View Full Version : Looking like our puppy has SM

1st July 2008, 02:24 PM
I'm so relieved to have found this site.Our Vet rang me this morning and gave me this web address.Our 7 month old Georgie suddenly started having fits just before he was 6 months,then this last 3 weeks he's been falling over on his walks.We've been seeing the Vet evry couple of weeks and last night he was interested in the falling over ,which is fairly new.Anyway when he rang today he told me about SM and says he's pretty sure this is the problem,though obviously he'll have to have an MRI to confirm this.I'm pretty devastated because we only lost our dear Boxer Harry in January to a brain tumour which suddenly appeared in October.I didn't think lightening could strike twice!!Georgie is such a happy little thing and we love him dearly so we're trying to keep possitive.Unfortunately we're going on holiday next Friday and Georgie is going to his host family.The vet says he'll be ok and they're aware of the problem,in fact when they had him for a trial weekend a month ago he actually had a fit on the day he was due home.Anyway as I said I'm pleased I foound the site and feel better that I have somewhere I can come for support.Sorry to go on a bit but this has come as such a shock.One last thing,would anyone advise me to tell the breeder where we got Georgie from about this?Take care,Ginnie:)

1st July 2008, 02:33 PM
Hi Ginnie:

Glad you found the site and sorry your little pup is having these problems.

Given what you describe, I am wondering if you and your vet have looked into Episodic Falling Syndrome? What you describe sounds more like EFS than SM, as seizures are not that common with SM and are not (yet?) directly know to be associated with the condition (though they can have writhing pain sessions that might seem like a seizure, I have a video of a poor dog suffering one of these sessions on my website at www.smcavalier.com).

More info on EFS here: http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=8883

and there's a dedicated website here: www.cavalierepisodicfalling.com

Maybe talk to your vet about this possibility too. A neurologist appointment is what you need asap as there are medications that can help with the pain of both conditions.

Cleo's Person
1st July 2008, 02:34 PM

welcome to the site. This is such a good place to find support during the tough times. I'm so sorry to hear your precious puppy has SM. There are lots of other people here who can talk to you/advise you on that. I can't really. I just wanted to reply, so you got an answer soon. I would definitely tell your pups breeder about this. Any responsible breeder would want to know if something like this has happened to one of her pups. I'm glad that Georgie's host home know all about his condition. That must be a relief to you to know that they're aware of what's going on.

I'm sorry I don't have more constructive advice. I just wanted you to know that there are many shoulders and ears here if you need them.


p.s. any chance of a few photos of the lovely lad?

1st July 2008, 03:00 PM
Oh yes, I should have said do DEFINITELY inform the breeder; it is so important for them to know there's an issue especially with a young dog. The breeding should not be repeated and if SM is confirmed the owner of stud and dam would want to MRI their dogs.

Has your vet tried any medication? Have they investigated epilepsy too?

I would not want him to be left without any treatment at all while you are away. If the vet suspects SM there are a range of things that could be tried (downloadable at the smcavalier site). If EFS or epilepsy, then anti-seizure medication.

2nd July 2008, 12:25 AM
Hi again and thanks for your quick replies,much appreciated.Yes Georgie was given a second injection yesterday of a hormone type,which the vet said would calm him down without making him dopey,he said his Testosterone is raging away at the age he is now!He didn't want to give him any anti Epilepsy drugs until his condition was confirmed.He explained that the Gabapentin,if prescribed would help both the SM and fits.His fits seem to subsiding this last week or so and is being replaced by more of the falling over,especially on his walks.We're also noticing the scratching more.His falling over is more or less happening every walk,tonight it happened again,about 3 times,that was on a fairly short walk too.He soon recovers and then is back to his bouncy self,though he's almost Hyper after wards!!Thanks again,take care.Ginnie.Oh I'll phone the breeder tomorrow.I've just put a couple of pics of him in my profile album too!

2nd July 2008, 01:05 AM
How long will you be away? I have to say first that I totally disagree with your vet that a dog having such severe symptoms will be 'OK' left without any pain medication or management excepting a hormone injection. :( I would make an appointment to see a neurologist now, so you can get in immediately on your return, assuming you won't be away too long. If this is SM, it really sounds like it could be advanced already and you would really want to have him seen immediately on your return or have someone else get him in while you are away if you are away for a while. If he is falling over it would likely indicate serious damage that, the longer it is left untreated, will become irreversible. I don't want to worry you before a holiday but really, every week may matter for any possibility of a future if he has serious damage.

