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Carolina
18th August 2008, 08:22 PM
We have a 7 year old very loved ruby cavalier. His name is Totti and he was recently diagnosed with SM. We were of course devastated. Totti is on cortison and is not having pain episodes but of cpurse he is very affected by the decease. We now have a puppy. Already when we fetched him I noticed he was scratching himself in exactly the same way as Totti does. He has now been with us for 4 weeks and is 12 weeks old. The scratching has continued and he has a hard time relaxing and moves a lot when he sleeps. I took him today to the vet and he did spot pain when stretching his neck. Now he is being tested for everything to exclude the posibility of other deceases. Next step is an MRI. Many vets have now been consulted since he is so young and the they dont think the decease can make a debut at such an early age.

I can't describe how I feel. It really is such bad luck. If it had not been for the experience of Totti's SM I would never have recognized the symptoms. Well we still don't know that it is SM for sure so I guess I should wait and not get too upset yet. It's difficult though :(

Karlin
18th August 2008, 09:20 PM
I'm sorry to hear about both Totti and your puppy. It is rare for SM to show in young puppies but I know the youngest one Clare Rusbridge has diagnosed as symptomatic with SM was 12 weeks. If you have caught it this early, that does give you some options if you are considering surgery. I hope you find there might be another cause -- be sure to have the vets or a specialist check for PSOM which can also cause SM-like scratching.

With Totti, does the neurologist have her on steroids, or your vet? Is the neurologist and the vet familiar with Clare Rusbridge's treatment diagram? Usually steroids would be one of the last options to use all the time, because of the side effects, but maybe your neurologist feels this is the only option. The standard for pain relief usually has been gabapentin usually alongside something to try and relieve CSF pressure, such as frusemide or cimetidine or prilosec. It might be worth discussing these other options?

Alison_Leighfield
19th August 2008, 10:04 AM
Carolina,

I brought a puppy home at 8wks, around 16 wks she was doing the things that drew my attention to SM and like you I picked up on it as we had previously lost Tilly with SM and I saw some signs.
Pippa was always shaking and rubbing her head causing her to fall over most of the time, she bottom scooted in circles and yelped on being picked up, she chewed her front feet underneath around the pads till they were sore but she wasn't a scratcher. My vet did the routine things like ear infections, anal glands and allergies but it wasn't none of those things.

At eight months (and after I had pulled my head out of the sand and admitted that she just could be affected) she was MRI scanned. At eight months there was already a large, wide, well established syrinx, a severe malforamtion with herniation and a head full of hydrocephalus. Her condition over the following two months went down very fast and the meds didn't help her much. A re-scan 2 months later showed alot more progression of the disease, a much bigger syrinx with nearly all of the spine affected and more hydrocephalus.
The neurologist from Chestergates and I together agreed to PTS. Pippa was only ten months old.

If you have any doubts and you think things are not right see a neurologist and voice your concerns. Have the MRI and put your mind at rest. The worry of not knowing always seems to make things worse. I would always want to know rather than just wonder about it for your sake and the little dog.

Alison.

Carolina
19th August 2008, 05:55 PM
Thank you all for your replies. Yes, Totti is on steroids and yesterday it was decided to raise the dose. He is not doing very well so I don't have much hope for him being with us much longer.
The specialist in one of the best veterinarian clinics in Sweden is acquainted with Ruths research. I talked to him today and we agreed on having Chili MRIed on monday . I will keep you posted. It does feel awful. Chili only 12 weeks is already such a little personality and we do love him. It does feel worse with Totti. He is so well trained and has a fantastic temperament. Thank you again for your advice and concern It does help to know that one is not alone:(

Claire L
19th August 2008, 06:54 PM
I am so sorry to read about Totti and Chilli. This must be so hard for you :hug:Will be thinking and praying for you on Monday.

Maxxs_Mummy
21st August 2008, 02:12 AM
Thank you all for your replies. Yes, Totti is on steroids and yesterday it was decided to raise the dose. He is not doing very well so I don't have much hope for him being with us much longer.
The specialist in one of the best veterinarian clinics in Sweden is acquainted with Ruths research. I talked to him today and we agreed on having Chili MRIed on monday . I will keep you posted. It does feel awful. Chili only 12 weeks is already such a little personality and we do love him. It does feel worse with Totti. He is so well trained and has a fantastic temperament. Thank you again for your advice and concern It does help to know that one is not alone:(

My heart goes out to you. I couldn't begin to imagine having a puppy with SM. Please make sure your breeder knows about it all and if your not insured I would be asking for the money for the MRI scan back and also for any treatment. If the worst comes to the worst and you lose your precious bundle then I would also ask for a refund. I don't mean to sound callous but it might be a way of stopping the breeder in his/her tracks.

Take care and let us know how you get on.

