Ruca, I would be very interested in knowing your dog’s pedigree. Since you can’t send PMs yet, please e-mail it to me at email@example.com .
Molly is now five years old. Her diagnosis of CMO came from one of the leading Vet school/hospitals in the country, Tufts, by someone who not only was an orthopedist, but specialized in young dog bone diseases. The diagnosis was made after multiple x-ray studies, bone biopsies, and CT scan. She had multiple “lesions” of abnormal bone growth in her jaw and skull. Her diagnosis cost thousands of dollars. We were not offered blood tests, and I’d be very interested in knowing if the blood work they’re doing on your dog is to confirm CMO, or to rule out other diseases to allow a diagnosis of CMO through exclusion. I know the Terrier breeds affected by CMO were working on genetic testing when I first started researching the disease.
We were first told that there was a specific lesion in her skull expected to fuse her jaw shut, and they tried to prepare us to plan on having to put her down. She proved them wrong. Next, we were told that with her deformed jaw and head she would most likely never be able to pick and retrieve birds, and I might want to consider finding her a pet home. She proved them wrong there, too. Molly was on double the normal dose of Rimadyl until her bone growth ended.
Molly is now healthy, but there are residual effects of the CMO. I think she has been left with more deformities than most other CMO survivors I’ve heard about. Her jaw is still deformed, and she is undershot. Who knows if she would have been undershot anyways, or if it’s related to the deformed lower jaw?
Her tail always felt cool to me, but my vet at that time wasn’t concerned, because as she said… it worked fine! But three days before Paul and I were married at the end of 2009, she got a simple case of “cold tail” after a hunting trip. Thankfully the dogs came with us on our honeymoon, because within a few days instead of recovering from cold tail like any other dog, she started constant licking at hers part way down the tail. We found an emergency vet who told us that it appeared the circulation was being cut off in her tail. Even though I spent a couple of days keeping a heating pad on it while she was on meds for the inflammation and the pain, as the vet had warned us might happen, the tail below the sore spot withered to a stick and literally fell off on chunks over an afternoon. We got her home where our vet had to dock the remaining stub back to only inches. We call her our Dobrador, and she looks far more like a black Doberman than a Lab! The expert at Tufts later said that she most likely had deformities in her tail bones related to her bone disease which had affected the circulation in her tail with the additional swelling from cold tail, but it only could have been confirmed by x-rays which had not been taken.
Molly can be slow to sit, and usually prefers to stand or lie down. When sitting, she often wiggles down into it. It’s obvious enough that we’ve had judges comment on it while she’s been running blinds. She’s yelped a time or two when I’ve pulled up on her underside to steady her while brushing her. We feel that there is a possibility that there are deformities in her spine, but we’ve chosen not to pursue it, because there’s probably nothing that could be done for it and there’s nothing we’d do differently.
Finally, Molly’s skull is a little weird The top is narrow, and the ridge is quite pronounced. While at a hunt test a year or so ago, Molly and I met someone who had experience with CMO in another retriever breed. She told me her affected bitch also had masticatory muscle myositis, and she had learned of other dogs affected by CMO that also were affected by MMM. After feeling Molly’s skull she questioned if Molly had been tested for that. I asked our vet on our next visit. He thought there was definitely a thinning of the muscles on her skull, but since they weren’t affecting the use of her jaw he saw no need to run tests to confirm that diagnosis.
Molly has been the hardest dog to train either my husband or I have ever known. Her progress was slow, and she could be STUBBORN! But as a friend commented early on, it was that stubbornness that kept her alive through her first year of life. While her training came slower than usual, once she decided to work with us, she has been very successful in hunt tests. She was four years old before she really started being a reliable team player. She earned her AKC JH, UKC SH, and NAHRA SHR without ever failing a test. She earned her UKC HR and AKC SH failing one test each. Paul completed her HRCH this year, going 4 for 5 this year to complete that title. Then in true Molly style, the day after she completed her HRCH, in the next Finished test she put her nose up on a cold blind, got a wiff of the flyer station, and attempted to blow Paul off when he stopped her. He thanked the judges, walked out and roped her. It was a good teachable moment for Molly! LOL!
Molly may be our funniest looking dog, and she lacks “social skills” on occasion as she bowls over dogs in her exuberance, and she often earns her nickname of Monster Molly, but neither of us have ever had a dog who has loved us more. She is totally devoted to us. She goes to the door an hour before Paul gets home and just lies there waiting for Dad. She is often a velcro dog, under foot or leaning too hard into me and almost knocking me over like Baby Huey. But if I need to steady myself over uneven terrain, Molly will come to me and patiently let me steady myself on her. While she’s been known to need e-collar corrections to keep her from bowling over our smaller Tollers on walks, when our old Toller became pretty much deaf in her last year and would wander off on walks, I could send Molly off in her direction with “Find Annie”, and she’d set off at a run, finding her and guiding her back to us.