Cavalier Has Been Symptom-Free for Over 8 Months Now.
A friend of mine owns a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was diagnosed with Syringomyelia (with chiari-like malformation) in September 2012. A visit to a local neurologist confirmed the diagnosis. This neurologist said the only available option for this dog would be an invasive and dangerous operation on the skull in an attempt to ease the flow of the fluid around the brain and throughout the spine. The surgery was expensive and debilitating, with both a long, difficult recovery period and no guarantee of success. In addition to other dangerous complications, there is a significant risk that scar tissue can form after the surgery, would reverse any benefit of the initial operation, and again block the flow of the spinal fluid. Surgery was not an option for my friend, as he was not going to put his dog through this.
This poor dog was in such extreme agony - it was screaming at night and there were no amount of painkillers that could control the pain or stop his screaming and his head and neck became contorted from this condition. This dog was also so doped up from all the drugs prescribed by the neurologist, that his heart slowed down to less than 60 beats a minute. I do not know specifically which meds he was on, but he was on at least 5 (including Gabapentin), along with a Fentanyl pain patch that was put on his back. This patch was put on as a last-resort pain killer, but the dog's condition was so bad that the patch did not work, and only worsened his condition by making him groggy and lethargic. To date, the fur that was removed to apply the patch has never grown back there is only "peach fuzz" there now. Imagine how toxic that med must have been!
After some discussion, we decided to consult with another neurologist at a major teaching veterinary hospital (with a more holistic view) and she turned out to be wonderful. She mentioned that she had seen and treated many dogs in far worse condition than ours, and that many of them have been able to return to being almost completely normal with the help of some holistic modalities. Specifically, she recommended chiropractic treatment with the use of cold lasers and acupuncture. She also recommended that we give him 1 tablet a day of Prilosec. After our return home, we sought out a well-trained veterinary chiropractor who used cold lasers in his practice. (To find a qualified, well-trained chiropractic vet we went onto the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association's website http://www.avcadoctors.com). Note: do not use just any vet who claims to know chiropractic - they must truly have advanced training with extensive or they may be completely useless. Also, the cold laser is essential in this therapy.
Anyway, we brought the dog in for his first chiropractic session with this vet and the dog immediately started to relax. The session took about 45 minutes, with the vet applying both physical adjustment of the spine and application of the cold laser throughout the length of the dogs back, head and neck. It was really amazing because as he held the laser over the dog's neck area you could see "ripples" start to form and move in the skin even though no one was touching him. It was almost like watching small waves moving on the water. The doctor explained that this was from the underlying muscles and nerves being stimulated by the treatment. Literally, the muscles were relaxing and releasing their tension. By the end of the session, the dog was clearly feeling better in fact, he almost fell asleep on the table.
That evening, the dog only had one minor episode of pain, and I was told it was minimal. Where the dog had been in continuous pain previously, with an intensity that prevented us from so much as touching him in any attempt to comfort him, the episodes were reduced to no more than one per day, with the duration gradually diminishing each time. After a few days these episodes stopped completely, and he has never had another pain episode since - and it's been 8 months now since his initial treatment. Since then, the dog appears to be completely normal in every way he's like his old self. However, I must mention that my friend continues to bring his dog to the vet/chiropractor once every 3 weeks for a treatment to avoid a recurrence (I believe these regular follow-up sessions are essential in controlling this condition). As far as meds go, the vet helped my friend to wean his dog off of all the meds over a 2 month period. The only thing the dog is taking now is one Prilosec a day.
It is truly amazing to see how well this dog is doing. What a gift it was for this dog's life to return to normal.