day. His Gabapentin must be spaced into 8 hour intervals, and our schedule is perfect for Charlie and me: 5am, 1pm, 9pm around the clock.

Charlie lifts his head to grab his pill wrapped in shaved turkey lunch meat. To him it’s a treat that he gets for free; he doesn’t have to ‘earn’ it with a ‘sit’ command. That may be why he’s a bossy little dog, but I don’t have the heart to make him work in the morning. He obviously doesn’t feel well in the mornings.

He stays in bed until 6:30am, when he gets his Omeprazole, wrapped in shaved turkey as well. When I start putting dog food into bowls, he perks up and barks in anticipation. I set out food bowls, and he’s out of bed by the time I set his bowl on a towel-wrapped shoe box. One requirement for SM sufferers is a raised food bowl, and this is our poor man’s version.

He eats quickly, has a drink and pops back into his bed. I give his Omeprazole a little while to start it’s work. Later, Ill tempt him out of bed with bits of kibble to be carried outside for a potty break. We take it slow, in hope that he won’t have a pain episode.

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Charlie has us stumped.

Every evening at dinner time, Charlie waits until we’re seated at the table and our forks touch our plates – then he barks nonstop until we are finished. The first few times it happened, we thought we’d ignore his behavior and it would naturally extinguish itself. No way! If anything, it got worse. We decided to eat in the dining room for several days, out of his sight. Nope. Last night we ate in the living room with the TV volume turned up to drown his crescendo. Louder? No. Louder? No.

It isn’t like he’s hungry; I feed the dogs long before we eat. I may try feeding them at the same time we eat tonight. Or we may eat out. He’s a mystery – we play guessing games as to why our eating upsets him so. He’s still a little chubby around the middle, so he was obviously well-fed. We wonder if he sat on someone’s lap and shared their dinner, or if he had a seat of his own at the table with his own plate of people food.

India, Geordie and Chocolate look at us in wonder as Charlie barks on, then they curl up in the dog beds and try to drown out his staccato barking with sleep. As soon as I rise to my feet with my empty plate, Charlie quiets. Hmmm, maybe tomorrow night we’ll eat standing up…

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Charlie with friends

We took Charlie to his regular vet yesterday for a skin and ear recheck. This time he didn’t make a peep when his ears were swabbed. The test came back clean; yay – no more struggling with the ear drops. She examined his skin and found the infection has cleared. Charlie has dandruff, so we’re going to bathe him again in the prescription shampoo.

She says his Lepto vaccination should wait until after surgery.

We’re concerned about the possibility that Charlie might have worms from being bitten by fleas. This could impede his recovery from surgery. She gave us a prescription for Drontal Plus to give him this weekend.

Charlie is good to go!

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Charlie went to see his new neurologist on Tuesday, October 30, 2007. Dr. A. feels Charlie is taking too much Gabapentin – his doses are very high. He says 45 mg is a regular dose and 90 mg is a high dose. Charlie’s dose is 200 mg and sometimes 300 mg, three times a day! Scary, but the poor dog has been having pain episodes in spite of that.

Charlie was also taking Lasix, but I had changed him to Prilosec soon after I brought him home. Both vet and neurologist agree this was a more appropriate medication, since it reduces the body’s production of cerebral spinal fluid. It helps reduce the pressure. I felt terrible changing his medication on my own, but other people who have cavaliers with SM are having good results with it. And Charlie was urinating at night in his sleep when he took Lasix. From now on I’ll be glad for Charlie’s two vets to make the decisions about his medication.

Dr. A. said the decompression surgery has an 80% success rate. Charlie has had severe symptoms for at least 1.5 years, so some of the neurological damage may be permanent. But the surgery will hopefully reduce or alleviate his pain. Colin and I decided we have to do this if it’s still an option for Charlie. We have to give Charlie this chance.

We had decided together that morning not to delay the surgery if Charlie would be a candidate. We would never let any of our beloved dogs get as bad as Charlie is with his pain episodes. He has suffered too much already.

I scheduled the surgery for November 8, 2007. Dr. A. would have performed the surgery on November 1, but we have to clear up Charlie’s skin and ear infections first. Charlie had x-rays taken and bloodwork performed during his appointment. We want to be sure his organs weren’t damaged from the high Gabapentin dosages.

He had an MRI in October 2006 soon after he was placed in the rescue organization. So he won’t need a new MRI before surgery. Dr. A. said he’d like another MRI sometime in the future after the surgery to look for changes in the size of Charlie’s syrinx.

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