View Full Version : Help needed from fellow members!

Molly's mom
7th September 2006, 05:19 AM
Let me preface my plea by letting you all know that not only am I new to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel world, but I have never owned a dog before either so everything is new to me.

When I got Molly I knew the MVD was a real possibility, I had never head of SM until I joined this discussion board. I've just finished reading many of the posts as well as many of the reference articles and here is where I need some advice from fellow board members. I'm embarrassed to say that I am freaking out :shock:

So many of the symptoms are said to be possibly normal dog activities. At what point do you become alarmed?

Molly is 16 months old and occasionally she scratches (once a day, maybe?)

She has always had some tearing and occasionally rubs her face on the carpet or your lap.

The only tender area on her body is if someone tries to pick her up under her arms (armpit area)

She does scoot her butt on occasion but her anal glands have had to emptied a few times.

When she is overly excited (around large crowds)she will do the "Cavalier Snort" but does not snore or otherwise seem to have breathing problems.

I have read suggestions to others regarding keeping a diary which is a great idea. I would be greatful to hear from anyone elses experience as to what they think sends up a red flag. (i.e. what constitutes too much scratching etc.) or how much of this if any can be normal.

I am so sorry for this rambling and thank you for your patience. :thnx:

7th September 2006, 06:36 AM
You kno I'm rit there wit you....King is the first dog I've ever owned, but I'm not new to dogs at all...I've grown up around dogs all my life, just never owned one 'til now....My-self would get alarmed only if my kid was showing some of the symtoms all the time...Like King rubs his face on the carpet or the couch mostly just after getting his ears cleaned which is usually weekly...and I rarely see him do it other then that....He sometimes scoots on the floor but thats when I forget to get him glads flushed out :sl*p: well King is a big snorer so that sometimes worries me...but my vet says I have nothing to worry bout cuz his breathing sounds normal, and I'm ok wit a lil snoring...and personaly I would try to find a specialist on SM and get their opinion on everything...

7th September 2006, 10:49 AM
A lot of the things you are mentioning would never be considered symptoms (eg the snort, or tearing) and others are only of concern if behaviour is excessive. Almost every cavalier does some face rubbing, some scooting, scratching certainly.

Have a read of the symptoms list on my SM information site and I think you'll see you have very little to be concerned about regarding the things you have listed.

If she is uncomfortable under the arms is this because you are picking her up under the armns? Cavaliers are really too large to be lifted this way and it can be quite painful to them. The best way to pick them up is to scoop them up supporting them under the chest and their hind legs so they don;t dangle. :thmbsup:

SM site: http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/

Symptoms: http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/symptoms.html

Please have a look at the video of my dog Leo scratching and I think you will see that SM scratching is not normal scratching. Note that Leo only has moderate scratching problems so dogs can be far more badly affected to where they almost spin in circles on the floor trying to scratch. All dogs will scratch a few times a day and note that scratching can be caused by many things that are more likely to be making the dog uncomfortable than SM. (see the Is This SM? section on the site).

Because SM seems to be very widespread in the breed, it is important for cavalier owners to know what to watch for, just as with MVD -- but it is very rare for a dog to actually be uncomfortable enough to be symptomatic with SM.

7th September 2006, 04:07 PM
I'm glad you posted this. I was already familiar with MVD, and knew vaguely about SM- well, I did if that's what the books call 'fly catching syndrome', but since finding this forum I've taken to watching Holly almost paranoically for symptoms. She scratches several times a day, and sometimes for longish bouts, but I don't think her head twists over to the extent you can see on Leo in the vid, and it doesn't take much to make her stop. Once she stops she doesn't usually scratch again.

On the other hand, I think she has saliva spots on her paws- but to be honest, it could just as easily be a collection of darker hairs- she's a B&T!- and in fact I think that's what it is. She scooted on her bum last night for the first time in ages. She used to be a lot worse- used to chase her tail frantically as well, but that seems to have stopped as she's gotten older. The only thing is that when she's walking, she has a habit of whipping round in a circle. However, I notice this tends to happen if she's walking and she needs the loo, and if we take an unfamiliar route she doesn't do it at all- and NEVER when she's off the lead....

...so I'm torn between panic, confusion, and a feeling that it's really nothing to worry about...but all the same, when I get my puppy I'm taking both to the vet for a thorough check.

Molly's mom
7th September 2006, 05:08 PM
I never pick Molly up under the arms, but it seems like most people who want to pick her up instinctively do so :?

Thank you all for responding, I talked to Molly's vet this morning, and made her aware of high incident rates of SM being reported in Cavalier's.

Being in the US most vets have limited extensive knowledge of the breed, but as the popularity grows here so will their need to increase their research.

7th September 2006, 08:12 PM
... I talked to Molly's vet this morning, and made her aware of high incident rates of SM being reported in Cavalier's.

Being in the US most vets have limited extensive knowledge of the breed, but as the popularity grows here so will their need to increase their research.

Good for you! that's very important. You can also email her weblinks and fax or mail her documents or just print them and bring them with you next time you go. Vets are busy people and might not go out of their way to research everything they hear about, they have to pick and choose, but if they have the documents in their hands, they might like to read it over their morning coffee or something. that's my fantasy. :)

7th September 2006, 08:18 PM
If you bring info to a vet makes sure that the "source" is a reliable, professional, serious article. Many vets don't want lay people opinion. They want to see the papers written by experts. It will hold more sway. Sandy

8th September 2006, 01:44 AM
The only thing is that when she's walking, she has a habit of whipping round in a circle.

icon_blshing Cedar whips around like that when she passes gas and startles herself.

8th September 2006, 10:09 AM
The SM site is deisigned to let you download and print out key documents -- neurologist Dr Clare Rusbridge's information sheet on the condition, the treatment diagram (both of these any vet should find useful to file away), and the general symptoms sheet. It's a good idea for any cavalier owner to leave these sheets in with their vet as it may help other cavaliers if (hopefully!) not your own.

Vets can confirm when a behaviour is unusual so always talk to them first. There are many other things that can be bothering a dog that cause similar symptoms. so a vet is always the first stop.

Some are very distinct to SM though (though not every dog with Sm does any of these things) -- the air scratching, the dog curving itself into a C shape sometimes on walks or a neck curve (Scoliosis), and unexplained body pain and/or limb weakness (eg front or back legs that tremble or are generally weak). A neurologist can test many things in a clinical exam, such as leg strength, without having to do an MRI. So for anyone with some persistent symptoms that cannot be cured it is possibly worth getting an apointment with a neurologist.