View Full Version : Petrified it's SM

14th September 2007, 11:08 PM
My lil 4 month old is displaying symptoms I never saw in my other cavs.
1. Scratching at both ears quite often.
2. Scratching and biting at both her sides, sometimes - but not often to the point of pain.
The scratching happens quite a few times per day, I have an older dog of another breed who isn't scratching.
3. Discomfort when sleeping, ever so small moans/groans when she turns/moves.
4. She can't be stroked along her back without her back legs making scratching movements.

Concerned, I took her to the vet yesterday. He examined her and concluded the scratching was a normal puppy thing, her discomfort is her personality and the scratching movements are a scratch reflex. Well initially I was reassured but after reading more info on SM I am very worried and very disappointed at my vets advice :swear:. Also, her ears smell a little, nothing too offensive but again a symptom my other cavs never had, the vet said they were fine. Please........ your advice is soo welcome :(.

Cathy Moon
15th September 2007, 12:37 AM
My tricolor girl had dry, itchy skin when she was that age. She outgrew it, but the vet prescribed 3V Caps skin formula for small breeds.

Do her ears look clean? If they have a brown, waxy substance, or if they look pink or swollen inside then I would get a second opinion. Could the vet check her skin for mites or rabbit mites?

If you doubt the vet, it wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion.

And print some SM information to take to the vets with you.:flwr::flwr::flwr:

16th September 2007, 06:36 PM
Thanks for the reply Cathy. Her ears are clean, no wax and not inflamed. I am going to get a 2nd opinion from our usual vet and take print offs about SM with me. :xfngr: I've only just discovered where the 'Library' is - don't know how I missed that one? :confused: I'd been relying on my 'search' results for info until about 5 mins ago.

16th September 2007, 07:10 PM
First off you have a ways to go in checking out possibilities before you should be concerned about SM. :thmbsup: The scratching could be many, many things at this age. The noises at night may just be normal puppy dream noises. The reflex scratching may simply be a mild reflex or may be something to look into more throughly.

Ears normally smell faintly earlike, if that makes sense -- they do normally have wax for example and an ear smell as a result. If they are infected they can get a yeasty or stinky smell. If the vet has eliminated ear mites, infections etc then you will want to move on to check for other things.

I keep lots of information on my SM information site here:
www.smcavalier.com (http://www.smcavalier.com)

You will find the Is This SM? document most helpful right now I think and that is where you can print out Clare Rusbridge's information documents as well. Also the Symtpoms document goes into more detail on what to watch out for.

The site also lists neurologists in the regions in the UK who are familiar with SM and there are some lower cost screening clinics as well if your vet feels you need to go in this direction.

The site also has some videos of affected cavaliers which may help you weigh up the kind of scratching you are seeing. Puppies do get mites, fleas, excema and various things that make them scratch. At the same time many vets are simply unfamiliar with SM and will not consider it as a possibility -- and there is a high level of affectedness in the breed, whether or not a dog is actually symptomatic -- so vets do need to be informed about this condition in this breed. Giving yours the background information is a great idea to raise awareness.

Finally if you do find this is SM it isn't the end of the world, for you or your cavalier. :flwr: There are many degrees of affectedness, a range of options for alleviating discomfort, and many of us live with affected cavaliers -- two of my three have SM. Only in rare cases is it really severe. It can pose challenges and be distressing at times (as does MVD to a far greater number of cavalier owners!) but in most cases dogs can live a mostly comfortable life and even many of the more severe cases, with either surgery or medications, live to age 9 or 10 (cavalier average lifespan), according to Clare Rusbridge, the leading expert on the condition.

16th September 2007, 11:02 PM
hav u found what feels lik tiny scabs anywhere on her? bonnie was doing d same-scratching a lot nd especially her ears nd nibbling at her feet. she would half scratch when any1 was stroking her back as well. 2 weeks ago i found what felt like little scabs in her 'armpits' so i took her round 2 d vet nd he said she has hypersensitive skin?? nd that d scabs were blocked follicles. her skin was v pink nd inflammed. he gave her a course of tablets nd a shampoo. d follicles hav cleared up nd altho she's still scratching-it's not near as much nd she appears 2 b a lot more comfortable.

don't know if that helps!

9th October 2007, 02:05 PM
Thanks everyone for the responses :), I apreciate you taking the time to advise. A few weeks on, a frontline treatment and a change from JWB turkey to JWB duck has had a dramatic reduction an the amount of scratching :).

9th October 2007, 02:44 PM
That's great news! :) I'm glad you can relax now and you have a less itchy puppy. :)