Syringomyelia Awareness: Friends of Lola

The aim of the friends of Lola website is to raise awareness of syringomyelia and chiari-like malformation in an easily accessible format. To join pet owners, breeders and dog lovers together. I wanted to unite together and support all breeds of dogs that have an interest in this neurological condition. I named the website for Lola because for the future health of the breeds it is Lola and others like her whose DNA is so vital and important to the genome research already underway. There appears to be so much negativity about pedigree dogs in the media particularly here in the UK. The genetic solution (and possible future DNA test) for this condition may be found in the CMSM MRI clear pedigree dogs like Lola that share our sofas and are lives. I think of myself, not just as an owner and occasional breeder of griffons but also as a custodian of the breed. The health and well being of our beloved breeds are in our hands. I want to be part of a group who not only adore our canine companions but also work hard to ensure that the best efforts are made in canine health and wellbeing to benefit our dogs now and to offer the best possible health for the future generations of our chosen breeds.

The aim of the friends of Lola fund is to raise money to help support the canine chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia research. The fund provides free MRI scans for dogs like Lola who can help in the search for the canine CMSM DNA genes. The friends of Lola fund is set up to support those owners whose dogs may be suitable for the genome research. The only way to determine if a dog is SM and CM free at this present time is through a MRI scan. This can be a costly procedure and I felt that if owners are prepared to help with this vital piece of genome research then they should be supported through the fund. The fund pays for the cost of a MRI and for the cost of the valuable DNA to be forwarded to the Canadian team working on the genome research. This is being achieved through uniting together and involving dog lovers, veterinarian’s and researchers in this country and abroad. So far it has raised keen interest and we have a number of owners whose dogs meet the criteria for the MRI scan. We have already scanned three dogs including a now 13 year old show champion who is CMSM free.

A year on from the start of my journey I remain positive and proactive. I have made many, many friends and just a few enemies. The contact with many dog owners, breeders, veterinarians, researchers and dog lovers who are also on their own syringomyelia journey as been comforting, rewarding and extremely valuable to my understanding of the condition. For those whose syringomyelia journeys are at times heartbreaking, at times frustrating and at times can bring a tear and a smile in moments, I am wishing for strength and fortitude. I sign off from this blog by sending love and hugs to all those involved in this battle with this awful neurological condition.

Rachael Harvey

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