Carolina
23rd August 2008, 11:23 PM
Thank you for your kindness. We are insured but the insurance company doesn't want to cover the costs for him claiming that he has been insured for a very short time and that he has had the symptoms since we fetched him. Nonsence is all I say!!! I bought the best insurance for him. They want him covered by the breeder insurance. After talking with thw insurance company they have agreed to take a second loo on this case.
Warm regards to all of you,
Carolina

Carolina
26th August 2008, 06:25 PM
:blabla: My puppy who is now 13 weeks was MRI'd yesterday. The MRI showed a small hernia in the cerebellum and a slightly enlarged foranem magnum. Slight dome shape of the head. He is very young and this result together with the symptoms indicate a big probability that he will develop SM. After many discussions with the breeder who has offered to buy him back, I decided that I am already too much in love with him and can't part from him even if he has an illness. It was a very difficult decision since our eldest dog has SM and I know all the pain involved. But our home is now his home and I don't want to expose him to the confusing situation of having to move who knows how many times. We do love :lotsaluv: him and he is so sweet, so it's probably the best thing to do. He will have to take another MRI later on and of course no breeding.:( The vet is going to check on what to give him to help him with the scratching. Since he is so young he doesn´t really want to put him on medication yet.

frecklesmom
26th August 2008, 06:45 PM
So sorry to hear of now a definite double whammy. Little Chili could not ask for better parents to help her through her life. Are the increased steroids helping Totti have more comfort? :hug:You have found a great forum for comfort and ideas to help along the way.

Carolina
26th August 2008, 10:24 PM
It was not totally unexpected but nevertheless awful. Yes Totti has gotten better but we have to observe his diet since he has gained weight. The Omeprazol has helped the scratching but we will have to wait and see what help Chili can get since he is so little. One can always hope that he will not develop more severe symptoms.

You are right, this forum has helped me through some very bad moments and it is such a comfort knowing that one is not alone.

Thank you! :l*v:

AHM
28th August 2008, 01:57 PM
I really appreciate all the discussion on this here.

We're noticing a couple of symptoms in Binne, the scratching (though not air, around her harness), and she does this weird thing where she sort of looks like she's chasing her tail but she's actually chewing a foot and making strange sounds - not painful sounds, more like playful sounds, but we are watching her carefully. I cannot say I am not worried. This is our first time with the breed and she is only about 16 weeks. :(

Carolina
30th August 2008, 01:04 PM
I understand you being worried. What you describe is symptomatic. Unfortunately the only way of knowing for sure is with MRI. Trust your intuition and put your mind at ease. And I will keep my fingers crossed :-|

Karlin
30th August 2008, 06:07 PM
the scratching (though not air, around her harness), and she does this weird thing where she sort of looks like she's chasing her tail but she's actually chewing a foot and making strange sounds - not painful sounds,

Really it would not be unusual for a puppy unused to a harness to scratch at it. If she is chewing her feet then it would be worth talking to your vet -- this could be a skin condition, fleas, mites, allergies -- loads of things.

Symptoms are very, very unlikely in puppies this young. Please have a look at the videos on www.smcavalier.com as they give a better sense of the difference between normal behaviour and SM behaviour. There's a long symptoms list and a page on "I think my dog has SM" which lists a whole checklist of other things a vet should check for first. As the site makes clear and I have said many times -- for the majority of cases, there are many other things that are more likely and should be checked for, before even beginning to consider SM. :thmbsup:

If a symptom remains persistent or worsens or others also appear, and a vet keeps saying it is probably back pain or allergies, however -- that is the point at which I would ask for at least a basic neurologist clinical exam to discuss other possibilities.

mjones5
14th November 2008, 05:34 PM
I have made an appointment for Annie Wed Nove 26th at the neurosurgeon in Carrolton. She is familiar with SM and is listed as being a good choice. It breaks my heart to read how many are affected and how hard it is on owners. Since Annie is only 7 months old I fear a not good report, but am keeping fingers crossed it could be something else. Cavaliers are the best dogs I have ever owned.

maneumann
18th November 2008, 06:44 AM
Our Cavalier was diagnosed at 20 weeks. He had symptoms for the time we got him at 10 weeks, only we did not realize what it was until we started screaming for no reason around 20 weeks. It was devastating.

After a lot of research and consulting 4 neurologists, 2 of whom have done multiple decompression surgeries, we opted for medical management (combination of a very low dosage of prednisone, gabapentin and omeprisol). Jack does extremely well and most days is a normal dog. He has roughly one screaming "attack" every six to eight weeks. I contribute this largely to acupuncture (he goes every 3 weeks) and a raw diet. He is 1.5 years now, and God willing, he'll stay comfortable for a long time to come.

This is not want we want for any of our dogs of course, but my point is it can be manageable. Best of luck with your baby and deciding how to handle proceed… I know the decision process is agonizing.