To give you some context, a dog falling over would really be a pretty serious case if this is SM as the dog's motor functions would be failing. If it is EFS, though, then it is probably less urgent as falling over is more common (because it is happening so often on walks though, this really sounds like something I'd want checked very urgently whatever it is). Have you watched the video on my SM site, and are the 'seizures' like that one? If so, they are not actually seizures, they are very severe pain sessions -- again, for this I would get him to a neurologist as fast as possible or beg your vet to at least talk to a neurologist and see if Georgie can at least be placed on painkillers until your return (eg steroids or gabapentin, maybe started on furosemide to see if that will lower CSF pressure inside his head and spine, etc).

On my SM site I have a list of UK neurologists. :thmbsup:

Also getting him in asap for a neuter would significantly help lower the excitement levels that will likely worsen SM -- it causes the CSF to circulate more quickly every time he gets excited, and this creates the pressure which causes the pain sessions and makes the syrinxes continue to enlarge. With SM dogs you really want to do all you can to keep them from getting overly active and excited.

2nd July 2008, 04:02 PM
Hi there,I just had to contact you about this.Thanks for your last post,I got straight away onto the Falling Over site,it's so like Georgie.Anyway I thought I'd phone the Breeder.The lady I collected him from was away on holiday,I wqas told before that her friend was the actual breeder,but had had a heart op,so she had taken the two pups for her and was going to look after them for the 8 weeks before they were to be collected.I then rang her friend,who I was led to believe was the actual Breeder!I explained about Georgie and straight away she said "Oh it's falling over Syndrome,his brother has already been but to sleep"!I asked if it was inherited from the Mother or Father and she said,"well actually we don't know who the parents are".It turns out that the Lady I collected him from was actually the breeder (she breeds Pugs)and that because she had no insurance or paperwork for the puppies,asked her friend to do those for her!Therefore the kennel club certificate with his Three Generation
Pedigree etc is a complete lie,all made up.I'm so shocked and upset about this.She said "I could get into a lot of bother with doing that"!! and then said "I've a litter here I can't find homes for,you can have one of these if you like,and by the way you do realise Georgie won't live above two years,if that"?I just said I had to go and put the phone down.I've rung my vet who is really great and is starting Georgie on meds tonight and says he'll do what he can for him.I can't believe that after losing Harry only so short a time ago,that we may have to go through it all again so soon.I'm going to try and stay possitive but it's so hard I just can't stop crying.Thanks for the advice .Take care,Ginnie:(

2nd July 2008, 04:15 PM
You should really look at http://www.cavalierepisodicfalling.com/ like Karlin had suggested. I have heard of a few cavaliers that seem to outgrow the issue. Some seem to do better on certain drugs. I think it depends upon the severity. Someone told me if you stay calm and pick up the pup and talk and stroke it, it may lessen the severity of the episode.

2nd July 2008, 04:39 PM
Ginnie don't get too worried til you have him seen by a neurologist and get an actual diagnosis. Some dogs have the symptoms totally controlled; some just have EFS go away. There ARE options and possibilities! But you really need to have him properly diagnosed as this may not even be EFS. EFS probably offers more possibility for most affected dogs than symptomatic SM. :flwr: There are some UK contacts you can email directly from the EFS site for advice too on who might be good to see.

Try to get some videos of him out walking and having the seizures so that you can bring those along.

I am going to PM you the name of a couple of people you should contact about this situation. I will ask them to have a read about your situation. This is just ludicrous that this breeder is operating in this way. Did they actually give you KC papers and so on or is it just a supposed pedigree they wrote up? Do you know the name of the lady with the pugs that is the actual breeder? Don't post it publicly, I am just wondering if you have a name for her.

2nd July 2008, 04:54 PM
Karlin explained much better what I was wanting to say. Don't panic--
I agree that the breeder shouldn't be operating this way. AND I hope to heavens she isn't still breeding (especially those dogs suspect to be the parents).

lady and amber
2nd July 2008, 05:04 PM
I`m so sorry you are going through this, but there is still some hope I have a cavalier with EFS, she is now four years old and is still doing well, you can PM me if you want.

