View Full Version : Molly has SM :(

Molly's mom
10th January 2007, 12:39 AM
Just now got back from a long trip to Pittsburgh for Molly's MRI. Not good news, i'm not suprised, just not what I was hoping for.

She does have SM but I will have to wait for the radiologist report to be sent to my vet and then we will have a consult with a neurologist. So right now I don't know to what extent or what the next step will be. My head is just swimming.

Fortunately Molly's only symptoms to this point have been mild scratching with no outward signs of pain so hopefully it will stay at this stage for awhile.

My husband thought I was crazy and my vet thought we should wait and see if it gets worse, but I knew in my heart of hearts that it was more than just itchy skin.

Thanks to everyone on this board willing to share and educate. Without all of you Molly may have been allowed to suffer without getting the proper treatment. Thank you.

10th January 2007, 12:56 AM
I'm sorry you got this result and it does take a while to think it all through and consider options.

Let us know the radiologist's report when you get it. There is every chance that she will spend her entire, happy life doing little more than scratch. Did they suggest you put her onto anything? If the scratching is mild you might try Tagamet in dilution, or frusemide (in consultation with a neurologist/vet of course). Frusemide has more side effects and tagamet in dilute solution is supposed to have much the same ability to relieve some CSF pressure. I have just started using it here more as an addition to try and keep Leo stable. He is on neurontin for scratching.

It may or may not make you feel any better but keep in mind that almost ALL cavaliers when MRId will come back with the Chiari-like malformation and up to 70% of research samples of random cavaliers have also had SM (existing syrinxes). The smallest number I've seen in a sample was just under 40%, in the NCSU sample that included a lot of younger dogs. Almost all had the malformation.

So the key thing will be whether it progresses and becomes more symptomatic -- that will likely steer your decisions. Mild scratching is generally very manageable. Leo has gone from having no outward symptoms at all at age 1 to needing neurontin for scratching by age 3 but other than that has no other signs. It seems hard but you DO learn to live with it just like living with any chronic illness in a family member -- it is there in the background but you have to remind yourself not to waste time and energy worrying about what may never happen. Save the energy for in case you do need to start doing things.

I like to stay on top of the latest thinking and treatments to have as many opinions and options available. But I have learned not to see Leo as an SM dog but as a dog. :flwr: We deal with any new issues as we come to them.

Cathy T
10th January 2007, 01:27 AM
So sorry...but am so glad you have this resource to come to. The info Karlin and others has put together is absolutely invaluable!! I'm relieved to know her only symptom is mild scratching. Hopefully it can be controlled and she continue on as a happy girl. Hang in there....good thing you trust you gut instinct though...us moms just seem to know don't we? I always trust my intuition. Better than sticking your head in the sand and pretending there is nothing. You can now manage her disease and keep her comfortable.

Molly's mom
10th January 2007, 02:45 AM
Thank you both for the words of encouragement. I appreciate it so much. I will update you as soon as I have more info.

Question in the mean time....Molly weighs 14lbs. I have a harness but if I were to look into getting a puppia, what size should I get? Thanks in advance.


Proud to be Molly's Mom, Bev

Cathy T
10th January 2007, 03:22 AM
Jake at 24 lbs and Shelby at 19 lbs both wear a large more because of their head size. A medium wouldn't fit over their heads.

10th January 2007, 03:32 AM
So Sorry to hear this. I am suspecting that my Lily has SM as well, and like your vet and hubby, my vet and hubby have the same thoughts as yours. Lily's only symptom at this time is scratching and nipping at her backside and paws, ocassionally. I thought she had additional symptoms, which have now stopped, so it may have been puppy behavior, she is only 4.5 mos. old. How old is your Molly?

I would get a medium. Lily has a medium and she is 11.7 pounds at the vet on last Monday. She still has plenty of room to grow. I will also tell you that since I hot the puppia, I noticed a lot less scratching, it could be coincedence or that the puppia has taken pressure off of her neck if she does have SM.

Wishing you and Molly well, and :hug: from Lily and I.

10th January 2007, 05:45 AM
Awww...sorry 'bout the test results. But now you can research all the options, rather than getting the diagnosis late and not having many choices.

Both my pups wear a medium puppia. They're built differently, but both weigh around 15 pounds. 9 mos. and 16 mos.

10th January 2007, 09:39 AM
So sorry to read this... :(

when you receive the report you will know much more and can start a treatment plan for little Molly.

Please let her breeder know.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

10th January 2007, 06:49 PM
So sorry to hear that Molly is affected as well :( Whatever you do, don't panic. I now have two dogs with SM and I honestly think that the not knowing was worse than the knowing, if you get my meaning.

As soon as your Neurologist has seen the report then you will be able to start treatment of some kind and hopefully will notice a great improvement.

I agree with Karlin about the Frusemide/Tagamet combo it has really helped Maxx but has done nothing for Charlie (I tried it before formal diagnosis - with the agreement of my Vet). I think he obviously needs something stronger. We will find out after the next scan.....

Good luck with the neuro appointment and if you don't understand what they are saying to you then tell them so and ask them to explain everything in simple terms of what it means and what it will lead to or how it can be treated.

Also, as Alison has said, please inform her breeder if you know who he/she is.

10th January 2007, 08:01 PM
I'm really sorry to hear this. I agree with Maxx's mom, not knowing is worse. Now that we know, we can deal with it. Abbey was diagnosed via MRI with COSM, she doesn't have any syrinxes, but her ocipital bone is malformed just enough where it's causing her fluid to flow off enough to cause symptoms--face rubbing, neck scratching, etc. She's managed on Gabopentin, and we're just taking it one day at a time. My advise, learn all you can to make her most comfortable. :flwr:

Molly's mom
10th January 2007, 08:31 PM
:( I just got a call from my vet who just received the radiology report. All I know right now is that Molly is considered moderate to severely affected. The closest neurologist is in Virginia and they are overnighting him the MRI/report and get his recommendation. Does anyone know if they even do surgery in the US for this?

Because she has such few symptoms, I really didn't expect to hear moderate to severe. I should have the neurologists report by Friday afternoon if not earlier.

Molly is just shy of 20 months and I did email the breeder that I bought her from to inform him.

Thanks again for all of your kind words.

10th January 2007, 08:59 PM
Lots of places do the decompression surgery in the US. I'll look into some more info for you and PM you later on. However the single best place to go for the surgery is LIVS: www.livs.org. They have a very high success rate with the form of surgery they are doing.

10th January 2007, 10:09 PM
I'm so sorry to hear your Molly has SM. :( That's really good that her symptoms are so mild. Rory has severe SM and malformation, but mild symptoms as well and was diagnosed at 20 months, too. This, combined with the rapid progression, made him an excellent canidate for surgery. I had it done in Tacoma, WA by Dr. Harrington - who is excellent. I've heard good things about Dr. Dewey at LIVS, too. I'd recommend talking to as many neurologists as you can and going to whoever you feel most confident with if you do decide to pursue surgery. I spoke with more than 5 neurologists before deciding to pursue surgery for Rory.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I'd be happy to talk with you more about why I decided to pursue surgery, etc. Everyone has different opinions and decisions about SM and treatment is a very personal choice.

Hugs to you and your Molly!!

Molly's mom
16th January 2007, 02:11 AM

Molly is scheduled to have decompression surgery on Feb 21, by Dr. Dewey at Cornell University. It is thought that since she is young, and at this point has little neurological deficit, she is a good candidate for surgery. Dr. Dewey uses a titanium mesh skull plate and screws to avoid any scar tissue growth. I am greatful that Dr. Dewey is now at Cornell, as it is only 4 hours away from me.

In the mean time she is taking 50mg of gabapentin, 3x a day. Any tips on how to "hide" the powder?

16th January 2007, 03:11 AM
Just sent you an email. I'm so glad you've come to a decision. I know that wavering over the decision to pursue surgery or not was the hardest part of this whole thing. I'm sure you'll feel some relief now that you have a plan and know what you need/want to do.

Rory is on 100mg two to three times a day, so I don't have to split the pill. He also thinks they're candy (shhh, don't tell!!) so it's quite easy to give them to him. Maybe you can convince Molly they're treats, too!!! Have her do a sit, etc. and make them look supppppppppper yummy.... Or maybe Rory's just "Special". lol!

Cathy T
16th January 2007, 04:43 AM
Wow. Well, I'm glad you've made a decision and can now move forward. I just look at how well Rory has done and he gives me hope for the future. Glad also you've found someone you trust. Please know I'll be thinking about you and praying for the best possible outcome.

16th January 2007, 05:08 AM
Bev - I looked up the threads from last year on Rory's diagnosis and surgery. Like I said, we had a little relapse at Christmas due to over exertion, I think. Emphasizing the importance of restricted activity. Better 8 weeks of boredom followed by a lifetime of running and playing rather than ever seeing your baby scream.... ;) Thankfully he recovered and is doing fantastic now. :)




1.5 weeks post-op, scratching again:

Dec 29th, relapse:

6 months post op, doing great!!

7 month re-check:

1 year post-op:

16th January 2007, 06:00 PM
I was really impressed hearing Dr Marino talk about this procedure and you are in great hands at LIVS.

I used to split Leo's pills and just divided them carefully using a thin piece of card, like a business card, then I worked the pwder for each dose into a bit of meat paste or soft cheese. Or just put it directly in wet food meals. he ate it right down, no problem.

17th January 2007, 02:51 AM
I'm sorry to hear that Molly has SM and do hope that her surgery goes well.

:flwr: :flwr: :flwr: :flwr: :flwr: