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View Full Version : SM In Cavaliers - Lack of Knowledge



misty
18th October 2007, 12:13 AM
Our vets have a brand new computer system.

When you take your dog for a consultation, they print off lots of health info. for the breed. Listed are the most common health problems in the particular breed.

So, for Cavs they listed firstly MVD (fair enough), then eye problems, ear problems, diabetes and various other problems but NO MENTION AT ALL OF SM.

I asked the vet why Syringo wasn't mentioned - apparently it's mass-produced software for the veterinary business. She said that obviously the condition wasn't common enough in Cavaliers for it to be included in the software, although she acknowledged it was getting more common ????

Amazing, isn't it? :(

Celticharmony
18th October 2007, 12:26 AM
Pretty amazing considering the publicity the disease has been getting of late. So how early can this disease be detected? Can it be passed from as far back as Grandparents? When shall we know the outcome of the Symposium in UK? Sorry about all the Q's and just wondered if anyone knew the answers. It would be of huge help to me when discussing my future puppy's health with any prospective breeders. Thanks a lot.

Karlin
18th October 2007, 12:32 AM
I have plenty of background information as well as summaries of recent presentations on research here:

www.smcavalier.com

Fran, yes it is kind of depressing that there was no information there, but things are slowly changing.

I don't know if anyone is taking formal notes at Rugby, as I did at the last event -- I think the preferred idea was that people would submit questions they themselves would ask by attending. Instead as more questions were received now those extras will be asked by the question collectors -- but it makes it a lot harder to get answers back to people as I personally don't know who submitted what, for example, and I'll be doing some other things during that event besides taking notes for a formal write up. I don't know what arrangements have been or will be made.

Cathryn
18th October 2007, 12:54 AM
I agree! Most of what my own vet knows about SM is what I have personnally told him!! Incredible isn't it when your own vet is asking you for up to date info on a condition, OK rather flattering too! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Cathy Moon
18th October 2007, 03:25 AM
The database my vet subscribes to has SM info:
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2415&EVetID=3001496

But I notice the links at the bottom of the article do not include Karlin's SM website, which has the most information!! :confused:

Nicki
18th October 2007, 09:29 AM
oh that's such a shame Fran - it is essential for all vets to know about Syringomyelia.

WOuld your vet contact the manufacturer and explain that they need to upgrade this?


Other than missing such an important condition, this sounds an excellent idea.

blue_star
18th October 2007, 10:56 AM
I must admitt that it wasn't until I came on this site I had heard about SM and MVD. Having Toby so late in his life I didn't have the chance to do the normal 'research' I would before getting a puppy. Uncle James the vet is very clued up about SM as he has cavaliers of his own, although I'm not sure about the other vets at the practice.

Bet
18th October 2007, 11:41 AM
Ive put in a question to SM Symposium nexy week .

Guess what about !!!!!

Has the altering of Cavalier Heads in the early 80's ,any-thing to do with SM appearing about the same time in the Cavalier Breed .

Bet

Karlin
18th October 2007, 11:50 AM
Bet, I know you can't be there (a shame; it would ne nice to say hello) but I will be! So will listen for the answer. :) I've put in a similar question.

Bet
18th October 2007, 12:08 PM
Thanks Karlin ,

I know Ive got this bee in my bonnet about Cavaler Heads and SM ,but there are so many Cavalier Breeders at the moment saying how the Cavalier Heads do have an altered look from about 20 0r so years ago .

In the 60's and 70's the Crisdigs ,Pargeters, Maxholts ,to mention a few had stronger looking heads ,particularly the Cavalier Dogs ,but now-a- days ,even the Cavalier Dogs have ,what is now being termed The Pretty Look .

Bet

Celticharmony
18th October 2007, 08:46 PM
One would think he would consider it important to familiarise himself with the disease by reading literature dealing with it, or attending lectures or symposiums. How reassuring or confident will he be when faced with other owners who arrive at his surgery expecting answers rather than questions?

Cathryn
18th October 2007, 09:57 PM
One would think he would consider it important to familiarise himself with the disease by reading literature dealing with it, or attending lectures or symposiums. How reassuring or confident will he be when faced with other owners who arrive at his surgery expecting answers rather than questions?

