View Full Version : Where to get more details SM info?

23rd April 2008, 06:17 PM
The more I research this, the more suspicious I'm getting that Amber may be suffering from SM :( I'm trying to find a vet not to far from Las Vegas to do an MRI so I'll know for sure, but I'm not sure if I'm going to want a surgical answer, or if I'll just plan on managing it through medications - I can't find any information as to the type of medication usually recommended (pain killers, anti-inflammitories, or ????). I generally prefer a holistic approach to vet care, so right now I want to get as much information as I can together to take with me to a holistic vet, I'm also going to talk to some people in the cavalier club and see if I can find a vet that's already familier with SM and knows how to treat it!!!! But in case I can't, I want as much information as I possibly can so I can help educate a vet about it if needs be!

23rd April 2008, 08:39 PM

There's a flowchart for medical treatment--although my neurologist doesn't seem to agree that the first step works--she recommended going right to the prednisone.

23rd April 2008, 08:56 PM
My dog has SM and is on Gabapentin (75 mg 3x daily), Predisone (1.25 mg 1x every other day) and Omeprazole (2.5 mg daily for 3 weeks, 1 week off). He also gets acupuncture every other week and eats home-cooked food. We opted not to do the surgery because we have been able to manage his pain very well witht he above measures. I think diet and acupuncture has had a great effect. Although, there are several people with SM dogs that have not noticed a difference with acupuncture. Best of luck, it is heartbreaking. Make sure you do get a harness (vs. collar) for you dog immediately, if you do not already have one... it releives the pressure from their neck.

23rd April 2008, 09:13 PM
Thanks :) I'm not sure this is what's Amber's problem - I discussed the possibility with the lady who gave Amber to me, and she doesn't feel there's anything wrong, she never noticed anything, but considering she had Amber in a kennel type setting with 30 - 40 other dogs at any given time, I can see how she wouldn't have noticed alot of the little things I've picked up on with Amber. At any rate, it never hurts to be safe. I'm going to start really researching into what vets around here seem to have the most experience with cavaliers, and also speak to some of the cavalier breeders/owners here (I've found there is a Cavalier club here in Vegas!), and see what I can do to get to the bottom of some of Amber's behaviors - It may just be I have a quirky little cavalier with some interesting habits, but I want to be 100% sure before I just assume things are behavioral instead of medical!! Especially the ear scratching - She did have ear mites and an infection when she first arrived, which has been treated, and no signs of infection/mites remain, yet she still scratches at the one ear and wimpers......And she's always seen sensitive around her neck area. It may just be Amber, but I'm really starting to feel like there's more to it then that!

25th April 2008, 04:55 AM
Does she bunny hop (walk and try to scratch at the same time) or give cry out for no reason?

25th April 2008, 11:08 AM
There was a good neurologist in Las Vegas familiar with this condition but she seems to have left the area. These are the current neurologists: http://cavalierhealth.org/neurologists.htm#Nevada

The symptoms you describe would be something to investigate further. Often a neurologist can give a pretty strong indication of what is going on from a neurological exam even without an MRI. A specialist can test for the limb weakness and pain spots that an ordinary vet or the owner simply won't notice.

There are no holistic approaches that effectively manage pain (in particular) with this condition and none that will halt or reverse the condition -- I know lots who have tried. Some people try different holistic approaches in conjunction with other medications and find this useful, but this is an extremely painful condition. Dogs probably cover for a lot of the neurological pain, but I have a family member with this type of pain, on the same medications as Leo, and so know from her how horrendously debilitating the pain can be. Thus it is important to try and relieve this properly and diagnose the condition if there's any suspicion that it may possibly exist -- or I believe the dogs do really suffer even if they don't show obvious pain (scratching IS a sing of pain -- damage to the dorsal horn region in the spine). Most humans with this type of pain do not express it outwardly until it gets really, really bad and I don't think dogs are much different. How do you express a severe headache?

Leo has never done much more than scratch at one ear -- he doesn't yelp or show other outward pain. But I knew he had SM before he was symptomatic because I had him MRId on one of the low cost schemes. Eventually he started showing symptoms and I medicate him for that now. Much of the scratching is/was done during the night or first thing in the morning. If Leo still lived in a breeder environment I doubt anyone would have noticed his symptoms. I noticed because he would wake me up with his scratching.

If the breeder has that enormous a number of dogs it would be very hard to notice anything but the most obvious symptoms (even with just 4 dogs it is a lot easier for me to miss things than when I had one or two). Leo would never stand out in such an environment -- he'd simply look like a dog with occasional itches to scratch, like most dogs.

On the SM site link noted above, I give the process to go through to eliminate other possibilities and specific detail on what to do next, which should be of help.

26th April 2008, 07:30 AM
thank you so much Karlin! I'm going to call them first thing tomorrow morning (it's almost midnight now) and get Amber an appointment. It looks like all the neurologists in NV are located at that same center, so I'm going to ask when I call if any of those 4 have experience specifically with Cavaliers and/or with SM.

As for the scratching/bunny hop - I haven't noticed that, but she does occasionally cry out for no reason, especially when she's out running in the yard (well, it's hard to tell with her if she's barking at a fly that she's chasing or yelping - Sometimes there's not alot of difference in Amber's different vocalizations!!) I've only had her a few months now, so I'm still learning alot about Amber, and cavaliers in general, but I really want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to give Amber the best quality of life I can for as long as I can! She's an amazing dog, she deserves nothing but the best!

9th May 2008, 11:04 PM
Thought I would bump this up and see how Amber is doing. Did you get your appointment with the neurologist? Hope she is doing well, I know how worried you must be.