Recently, we have been honoured to receive a letter from his Holiness Pope Francis.
J-Lo was featured in Dogs Monthly. (Click here to see the website article).
J-Lo, a seven year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, suffers from several different health problems, including severe sleep apnoea, syringomyelia and facial nerve paralysis, which causes her problems with her eyes. J-Lo’s sleep apnoea means she often wakes up suddenly because she can’t breathe. This is clearly very distressing for both J-Lo and her very devoted owner, Patrick, and also means that J-Lo isn’t sleeping properly and is tired all the time.
J-Lo has been referred to the Animal Health Trust (AHT), near Newmarket, several times and has used almost the full range of the AHT’s state-of-the-art equipment, including MRI and CT scans, fluoroscopy and endoscopy to help the vets of many different specialties at the AHT investigate her different health problems. She’s a fantastic example of how the different specialist vets, including medical physicians, surgeons, neurologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, radiologists and anaesthetists, along with the fantastic nursing team at the AHT, work closely together to ensure the best possible care for the patients.
James Warland, one of the vets who is treating J-Lo at the AHT, said: “J-Lo’s sleep apnoea has got so extreme that she has had to be hospitalised for monitoring and more tests to work out the best way to treat her. She has had surgery in the past, but as she is currently overweight we have been using hydrotherapy and a weight loss programme to improve her overall weight, health and fitness, and hope to be able to avoid more surgery.
“The main problem with J-Lo’s eyes is that the facial nerve paralysis prevents her from blinking. She has had a temporary surgery on her eyelids to help protect her eyes while we hope the nerve function will slowly return. Fortunately most dogs cope very well with such nerve paralysis, which can be permanent, as long as we can keep their eyes healthy.
In 2012 J-Lo was been trained and has officially become an Assistance Dog. She had a year long training course on the Dog and People socialising held by Mind.
J-lo and myself also had one-to-one training on Going Out held by the NHS St. John’s.
From nine and half months J-Lo was diagnosed with syringohydromyelia.
At age 5 it was discovered that she had a heart murmur grade 3 which has risen to grade 5 now.
She had breathing issues, resulting in having major surgery of the soft pallet and being in hospital for two months, which was a very trying time for the both of us, being apart for so long.
Shortly after, she had a stoke which caused facial praralysis. J-lo had to have both her eyes stitched and needed constant eye drops and tear drops which had to be administered every hour. She had to have hydro therapy in water tanks to learn how to walk again, this took months for her to recover.
J-Lo then grew tumours on her back and ears which were removed as non-cancerous but unfortunately this operation caused J-lo to completely lose her hearing.
J-Lo has recently been diagnosed with a severe case of Cushings syndrome which has led to her deteriation being cased by a pulmonary tumour developing within her brain. This presents as tremors and fits. She has now been placed on palative care as there are no further treatments or medications available. We now just take one day at a time.
J-Lo is my assistance dog as well as my companion for life. We have fought together, J-Lo has surprised me at times with her resiliance. She is definitely a fighter and we are fighting this together.