When I am upset about something, I usually write about it. In fact, the first place I turn is usually the computer and I write. Not this time. I wrote a post entitled, “Tender Betsy” a week or so ago. It was about my little dog having a seizure. Since then, I haven’t talked about Betsy, but I’m now writing about her and posting an update. I haven’t written much of anything since Betsy’s diagnosis. I hope writing this update can jumpstart my writing again. Here goes.
After Betsy’s second seizure over a week ago, we saw a veterinarian specifically about what appeared to be a seizure disorder, with the blessing of Betsy’s regular vet. We got some bad news. Before I get into that, just let me say that I’ve not had a good feeling about Betsy for some months now. She had seemed to undergo a bit of a personality change. She was not my sparkly, impish Betsy. Everything seemed to be an effort for her. She was moody. Quiet. She didn’t play with her toys or chew on her bone. There were times she even seemed angry with me, but she clung to me at the same time. I wish I had read the signs better and figured out that Betsy was trying to tell me that something was, indeed, wrong. But, in the end, it would not have mattered.
Betsy does not have a seizure disorder. Seizures are just one symptoms of what is wrong with her. She has a condition that is genetic in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and a handful of other breeds – Boston Terriers, Brussels Griffons, and Chihuahua’s (if they have the round head). It is called Syringomyelia. I’m not going into the gruesome details, because they are gruesome. I will say that it develops due to a dog’s round skull and involves the spinal cord and spine. The symptoms are horrible. It is always, always fatal and is genetic in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels like my Betsy.
Betsy is going to die. We can possibly manage her symptoms and conduct pain management – for a while. I can’t define “a while.” It depends on the dog. I think she has been showing symptoms for at least six months.
We have started pain management and she is responding. But, she is pretty stoned on her medicine. I hope she adjusts. I am very conflicted over what we are doing. As we progress along this path, I have to watch her closely and see if we are really giving her any quality of life – or not. I’m not interested in giving her quantity of life because quantity would be for me. I will only agree to this approach if Betsy can have days when she feels good, can play and enjoy her life, have quality of life. If that does not happen, it will be time for Betsy to join my beloved dogs who came before her on the Rainbow Bridge. And wait for me.
When I feel stronger about this, I will write a blog post about the wonderful dog breeders – the responsible dog breeders – that I have been fortunate enough to know. I will talk about the other dog breeders, like Betsy’s breeder, who won’t even answer her phone or respond to my email. All I wanted to know from Valerie was the medical history of Betsy’s sire and dam and she would not give me that information because she knew she had bred dogs that had this horrible disease and she was ashamed. My friends, be careful who you buy a dog from.
I’ve considered starting another blog. About this horrible illness and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Please don’t feel like you have to respond to this. It’s up to you. Do something for your local animal shelter in Betsy’s name. Write a letter to the American Kennel Club, as I’m going to do, and ask that they do not register any more Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for five years until some of their genetic issues are solved. These docile, wonderful companion animals do not deserve this suffering. Mention Betsy whose pedigree name is Cappy Hollow’s Magnesium Bright Light.
Because Betsy has, indeed, been a Bright Light who is being snuffed out far too soon. She is four years old.
Thank you for reading this.