View Full Version : Questions for vet regarding SM

17th April 2008, 03:29 PM
Hi, I know our pup Bobby is only 5 months old but I'm quite worried that he's showing symptoms of SM. Each morning he gets up and scratches his neck and the skin under his mouth for about two minutes in the morning. Its always the left side. He whines quietly while he is doing this. He'll then get up and shake his head and try to rub his mouth on the carpet. He'll scratch his neck maybe once or twice more during the day but he no longer whines when doing so. I mentioned it to the vet three weeks ago and he checked his ears for mites etc. He could find nothing wrong so he cleaned them and gave us some drops. However three weeks on he is still scratching (not as much as before, but still has discomfort). Yesterday when I looked at the video from sm.cavaliertalk.com (the first video on the page) it looked exactly like Bobby scratching. It breaks my heart that he might be showing signs :(. We're back to the vets on Tuesday for more vaccines so what questions should I ask them, especially if they are not familiar with SM?

17th April 2008, 04:06 PM
Did your vet know about Syringomyelia?

It would be worth printing off the relevant material from http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/ to show them. If you don't have a printer, you can usually do this at a public library for a small charge.

There are many conditions which show similar symptoms so it is worth ruling these out first, but a definitvie diagnosis is only possible with an MRI>

I really hope this isn't Bobby's problem. When you take him for his vaccine, please make sure the vet injects him in the front of his thigh and NOT his neck, just in case.

17th April 2008, 04:30 PM
I only heard of Syringomyelia yesterday from reading this forum and I instantly felt a lump in my throat. When we brought him to the vet two weeks ago and discussed his scratching, the term "Syringomyelia" was never discussed. Since the ear drops are not working and he always scratches his neck and his mouth I decided to do a little more research. This led me to reading about SM. I really hope the symptoms he is showing is to do with something less horrific :xfngr:.

18th April 2008, 05:59 AM
You should take him to a neurologist and even then you'd be surprise at how many are not familiar with SM, or have only head of it. Cavalier.org has a list of neurologists with ones in red font that are familiar with SM. My puppy started showing signs at 5 months old as well. My vet misdiagnosed him as have allergies and then a sprained back. It was not until I was dissatisfied with the vet that I started researching on my own and came across SM. He had an MRI a week later which confirmed it.

That said, DO NOT assume that he has it unless he is bunny hopping when you walk him and screaming for no reason. And if he does have it, we have had a lot of luck managing Jack's pain with diet and acupuncture. And he is going to be a year this Sat., and honestly he is almost a normal dog (albeit expensive with the treatments and compounded medicine with side effects that sometimes cause there own set of problems). Also, I would get him a step in harness immediately as that will relieve pressure from his neck (most of the dogs have skull malformation, so it is a good idea anyway).

18th April 2008, 09:43 AM
Thank you for your response. He is not bunny hopping. Just scratching his neck lots and shaking his head. I walk him with a collar and lead and it doesn't bother him too much but I'll get a harness just in case. I will mention all your comments to the vet next week, and fingers crossed it'll be ok. I'm delighted to hear however that you can manage Jack's pain and that he can lead a happy life. I didn't realise the medication can be so effective.

18th April 2008, 11:35 AM
The best thing is to rule out the easy problems first. Initially assume it's an ear mite problem.Even though he's being treated with ear drops,the drops themselves will annoy him, causing him to shake his ears and scratch.
Ideally treat him quarterly with a solution of stronghold which treats for ear mites,fleas and worms.It's a solution you can get from your vet or vet shop that you pour between the shoulder blades and it costs approx 8 euros.
Also take a look at his eyes, if they're wet or streaming he could be rolling his face on the ground to dry them. Daisy steals towels from the bathroom and rolls on them to dry her eyes,especially if she's been for a walk in the wind.
The joys of living in Ireland is that there's very few consultants who are expert enough in SM to examine him.It took me a year to find a vet clinic who actually understands it and treats cavaliers with the problem.(Thanks Tanya)!
So I'm afraid you face a long process of ruling out minor conditions before you can even consider testing for SM.