3rd July 2008, 04:55 PM
Hi Lynne,thanks for your reply.I'm pleased to hear your Cavalier is doing well.Our Vet started Georgies Medication this morning ,he's just had one episode today,just after a thunderstorm!Thanks again,i 'd like to keep in touch,I'll feel better when I've read up more and know what we're dealing with.Take care,Ginnie:)

3rd July 2008, 05:06 PM
Hi Karlin,I have the Three Generation Pedigree Certificate with the Kennel club registration certificate.This is what was totaly made up by the woman who didn't actually breed them (though she told me they were hers!),although she now has another litter of Cavalier pups for sale!It was for her "friend"that she made the papers and the Insurance papers up for because she didn't have ANY papaerwork for the two puppies.I have the name for the Breeder,she's on the Internet,but when I tried to contact her I was told she would be away for another 2 weeks.I do know for a fact she's still breeding puppies.
Take care,Ginnie:)

3rd July 2008, 05:39 PM
OK, you need to report the breeder and the friend to the kennel club and the RSPCA. It is illegal to sell puppies falsely claiming they have pedigrees and especially to issue KC papers.

3rd July 2008, 10:33 PM
I've already contacted the Kennel Club,they explained that all they could do was to send letters saying they were aware of what had happened,but,that if they just wanted to throw the letters in the bin,there was nothing the Kennel Club could do!Apparently theres no legal obligation they take all the information they're given on trust.They did say however,that if we wanted to take it further ie:To the Trade Descriptions,that they would provide a letter along with confirmation from my vet.It's all such a mess and bless him we just want Georgie to feel better.
We're due to go away next week on a surprise 60th Birthday that our daughters arranged for me.The host family that are looling after Georgie for 2 weeks are fully aware of the situation and in touch with our vet ,but obviously he's going to be on our minds all the time but fortunately the family know all about Cavaliers and have years of experience with them.Thanks agin for the support,take care,Ginnie:)

3rd July 2008, 10:42 PM
I would certainly pursue it.

I would also really try to get your vet to directly contact a neurologist for advice on treatment for your cavalier. Surely that are willing to try some medication -- if a dog is having multiple seizures and falling over constantly the dog really needs serious help. I'd also completely stop walking Georgie and do not let the foster family walk him as this is seemingy bringing on some of the problems. No deliberate playing or anything that brings on the seizures.

It can take weeks to get an appointment with a neurologist so I'd ask your vet to please start to set this up now for your return, as you may not be able to get in for several weeks as it is. If you wait til you get back it may be two months before you can get in.

lady and amber
3rd July 2008, 10:58 PM
I agree with Karlin on not walking your dog, nearly all Amber`s episodes have been after she had been walked, she is now limited to playing out in the garden. she is not on any medication and only has the episodes now when over excited or stressed, the way to limit the episodes is too find what triggers them, as in Amber`s case walks and try and remove the source of the trigger. hope that makes sense.

4th July 2008, 09:19 AM
Could I go off in a different direction about the pedigrees .
How will Researchers ever be able to do Genetic Research if there are Falsified Pedigrees around .
Will the only answer be ,as I have been told ,that Dr S Blott at the Animal Health Trust ,who is Researching into SM and MVD in Cavaliers ,will be taking Cheek Swabs ,so asto verify the Pedigrees.

Bet Hargreaves

4th July 2008, 03:49 PM
We've stopped Georgies walks,as you can imagine he's not happy about that:)but is content to roam the garden.Our Vet is contacting a Neurologist to arrange some tests,whilst we're away,so when we get back we can get things moving.It's ironic I'm due to go for an MRI etc on the 25th,it's a pity we can't both be done at the same time!!At the moment he's having a "time out" hour in his cage and seems quite content with that and the seizures are not getting anymore frequent,so thats good.
That sounds like a good idea about the mouth swabs!Take care,Ginnie.

5th July 2008, 11:24 AM
That's great Ginnie, you are doing all the right things to manage him and will be ready for a proper investigation of what is going on when you get back. :thmbsup: