View Full Version : I need some positive thinking......

21st July 2008, 04:58 PM
Hey everybody!

Here's the deal. I have a 4 mo old, Harley, and here in the last week he has been scratching his ears a good bit but in the last couple of days he has been rubbing his head on the carpet. Now, he doesn't do this all the time but I am noticing it and I think it's only because I am scared to death of SM.:eek: I do want to mention that he is having a problem with fleas right now too. I have given him frontline for 2 mos straight now but still seems to have some, I think they are just really thick in my yard right now. I am worrying myself to death about him and just freaking out about the "what if's". Is this something I should worry about now with his given age and symptoms or could this be something as small as just a flea bothering him? I know this is a lot to ask but I am making myself sick over it all. I need to know if these symptoms could be just something minor and nothing to stress about at all. I hope to hear some encouraging news.........:xfngr:

21st July 2008, 05:03 PM
You need to take him to a vet. There are a half dozen reasons he could be scratching. :thmbsup: He is clearly uncomfortable however and needs to be seen by a professional. I would guess it is probably ear mites or an ear infection.

21st July 2008, 05:05 PM
He could have ear mites or a grass seed in his ear. A grass seed can really get stuck in the ear and needs looking at by a vet as do ear mites. The sooner you go the sooner you can put your mind at rest. I hope that's all it is. :hug:

21st July 2008, 05:19 PM
I have to add that we all need to be concerned for and attentive to our dogs -- people really need to realise this condition is very widespread, although it is more rarely symptomatic. The chances, going by research samples, are that at least half of our cavaliers will develop syrinxes over their lifetimes and perhaps nearly 3/4ths. These are shocking and very scary figures. Even one per cent is a very scary figure, much less 50-70%. More than 9 in 10 cavaliers scanned have the skull malformation that already means their skull is too small for their brains and can contribute to the development of SM. The malformation alone can cause some symptoms. For context: neurologist Geoff Skerritt has MRI scanned going on 700 cavaliers. Under 30 so far were totally clear of both malformation and syrinxes.

I am not saying this to scare people. I am just reminding people that this horrible condition is widespread in the breed going by all the research done so far and people have to stop thinking about it as someone else's dog's problem. It is ALL our dogs' problem, and the breed's problem. If you own a cavalier, it is one of the risks along with MVD.

That's why it is really, really important to support research and the researchers, keep asking the clubs what they are doing to help with research projects, and talk to breeders about how they are incorporating the concerns about this condition into their breeding programs. There are clear results from initial work scanning litters in the Netherlands, that breeding dogs that have a syrinx, EVEN why they have no symptoms, and breeders had no idea they had SM, consistently produce puppies that develop syrinxes. NONE of the litters so far from dogs with a syrinx has produced a single clear puppy. This is a really ominous sign and we all need to keep encouraging the clubs to fund research and breeders to do what they can.

At this time only a fraction of dogs with syrinxes develop serious symptoms but every sign is that the number keeps growing and will only increase as long as people are breeding dogs whose MRI status they do not know.

Pet owners need to realise they have a very important role in demanding research continue, that clubs support it, that if people want breeders to test for this they need to ask for that too and be willing to pay that bit extra to have dogs from scanned parents. Scanning, especially in the US, is costly. Hopefully a simpler test will be available before long. But please realise the important role YOU can have by supporting good breeders who are actively doing something and placing pressure on the clubs to offer more support and guidance to their breeder members and more support for research.

22nd July 2008, 10:50 AM
Is he shaking his head also? This is another common sign of ear mites....

22nd July 2008, 11:44 AM
Is he shaking his head also? This is another common sign of ear mites....

Yes, actually he is a little. None of which are BAD but he is doing it enough for me to notice. But as freaked out as I am about him, I could probably tell you how many times he yawns a day. LOL

22nd July 2008, 12:23 PM
Have you arranged to get him to a vet? Mites are extremely uncomfortable for a dog and if it is something like a seed in his ear that is beyond the canal where you can see in, his hearing and eardrum can be permanently damaged if it isn't sorted. :thmbsup:

22nd July 2008, 12:30 PM
Also try and have a look in his ears with a light (those small reading lights can be good for this), you might see some dark brown gritty stuff in there if it is mites.

Again, the only way to know for sure is to go to the vet!
If it is mites then I understand what you're going through, our little girls has had them twice now since we got her! She is being treated now, and hopefully it will be the end of them for good! :)

Cathy Moon
22nd July 2008, 12:39 PM
I would take him to the vet immediately. He could have a bacterial or yeast ear infection, if it isn't mites or grass seed. A grass seed in the ear can actually be deadly to a dog if left untreated.

Also, if a flea bites your dog he could easily be infected with tapeworm, so I would mention that to the vet - you'll probably need to have him treated for worms - two treatments spaced apart.

If he has fleas currently, your vet may want to give him a Capstar tablet. Usually this is needed when flea treatment like Frontline is started after a dog has fleas. However I don't know how safe it is for young puppies - only your vet can advise you about that.

And remember that since he is just a small baby, he cannot be given lots of different medications all at once. You'll need to work closely with your vet to get your puppy through this safely.

22nd July 2008, 03:12 PM
Thanks for all your help. I have actually given him two capstars on two different occasions. He's not infested with fleas or anything like that. I may see 2-3 on him. I am making a vet appt to get him checked out though just to make sure. I know dogs that are in and outside will never be free of fleas completely but it just grabbed my attention because of his scratching and my fear of SM. My other dog can scratch and I don't think a thing about it other than he has an "itch" but when Harley does it, the world is coming to an end. LOL Can you see that I am a little scared of the "what if's"? He is just so precious, not that the other pup isn't, but he isn't the same breed so I don't worry about her as much.

22nd July 2008, 03:52 PM
I know dogs that are in and outside will never be free of fleas completely.

Why do you think that a dog who spends time outside can never be free of fleas??

They can be! If you have fleas in your yard, treat your yard. You will also need to clean all bedding, carpets, blankets, rugs, etc. inside the house. If the house and yard are treated, and if the dog is treated with medication and dutiful flea combing, you can overcome this current infection.

If your dog is free from fleas and other infections (such as ear infections), then you can get a much better baseline for behavior. You will see how much scratching is 'normal' for your dog. Until you clear up any other problems, it will be very hard to tell if your dog has symptoms of SM or any other condition.

22nd July 2008, 04:37 PM
Our dogs are indoor dogs but they got outdoors often, and they are flea free. My dogs sleep on our bed--- there is no way I can live with fleas.

Right now, a few of my dogs have the itches.. I took them to the vet and he told me about half the dogs coming in -- have occasional itches. IT is so common here now, that he isn't giving any drugs, he said to give them fish oil capsules to nourish the skin and he'd keep me updated if they found anything.

22nd July 2008, 06:01 PM
I have treated the yard three times so far this summer. I have also treated the house, bedding, rugs and so on. I just don't think you can prevent a flea from jumping on your dog from a neighbor's yard that isn't treated. I don't think all dogs react the same to Frontline, maybe this isn't the best product for him. I know I have two cats and they use revolution because that works best for them and I have only had to use it on one of those, the other is just fine. The one has alleriges and they recommend it year round for him. They even sprayed the rural area that I live in last night for misquitos, fleas and whatever else. I have another dog and she doesn't seem to have a problem like he does but she is a dachshund and doesn't have any hair for the fleas to hide in. Harley doesn't have chronic fleas or anything like that just an occasional two or three here and there. He has an appt tonight to see the vet to see what she says. Thanks

22nd July 2008, 09:32 PM
Once you have exhausted all of the possible causes of these symptoms, (such as fleas, ear infection, fox tail/or grass seeds in ears, or food allergies), you might also consider looking into the possibility that he has PSOM, which is fluid on the inner ear. This is also very common (according to our neurologist) in Cavaliers with the Chiari malformation, and the greater majority of those who have been MRI'd have CM, at very least a mild form of this.

There is alot of good information on this condition in the SM archives on the board. This is usually diagnosed with an MRI also, as symptoms are similar to SM (without the air scratching.) Frequent ear scratching, head shaking, alot of yawning, head rubbing and an occasional yelp for no reason are common. Once diagnosed a neurologist will often refer out to a vet dermatologist who will perform a myringotomy, or inner ear flush and plug removal, under anaesthesia. The recovery time is almost immediate and followed by a short course of medications and ear drops.

Hope you find the cause of Harley's discomfort soon. Please keep us posted!

Oh, and on a side note, if you have not purchased insurance (and I highly recommend Pet Plan,) I would do so. Unfortunately, if you have already visited the vet complaining of all of these symptoms even without a diagnosis, that may preclude coverage for MRI and follow up procedures, as this could be considered a pre-existing condition.

22nd July 2008, 10:48 PM
I hope you figure this out soon. When we got Pixie, she had ear mites and a yeast infection in her ears.:mad: She also was covered with fleas and had tapeworms from the fleas. She came from a pretty bad place, and in hindsight, we should never have bought her from there, but it was meant to be :luv:.

She used to get extremely itchy if I bathed her too often or didn't use a gentle, fragrance-free oatmeal shampoo for sensitive skin.

I, personally, have been disappointed in Frontline, and used to find fleas when I used it so now use Advantix. I don't ever see any fleas now, and my big dogs like to be outside most of the time (and I live in a very flea-prone area), and Pixie was in and out constantly.

So, you might, in addition to having the vet check her, evaluate what shampoo you are using if nothing turns up with her ears. I do hope it isn't SM, but I understood your paranoia. Pixie used to occasionally scratch at her ears and yelp. Scared the crap out of me. It seemed to be a phase she went through at about 5 months old and happened a couple of times a week for about a month. Then it stopped.

Being a dog-mommy is sure stressful! I hope all is resolved for you soon.

22nd July 2008, 11:02 PM
i hope everything turns out okay! i know all about obsessing over the little things! :rolleyes: i pretty much leave my internet browser open all the time to this site so i can look up whatever might be freaking me out at the moment.
please keep the board posted!

23rd July 2008, 01:23 AM
Hey everbody!
Thanks for all your caring posts. I took harley to the vet and she said that he has a "slight" ear infection in both ears, very minimal. She was considering not even giving meds for it but she did anyways. She checked for ear mites and didn't see any but she said it could still be there. She gave me drops, Tresaderm, to use twice a day and an ear cleaner to use every time I bathe him. She didn't seem overly concerned about the risk of SM and we didn't see any fleas at all on him. She also tested for parasites due to me telling her about the fleas, it was negative. So, I will keep my eye on him and see what happens. Right now he is playing with not a care in the world. :rah: When I mentioned SM, she referred to it as a brain condition? She said it should cause seizure-like symptoms??? That's not really what I've read about SM. Anyways, I am going to try and chill out and let him live and quit stressing out so much about the "worst" possible senerio. thanks again!