View Full Version : Question about Chesters Video

19th January 2007, 10:58 PM
Today I braved myself to watch the videos. First it is hard to watch the servere case but at the same time, an informed owner it good. Karlin does a great job informing people.

My question is while watching the less severe video of Chester, I saw so much of my lab in it. Could a lab had this? She was in no way as bad as Chester and I never heard her yelp but she did have one side that when brushed her back leg frantically scratched her tummy. Pull brush away stop, start again, the scratching started again. She also always rubbed up against couches and beds (I blocked off the living rm for 15 yrs as I had a white couch in there). She often rubbed her head up and down the fence, lawn and rug.
I am just curious because looking at Chester was like watching our lab - minus yelping or difficulty when walking.

19th January 2007, 11:21 PM
It hasn't been reported in labs as a congenital problem but can happen in any breed due to a head impact for example. But most dogs will scratch to one side when rubbed on the belly etc -- what Ellen, who owns Chester, was also demonstrating was the level of numbness he had on his affected side as well and the other problems that went along with the scracthing -- his stumbling on his affected side, the scratching episodes when sitting or standing, not just when brushing him out.

Lots of dogs also rub their heads and rub along furniture -- Jaspar does this for example and he is totally clear of both malformation and SM. It's the degree to which they do this, and if it happens in conjunction with other signs that are distinctive, of pain etc.

My friends with other breeds *never* noticed Leo scratched abnormally. But after a while you could see the contrast with Jaspar very clearly, if you saw them together all the time. Leo doesn;t scratch excessively to the point of taking out hair now but he still scratches far, far more than Jaspar, and always first thing in the morning for some long sessions. Pain is the real sign you are always watching for. Leo seems not to have much -- mostly the discomfort or milder pain that brings on the scratching, and he takes medication for this. But the pain can go up a scale to being as severe as the dog in the video, which was pts shortly after that video.

20th January 2007, 12:27 AM
thanks I guess the symptoms can appear like a lot of similar problems to someone who has only seen SM in in the video. Probably what made me think this was she didnt just scratch when brushing she often went nuts scratching and that was on my mind to. But i was also told it was allergies as labs are prone and she did have hotspots and chew at them - it just looked the same.

It was also the legs in the pic by the front door. but now that I think about, again that can be explained by the fact in her last 3 yrs her hind end lost control so she propped herself up by her front and then they slide down and she'd struggle to get upright again. Mostly I think it just reminded me of her!

I am glad (but sad) the other dog was put down shortly after. I know how hard that is from putting my lab down in Oct - she too had moments like that dog where she was in pain from aging problems in her hind muscles. But just like that dog, there were inbetween times she was happily wagging her tail. My time came to0, to realize the bad were taking over the good far too often.

20th January 2007, 01:10 AM
It's always a very hard decision to let go of a companion who you've loved. :flwr:

One of the difficult things about SM is that many of the symptoms are similar to other problems. It is likely that symptoms WILL be from other things -- even in many SM-affected cavaliers. For example allergies, fleas, mites, ear infections would be a more likely causes of scratching than SM even in most dogs that have SM as certainly, 30% plus are not scratching as Leo scratches, much less the way many more severely affected dogs scratch. That's why one of the pages on the SM website explains how to go about eliminating other possible problems before getting overly concerned about SM. :) Many dogs clearly live with very mild cases and never show any outward symptoms.

But the similarity in symptoms is also why so many cavaliers keep being misdiagnosed. That's why many now try hard to raise awareness about this condition, because some dogs can suffer a long, long time before getting the right diagnosis and the help they need. It would help if there were an easier, cheaper diagnostic tool than an MRI. This is part of what researchers are looking for -- a cheaper alternative that won't require anaesthesia. :thmbsup:

20th January 2007, 02:53 AM
Well I for one appaude your efforts. I went through this section but more briefly before I made the choice to get my first cavalier. If you dont know before, you panic and have anger for not being aware and that clouds your thinking at a time you need to be focused on care (or at least that is how I would have reacted).

I have found 2 vets that I like but unfortunately I have not found one with more than 2 or 3 cavaliers. So I am choosing one I know will take the time to go through the information with me if needed - its the best Ican do at this point.

But, I've waited 3 mths for this puppy and I only have 6 days to go! So next wk will be about less serious thinking. I will have to spend more time in these sections later though. Thanks again

20th January 2007, 01:28 PM
I don;t think a vet really needs to know a lot about cavaliers as long as they are aware and/or willing to be told about some of the breed specific health issues. For a flip side perspective, my vets, like any in Ireland or the UK, will have had many hundreds of CKCS clients over the years as they are among the most popular small breeds and have been for decades. But they had never heard of SM and many remain unaware of the large platelet issue.

My vets however have been very interested in all aspects of Sm and last week my vet was telling me how when I first came to them two years ago with Leo's diagnosis, they'd never heard of SM in cavaliers; since then there have been a couple of seminars and it is now part of the teaching approach at the vet schools here because more papers have been published and so on (there's currenty an article on it in the Irish Veterinary Journal I believe). They also have identified other cavaliers who have MRId with SM on the basis of me going through the signs with them and so forth -- when I came in with Leo's MRIs all the vets on duty came in to view them and hear about symptoms. The fact that they took me seriously and cared to learn more said everything about why I go to them and refer new cavalier owners to them. :) At the same time, they cautiously go through all the other possibilities for symptoms before referring clients for an MRI. :thmbsup: That's a really open and responsible approach.

20th January 2007, 05:54 PM
I don;t think a vet really needs to know a lot about cavaliers as long as they are aware and/or willing to be told about some of the breed specific health issues. .

You have no idea how much that sentence relieved anxiety!! REALLY! It makes sense for here (Canada) where each vet maybe has 1 or 2 Cavs to be unaware of SM but it stunned me a bit that in the U.K where Cavs are so popular that its still not known. Each Cav owner here, should be printing at least one article for their vets with the link should they want to investigate more to promote this - I know I am going to!

I have been on a hunt for over a mth. I really respect a vet we found for my daughter (who surprised me one day while she was away at university with the news she got an American Fuzzy Lopped Ear Dwarf rabbit :yikes ). So I hunted down a vet that specializes in rabbits as I didnt want a dog vet. She also has 2 Cav owners (no health problems yet for them but mostly she specializes in vet practices for exotic animals - she is often sought out by other vets who only deal with dog/cats. I have spoken with her and she is so patient and interested and cautious about looking things through.

The other choice was a vet with 2 Cavalier breeders and a past long time Cav breeder who is quite known through-out Ontario. He is passionate about his practice but I found him very very set on some issues - not the sort to listen or present options (he insisted small dogs dont react more to Leptro vaccine than large - research to me proves otherwise - it bothered me he was so unapproachable on the topic). She on the other hand would be more than willing to look over your great SM articles etc and would be keenly interested in research.

Whoot! One less thing on my mind with... countdown 6 days to go :flwr: