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image of Holly and Harvey spriger spaniels

Holly on the left Harvey on the right

In October 2018, one of our two English Springers, Harvey, suddenly started to stagger as he was walking out into the late October sunshine. We took him directly to the vets to eventually discover he had Ataxia. One of the vertebrae in his spinal column had popped out. He needed major surgery. To cut a long story short, Harvey also had a large benign tumour on his stomach. But he recovered from a double operation, only to be brought down with nasal cancer. Harvey dies two months ago.

Holly, our other springer, was flying solo. Commitments to family meant we were due a visit to nearby Jordan and Holly was put into a kennels we had never used before, for 6 days. She was obviously feeling the loss of Harvey as much as we were, but we had no choice.

On Monday we flew back into Cyprus and picked Holly up. She seemed to have lost weight. She was happy to see us, but seemed a little distant.

Tuesday morning Holly ate her breakfast and ten minutes later collapsed. She tried to stand again but was wobbling and falling over. Her head was waving around and her eyes was dancing in their sockets. At the vets she was diagnosed with vestibular disease. Vestibular disease refers to a sudden, non-progressive disturbance of balance. She has an infection in her ear which we have been treating, but it seems to have worsened while she was in the kennels. After an injection of steroids we brought her home and she recovered within a few hours. It could also have been her ear-drum was perforated, which is potentially more serious, maybe even fatal.

Holly is on a treatment of steroids and seems fine, but we know from experience not to count our chickens. If the situation worsens she may need an MRI scan. There are only two on the island and these are always prioritised for humans.

We are back to a waiting game and keeping our fingers crossed.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

Footnote: It’s now October 6th and we have just received the news that Holly’s lump was indeed cancerous. We have a meeting with the vet tomorrow.

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