Trooper's Story

CH Tamarin Trooper was  born on 08/06/2003 and died an early death on 10/04/2011.


Trooper was purchased as a “show dog” from Tamarin Affenpinschers and for the first few years of his life he was an amazing little show dog. He loved showing; he just turned on the charm and his tail wagged nonstop when he was in the Show Ring. Trooper received his championship and then retired to a cushy life style.




Trooper was the most amazing and loving dog. He loved car rides and trips to the store. Most of all, he loved EVERY person and EVERY dog he ever met. He was a show stopper even outside the ring.




When trooper was about 3 years old, his behavior completely changed. He seemed to be in pain and stopped liking people. He started growling and always seemed to have a tight stomach and/or a tense back. He had a major mood change; he went from a happy go lucky dog to growling at everyone for no reason and became a very grumpy unhappy dog that did not want to be touched. He also constantly licked the air which may have been mini seizures. Click here to watch a video. He was taken to numerous veterinarians over a three year span in efforts to find out what was wrong with him and why he changed. Thousands of dollars were spent, but Trooper was continually misdiagnosed. Every doctor had a different diagnosis; bad knees, bad back, slipped disk, food allergies, food blockage, but all of them were wrong (he did have surgery for slipping stifles, but that was unrelated health problem that didn't solve his strange behavior and/or pain).


In June of 2009, Trooper was acting very strange and seemed drunk and within minutes he could not stand on his own and started seizing. His front two legs extended straight out and went completely rigid. He was rushed to the Emergency Neurological Center in Irvine, CA.


Trooper was seen by Dr. Wayne Berry, who specializes in neurosurgery of the spinal cord and brain. Dr. Berry immediately recognized his condition as Syringomyelia (SM).


Trooper had an MRI and was diagnosed with SM with an “F” grade. Click here to see his Medical Records.


Trooper needed a procedure called a cranioplasty decompresses of the foramen magnum.  He was taken into surgery the next day and a titanium mesh was surgically placed at the back of Trooper’s skull to make room for his bulging brain.


If Trooper had been originally diagnosed properly, it may have saved him from all the years of pain, the massive surgery and an early death.  




After a very costly surgery and numerous medications with round the clock care for months, trooper semi-recovered and lived for an addition 28 months from the date of diagnosis/surgery, but Trooper died this last October (2011). I appreciated every extra day I was able to spend with him, but I would not recommend the surgery. The doctor said he wasn't in pain, but his quality of life was not great. I called him my "special needs dog" as he needed so much extra care. He was so pampered and loved every day. On his good days, he really turned on the charm and so many people adored him. He is missed by many. It was a devastating loss!


I do not blame the several veterinarians who misdiagnosed Trooper as this is disease is only now becoming more recognized. But, I do think it is a travesty that Trooper’s breeder refuses to accept this disease is in any of her bloodlines and continues to breed without testing. It is a PROVEN fact that Trooper had SM and still the breeder ignores the disease.

I love the Affenpinscher breed, as they are the most amazing little creatures. I won’t let this stop me from continuing to own this breed.


This is a genetic disorder that is inherited and is not caused by any accident or illnesses. The only way to STOP this disease is with Researching Affected Bloodlines, Scanning, Knowledge, Communication, AND Responsible Breeders taking Responsive Action.  I personally, am not sure if every breeding Affen should be MRI scanned, BUT I understand why some people think they should. I am not a Neurological Vet nor a breeder, but I know for a fact that the disease is out there and many of the breeders aren’t doing enough about it. I wish there was an easier way to determine which dogs have it and which do not. I pray with the knowledge out there it can be stamped out as soon as possible.



Since Affenpinschers are a rare breed, especially here in the United States, I hope breeders and potential owners take advantage of the extensive research and studies already done by the Cavalier world. There is extensive information regarding this disease on the internet. Click on OR OR do your own search of "Syringomyelia".


Do not think your dog is immune because you bought from a "show dog" breeder as this is a relatively unknown condition that is becoming increasingly more prevalent.  Several experts believe the disease is more widespread in the Affenpinscher and several other small breeds and is merely misdiagnosed.


I am sad to say Trooper is NOT an anomaly... Since I started this journey in 2009, I found several other Affens diagnosed with Grade "D" SM with similar bloodlines as Trooper. I have also received numerous communications from breeders and pet owners with similar stories or symptoms of SM. Click Here to see Otis' Story.



Trooper’s medical records, MRI scans and DNA were sent to Dr. Clare Rusbridge of the Stone Lion Veterinary in London for the most recent genome scan. This research benefits other dogs and even humans suffering with the disease. I believe Trooper can make a difference.


Feel free to contact me with any questions. Tamarin Trooper’s medical records are available to anyone upon request. Click here to see Trooper's Pedigree (bloodline). I hope this information will be helpful to other owners and to breeders.


My goal is to save a dog and an owner from this horrendously painful situation. If you think your dog is showing signs of this disease...DO REASERCH, FIND A SPECIALIST IN YOUR AREA, AND GET TREATMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.


Trooper was an amazing dog and he will be missed by many, especially me. PATRESE FINN