This is where it gets difficult, I know for a fact that within my own veterinary surgeries practice which covers roughly a 100 mile radius they do NOT at the time of writing have any confirmed cases of Cavaliers with SM. I have given the senior partners as much info as possible and also as many internet links as possible including Karlin's own site and I know that my vet has been researching into this himself too.

Sadly I think sometimes with vets the old adage "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink" applies?? :confused: :rolleyes:

Karlin
18th October 2007, 11:31 PM
To be fair to vets: outside of the situation with cavaliers, they would likely never see a single case of syringomyelia in an entire working career. And cavaliers are only one breed of all the varieties of dogs they see, and dogs are only one of many animals the average vet will need to be able to treat. On top of that, outside of the UK and Ireland, cavaliers are not a common breed -- many if not most vet practices in the US have probably never had a cavalier client (though that is changing). So to expect vets to be familiar with SM is a very long shot -- they would no more be likely to be able to identify SM in a dog than your GP would be able to identify SM in a human -- there are just many, many other more obvious things that would cause the common symptoms of SM in them and in us. This is why it typically takes at least a year and a half and up to 6 for it to be diagnosed in affected cavaliers, according to Clare Rusbridge's research sample in a recent paper-- and that was the UK, where they are the most common toy breed in the country. SM is really a secialist area needing a specialist diagnosis. But a vet should eliminate all other options first as there are many.

There have been almost no seminars or symposia for vets to attend on this topic anywhere in the world. Unfortunately not too many have attended those in the UK that do exist. Fortunately in Ireland the Irish Vets Journals did a story on SM (I was going to write it but then one of the vets did, which made more sense!) about 10 months ago and that really raised general awareness amongst vets. But reading about it isn't the same as seeing cases. My own vets were very interested to learn more but I can say with a high degree of confidence that I (like most SM dog owners) would recognise a likely SM case a lot faster than my vets ever would. You get to know the typical behaviours and some of them are virtually unmistakeable. My dog owning friends would never, ever notice the symptoms -- they think my SM dogs' scratching is perfectly normal, for example. But from long experoience now I know excatly the quirks of that scratching that makes it NOT normal -- everything from the way they scratch to the frequency to the time when it is most likely to happen (often this is at night, when many owners and breeders do not have their dogs in the room sleeping right next to them in the bed to realise this is even happening. This was when I relised Leo was becoming symptomatic -- for months he only had noticeable, odd scratching in the middle of the night. He would wake me up several times nightly because he was next to me, scratching and scratching :( ). Also it happens first thing i the morning, and last thing at night. But again this is when owners often let the dog outside for a wee and aren't really watching much. It was months before Leo started occasional air scratching -- the unique form of SM scratching that only a fraction of SM dogs do. So it is hard to identify.

This cavalier owners everywhere can do their vets and perhaps another owner and cavalier a big favour by bringing in the downloadable information sheets I have on the www.smcavalier.com website as this will likely be the only detailed reference material they have seen on the subject.

It is quite sobering to look at the percentages affected with SM in the research samples compiled for the DNA research and the general cavalier pedigree database, noted in the new Rusbridge newsletter I just posted. Of some 600+ MRI'd cases, the vast majority of these being general research samples, not dogs people brought in to be MRId with symptoms, *two thirds* have SM. In addition, another 600+ dogs in the sample have clinically diagnosed SM (on the basis of symptoms) or an MRI diagnosis where the dog was excluded from the actual DNA research because not enough info was on the MRI write-up.

That's 1000+ cavaliers diagnosed with SM just within that research compilation. It is obvious that this complex and mysterious condition is going to an increasingly serious concern for owners and breeders.

Karlin
18th October 2007, 11:31 PM
To be fair to vets: outside of the situation with cavaliers, they would likely never see a single case of syringomyelia in an entire working career. And cavaliers are only one breed of all the varieties of dogs they see, and dogs are only one of many animals the average vet will need to be able to treat. On top of that, outside of the UK and Ireland, cavaliers are not a common breed -- many if not most vet practices in the US have probably never had a cavalier client (though that is changing). So to expect vets to be familiar with SM is a very long shot -- they would no more be likely to be able to identify SM in a dog than your GP would be able to identify SM in a human -- there are just many, many other more obvious things that would cause the common symptoms of SM in them and in us. This is why it typically takes at least a year and a half and up to 6 for it to be diagnosed in affected cavaliers, according to Clare Rusbridge's research sample in a recent paper-- and that was the UK, where they are the most common toy breed in the country. SM is really a specialist area needing a specialist diagnosis. But a vet should eliminate all other options first as there are many.

