Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ella's MRI Results And Update

Ella's was first diagnosed with syringomyelia in January 2010. She was progressing fast so the decision on whether to do surgery was something that I had to make sooner than later. I still remember her neurologist say he could not tell me that Ella would be around for 3 months. I never thought I would see her live this long. I will never forget what Ella has gone through.  

We've been all waiting to find out what Ella's new MRI results were.

Ella had her MRI last week and the results are not good. Ella's syrinx is 50% larger now than it was at the time of her first MRI prior the surgery. A lot of scar tissue developed at the surgical site.

Without a new surgery, Ella's prognosis is not good.

Ella's Update

Ella's MRI confirmed what I feared and even though the results are bad I now have information that many people do not. Ella's symptoms were worsening and I needed to know what the situation really is. Ella's results were not what I wanted to hear but I am glad because it might have caught the scar tissue before it attached.

The reason i decided to go through with the first surgery was because I felt her SM was progressing fast and her medications hadn't been helping. Even with the surgery, which initially released the pressure and allowed for the CSF fluid to flow, and with several medications, Ella did not improve. In fact she is worse now than she was before. Hadn't she had the surgery, I doubt she'd be with me today.

Not all dogs with syringomyelia respond to the surgery the same way. While there was hope that surgery would reduce the syrinx from its original size, that was not the case with Ella. The neurologist explained that is has been determined that the main factor isn't as much the size as it is the location of the syrinx. Ella's is located at the worst place it could be.

I knew progression was bad, location is bad, medication are not helping, so I asked about alternative therapy. I learned about this from a couple of people but the neurologist said that this is not a solution for Ella. I would like to point out that it is not because he does not believe in it—he actually gives Ella acupuncture—but it will not do in Ella's situation.

He talked about another surgery that would be done to remove the scar tissue that is blocking the CSF flow. He said the risk would be if the the scar tissue has attached which he will not know until surgery. If that is the case he would have to carefully scrape or remove each tissue—this could cause complications resulting in permanent neurological damage. It is not a given and I asked what the odds were and he said that there could be swelling, haemorrhaging, but he could say it was not as much as I feared.

He would put in a bone cement to cover the space that was removed to help prevent scar tissue to develop again.

We briefly discussed shunting which he said he would not consider.

If we decide to do the surgery, Ella's neurologist is going to work with me and  keep the cost as low as possible since he knows my financial situation.

This is what I found out today and I would tell anyone who is going to make such a serious decision to really think about it. I know I can not do nothing and watch her get worse and suffer more pain. Putting her through the risk of surgery is scary and I have to figure out whether this is the best thing for her.

I was told that without the surgery Ella has months at best.

Someone in my family said that no one would blame me if I let her go considering how much it put me through and how hard it was. It was shocking to me because the only thing that concerned me was not what it would put me through, but what it would put Ella through.

Am I going to do this for her or for me?

If she was old and not have the life I see in her that would be one thing. It would be selfish to keep a dog barely alive just because I could not let her go.

But Ella has so much life left in her, and so much love to give. She saved my life when I needed saving and I am not going to give up. I am going to do everything i can (no matter if it is hard) for her. She is the most important thing and i care about her more than anything else.

I would like to thank all the great souls who helped so Ella could get her MRI and all those who remembered Ella in their thoughts and prayers. I couldn't have made it without you!

For detailed updates please visit Annie's blog Fight for Ella. Let's keep Annie and Ella in our good thoughts. I will update you on Annie's decision.


Related articles:
The Dark Cloud Of Syringomyelia: Fight For Ella
Fight For Ella Continues


  1. I hope everything works out for poor, little Ella. Please keep us posted. That's a terrible thing for any dog and dog owner to go through.

  2. Dear Lindsey. Yes, it is horrible. Even more so as it is us, humans, who do this to our dogs, whether through ignorance or greed.

    I am working on a "Breading for Health" campaign to raise awareness how our breeding practices affect the health of our best friends.

  3. We have a cavalier,she's one year old and I have noticed she scratches her ear and licking her paw.I have to watch her a little more to be 100% sure but I am so her so much...It is unbelievable!


    1. Hi hon, I understand your concern. Scratching her ear and licking her paw (just one? how much and how often?) doesn't strike me as typical for this condition. You might be indeed looking at itchy ear and paw, you might indeed be looking at something like allergies.

      I'd start by having a vet checking those out. Redness and other signs might be present to indicate local irritation, rather than a global disaster.