I’d like to introduce you to Rooney, an 8-year-old black and tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. From an early age Rooney started to develop all the things that can go wrong with his breed, the main one being syringomyelia which affects the spine. Fortunately, if you can call it that, his condition has not progressed from early stage symptoms because when full-blown symptoms develop, there is really only one option. A one-way trip to the vets and put the animal to sleep.
However, he has developed epilepsy as a result of the syringomyelia. His epilepsy is controlled by drugs and over the years we have learnt to recognise the start of an epileptic fit, sniffing in corners, disorientation and wanting comfort. There’s not much you can do, wait for the fit to happen and then comfort him afterwards. Normally, for Rooney, a fit doesn’t last much longer than a minute and he’s soon back to his usual self. But last weekend was unusual. Just gone midnight on Sunday last he went into an epileptic fit without displaying the pre-symptoms mentioned above. Unusually, it was a violent one, distressing if you have never seen it before, and it lasted longer than normal. No sooner had he come out of it and he went back into another epileptic fit. Afterwards he was really disorientated and it was well gone 3 am before I got to sleep. At this point I should mention that one of the complications of fitting is frothing at the mouth which tends to get ingested into the lungs. Normally, Rooney recovers easily from all of this but last week, he didn’t. On Sunday afternoon he fitted again and his breathing afterwards was really bad. At times he was struggling to breathe. Perhaps struggling is too strong a word to use, maybe laboured would be better. Anyway, on Monday we got Rooney to the vets and the diagnosis was fluid on the lungs and a course of antibiotics. Our vet has known and treated Rooney for a good few years and on Monday we discussed if maybe now was the time for that one-way trip to happen.
Anyway, we let the antibiotics do their magic and by Wednesday Rooney was almost back to normal. By Friday when I took him back to vets he was his usual bouncy self.
But what a week. Waiting to see if the antibiotics would work and dreading the outcome if they didn’t. Now some of you may ask “if he has all these conditions why do you persist”? Simple really. He’s not in any pain, he’s a friend, part of the family and we have always said “that as long as he continues to chase cats and can play with a ball on the beach we’ll keep him going”