There have been almost no seminars or symposia for vets to attend on this topic anywhere in the world. Unfortunately not too many have attended those in the UK that do exist. Fortunately in Ireland the Irish Vets Journals did a story on SM (I was going to write it but then one of the vets did, which made more sense!) about 10 months ago and that really raised general awareness amongst vets. But reading about it isn't the same as seeing cases. My own vets were very interested to learn more but I can say with a high degree of confidence that I (like most SM dog owners) would recognise a likely SM case a lot faster than my vets ever would. You get to know the typical behaviours and some of them are virtually unmistakeable. My dog owning friends would never, ever notice the symptoms -- they think my SM dogs' scratching is perfectly normal, for example. But from long experience now I (unfortunately) know exactly the quirks of that scratching that makes it NOT normal -- everything from the way they scratch to the frequency to the time when it is most likely to happen (often this is at night, when many owners and breeders do not have their dogs in the room sleeping right next to them in the bed to realise this is even happening. This was when I realised Leo was becoming symptomatic -- for months he only had noticeable, odd scratching in the middle of the night. He would wake me up several times nightly because he was next to me, scratching and scratching :( ). Also it happens first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. But again this is when owners often let the dog outside for a wee and aren't really watching much and if you have several dogs it is even less noticeable as they mill around. It would be very hard to spot by breeders who often have dogs in completely separate querters, where they are kennelled. It was months before Leo started occasional air scratching in the day -- the unique form of SM scratching that only a fraction of SM dogs do. So it can be hard to identify.

Thus cavalier owners everywhere can do their vets and perhaps another owner and cavalier a big favour by bringing in the downloadable information sheets I have on the www.smcavalier.com website as this will likely be the only detailed reference material they have seen on the subject.

It is quite sobering to look at the percentages affected with SM in the research samples compiled for the DNA research and the general cavalier pedigree database, noted in the new Rusbridge newsletter I just posted. Of some 600+ MRI'd cases, a large portion, probably the majority of these being general research samples, not dogs people brought in to be MRId with suspect symptoms, *two thirds* have SM. In addition, another 600+ dogs in the sample have clinically diagnosed SM (on the basis of symptoms) or an MRI diagnosis where the dog was excluded from the actual DNA research because not enough info was on the MRI write-up.

That's 1000+ cavaliers diagnosed with SM just within that research compilation. It is obvious that this complex and mysterious condition is going to an increasingly serious concern for owners and breeders.

Cathryn
19th October 2007, 12:00 AM
Have to agree with you there Karlin! When I had my 2 MRI'd earlier in the year my next port of call was my vets where every vet in the practice bar one, who can't travel very far due to the after effects of a horrific accident, was present to pore over the scans of my dogs. They were fascinated and we were logged onto your SM site within minutes, there was a lot of humming and hahhing and I hope that I left them more clued up to SM that day than they had been before that.

On a lighter note I asked for my bill afterwards and the senior partners actually said that it should be them paying me as I was educating them!! They didn't even charge me a consult fee and my next visit to them was "on the house" :thmbsup: I feel lucky to have such a forwards thinking vet practice, my previous vet would have given me a dirty look and laughed at me at the merest suggestion that I might actually know more about something than he did!! :bang:

*Pauline*
19th October 2007, 12:56 AM
My vet has never come across SM in the UK, he's Spanish and when I mentioned SM in Cavaliers, he only knew the Spanish name for this condition :rolleyes: Lets hope I never have to tell him more about it. He is a great vet all the same. :D

misty
19th October 2007, 01:16 PM
Maybe a little progress :).

I had to take Bradley to the vet yesterday and this time saw Jenny, a different vet.

She was shocked when I told her SM didn't feature in their software for Cavs. As luck would have it, their software suppliers were in yesterday and she was going straight to talk to them after our consultation! Ok, it's one vet hospital in Co. Durham, but I feel as if I've done my bit.

I'm a nightmare to our vets ;) ;) :) :)