I always write about myself as a person living with Chronic Illness, a #spoonie, but today I am going in another direction. My beautiful dog, Georgia Grace is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel also lives with debilitating chronic illnesses.
This breed is very delicate from years of puppy mills breeding unhealthy dogs together. Georgia suffers from Syringomyelia (also a human condition), hip dysplasia, luxating patellas (her knee caps move), arthritis (a lot like her mom), chronic dry eye syndrome (she no longer makes tears), chronic ear infections (she rubs her head so much from Syringomyelia she causes eye and ear infections), and was just recently diagnosed with a heart murmur and Chronic Valvular Disease (her mitral and tricuspid valves are both leaking). Her heart diagnosis at almost age 8 devastated me. Living with Syringomyelia for 5 years has already been such a challenge. My dog is truly a #spoonie. If you are interested in getting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, please do your due diligence and learn about the health issues. She currently takes 15 pills, 2 chewables and eye drops each and every day to control her pain from syringomyelia and to keep her eyes lubricated.
She also gets acupuncture, laser treatments, and takes canine cannaboids (https://canna-pet.com/testimonial/georgia/) all provide relief from her painful condition. I spend a small fortune monthly on this dog. So much so that I need to work a part-time job in addition to my full-time job. That is difficult for me because of my own chronic illnesses.
It’s not easy taking care of her, but she is worth it. I wouldn’t trade my beautiful girl for the world. I see how popular the Cavalier breed is becoming and it makes me nervous. Families love these sweet, smart, and adorable dogs. Unfortunately, their health issues are not widely known and many of these dogs are given up because families can’t afford the medical costs. To get a healthy cavalier, you need to find a breeder that does both heart testing AND MRI testing to prevent (or try to prevent) diseases like Mitral Valve Disease an Syringomyelia from occurring. Investing in a healthy dog, can help reduce the medical costs in the future. These diseases cut the lives of these beautiful animals very short. Living with my own chronic illness has made me hyper aware of Georgia’s levels of pain and her need for medical care. I probably go overboard, but again, I promised to provide her with a happy and healthy life. She may not always be pain free, but I do my best to make sure she is as comfortable as possible. When I can no longer control her pain, it will be time to say goodbye. I hope that is a date far in the future.
Here she is getting acupuncture. It is our miracle and our holistic vet is our Earth angel. Our regular vets have been a great source of support. She also sees a neurologist and will begin seeing a cardiologist soon.
I try to provide Georgia with a happy and normal life. Here are some favorite clips of my beautiful, funny girl. She is the epitome of “but you don’t look sick”. This dog lives with diseases that would destroy most people, yet she never complains and is a ball of pure love.
And every once in a while, she does her best Jon Snow impression (Game of Thrones):
My Georgia makes me laugh.
No animal should suffer like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do. Please think twice about purchasing from puppy mills and backyard breeders. Investing in a healthy puppy may be pricy BUT it may save you a fortune of care during the life of the dog. Adopting an older dog with health issues can be a challenge, but I’ve never met a cavalier owner who regretted adopting their pet. I thought I did everything right, but sadly, I ended up with a “lemon”. Georgia, however, is the sweetest lemon ever created and together, we’ll keep making lemonade.
If you want to learn more about Cavaliers go to http://cavalierhealth.org. They are a fantastic source of information.
** Click on highlighted words to learn more about Syringomyelia and heart disease in cavaliers.