View Full Version : Fly catcher syndrome

14th September 2006, 04:17 PM
My Charlie (7mth) has Fly catcher syndrome , does this mean he has Syringomyelia ? I have read that most dogs with 'fly catcher syndrome' have Syringomyelia. He has no other symptoms. I have spoken with the vet and she said that with clicker training we could stop him 'fly catching'.
Please help.

Cathy T
14th September 2006, 04:25 PM
Here is a link that tells a bit about fly catcher's syndrome


. I know someone who has a fly catcher Cavalier and she is on medication. She is doing quite well considering the seriousness of her condition. I'm sure someone with more knowledge can pop in and tell you more.

14th September 2006, 04:26 PM
Cathy ... the link is not working for me ... :?

Cathy T
14th September 2006, 04:35 PM
Okay, try it again, I think I fixed it.

14th September 2006, 04:55 PM
it does work now & looks like a great site. Lots of good information. Thanks!

14th September 2006, 05:05 PM
Here is a link that tells a bit about fly catcher's syndrome


. I know someone who has a fly catcher Cavalier and she is on medication. She is doing quite well considering the seriousness of her condition. I'm sure someone with more knowledge can pop in and tell you more.
Thank you for the link, I had already read it.

Not sure what to do, the vet has said to try 'clicker training' him to stop the fly catching. She said she doesn't want to try drugs on a young dog at this time.

14th September 2006, 05:22 PM
Flycatchers is sometimes associated with SM but it is also a condition in its own right that isn't very well understood. It is also associated with some other conditions.

Some vets and neurologist consider flycatching an obsessive compulsive behaviour (like tailchasing) and refocusing the dog's attention on something else can help. Maybe that's what you vet means when suggesting clicker training -- to teach the dog some obedience training using a clicker. I'd ask for more information from your vet on why clicker training is being recommended and what its purpose is. Usuallly you'd go take a class somewhere in it.

Flycatchers can be moderate to severe. Quite a few cavaliers seem to have this behaviour. Whether that is because it is related to the incidence of SM in the breed or not is not really known.

I'd treat it as a behavioural issue to work on if you don't have any reason to think it is due to anything else.

15th September 2006, 08:43 AM

Normally there are some flys but then she does it for hours on end when we are at the beach and realistically there is not always flies

do you think she has it??

15th September 2006, 11:35 AM
To all of you that have concerns about fly catching and SM the only way you will get a better idea to what is really going on is from seeing a specialist neuro vet with a possible MRI. Ask your vets to send you to one.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

15th September 2006, 11:52 AM
What if they are really trying to chase a moth or daddy long legs.... should I be worried - all my lot do it.

15th September 2006, 12:33 PM
All my dogs chase real flies, bugs etc! ugh! ...

but fly catching is when there is just nothing there, repeated licking into the air and sometimes as high as their nose with heads tipped right back, you would be able to se the difference clearly, the eyes can roll and they can be quite "trance" like....miles away.

If it's just real flies and moths then I guess they are just playing!

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

15th September 2006, 12:40 PM
Cheers Alison....had me worried then.... icon_whistling

15th September 2006, 03:28 PM
Jen 114, My sadie does this sometimes too. I think in her case she is trying to catch little specks of dust that she sees in the light. I'm not sure maybe someone more knowlegeable (sp?) will correct me, but I think with flycatchers they are not so much as biting at invisable things, but just licking the air.
I worried about Sadie too until I realized that she only does it when the sun is streaming in the windows and occasionally outside. I think she may see little gnats or something that I dont see.

15th September 2006, 03:41 PM
Our back garden is infested with horseflys and the dogs have been chasing them and eating them for the last two weeks :yuk:

15th September 2006, 06:07 PM
Fly catching as we are talking about here normally has the dog sitting stationary and not moving, running around...it is totally different from the action of "real fly catching" or playing with bugs.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

15th September 2006, 09:39 PM
Just had to share - Merlin saved mummy from a nasty daddy long legs last friday - I showed it him and said " Merlin get the daddy log legs for mum" - he kept pouncing on it and then gobbled it down (nice!) and then looked at me as if to say "I killed it for you mummy!"

He was so sweet, protecting his mum!

16th September 2006, 12:28 AM
:oops: I've done this too. I hate killing the spiders myself, so I get Holly to do it for me. She's always so obliging! Then again, I reckon it gives the spiders a fighting chance- they can run. they're more likely to get nobbled if I go after them with a newspaper!

16th September 2006, 06:44 AM
Someone above mentioned that fly catching syndrome is also associated with other disorders/diseases. One of those is distemper.

I have not a doubt in my mind that every single person on this site has had their dogs vaccinated, so distemper isn't going the be the cause.

Almost 30 years ago I got a puppy from a friend. I just loved that little boy, his name was Ben. I really didn't know anything about vaccinations, etc for dogs. Only about a week after I had Ben, he became ill. I took him to the vet and the vet diagnosed distemper. He said that there was little chance of survival, but that they were experiminting with IV doses of Vitamin C and other medications.

I took Ben to the vet every day for treatment for about a week. The vet advised me that if the treatment wasn't working, Ben would develop brain damage and might hallucinate. That would be a condition called, and I can only give this to you phoneticly, Corea. pronounced like the country, Korea. On about the 7th day, Ben was sitting on the couch, and he suddenly began going crazy, biting at the air in a frenzy. He was totally biting at flies that were not there.

I rushed him back to the vet, and the vet said that it was Corea, and that there was no chance for survival at that point. So Ben was put to sleep.

I can still feel the pain. Ben was only about 3 months old.

So, tho I know every Cav has been vaccinated, this is just a reminder of how serious those vaccinations are.