View Full Version : Help please

16th January 2009, 12:09 PM
My lovely Charlie has been having all sorts of tests , which have eliminated just about everthing except SM. He is 6yrs & a half. He started just before xmas, not being able to get on the chair or bed & not able to jump in the car. He was also biting at his hips & scratching at his ear, He cried out in real pain if I touched him lightly or tried to pick him up & was hiding in corners.I took him to the vet, he was kept in for blood tests etc Also scanned , they didnt seem to know what was wrong & he came home on antibiotics ? & Rimadel. After a week he seemed a bit better although not quite himself ,then last weekend he was in great distress & endlessly scratching.He was admitted again for more tests & they said all they could think was wrong was Sm. They have no MRI scanner.so suggested I take him to Liverpool for one. As I am not well enough to get there, they have now found a place a bit nearer. I said that I had been looking on your site & had found that Gagapentin sometimes could help.They had never heard of it . & said they had no experience of this condition.I have found a Vet nearer to me who has accsess to a scanner once a month, the next time being the first week in Feb,when I am due to go into hospital.! They do have experience of SM. Shall I stay with my vet & have Charlie scanned as soon as possible & then change to the nearer vet , I so want to give him any chance of a more comfy life for as long as poosible. How long do you think he could be better if he was on Gabapentin? I am so sad.:(

16th January 2009, 12:35 PM
Firstly I am so sorry your Charlie is so poorly. I'm not too sure of I voted correctly. I'd say change vets. I'd expect a vet to know about SM even if they don't now how to treat it.

Your dog is showing signs of pain and if this is SM, Rimadyl is not enough in my opinion. I don't know any SM dog who is just on this though we use it on bad days. Dylan is on gabapentin.

16th January 2009, 12:45 PM
Hi Gloria,

I take it they mean the Liverpool Animal Hospital - we had our golden treated there for fluid on the heart.

Shout if you need a hand with transport to get to the scan :)

16th January 2009, 12:59 PM
That's really nice of you Kirsty. :thmbsup:

16th January 2009, 01:40 PM
How lovely of you to repy so soon, thank you Kirsty, for your very kind offer but have located a scanner nearer to me but that was a most generous offer thank you. Pauline, can you tell me more of how Dylan is coping on Gabapentin & how long hes been on it please? I just feel I know so little of this illness.

16th January 2009, 03:22 PM
You should take him to Geoff Skerritt at Chestergates hospital. It's not far from Stockport.

16th January 2009, 03:52 PM
Geoff would be great if you can get to see him.

Dylan has been on Gabapentin since October. He had his MRI and was put on Gabapentin and Rimadyl straight away. The Gabapentin is a pain blocker and also works to stop the tingling sensations they get. The Rimadyl was a anti inflammatory/pain killer because at the same time of the MRI, he had a spinal tap and that was really sore. We were to give him the Rimadyl for 2 or 3 weeks. As soon as he came off the Rimadyl he was in pain. I called the neurologist who said put him back on Rimadyl. I had done some research on Rimadyl and was not happy with long term use in a young dog. I asked to skip the Rimadyl and up the dose of Gabapentin, she agreed and asked for progress reports. Dylan did well on this...for a while.

He went from 3x 50mg a day to 200mg divided into three. I have to buy empty capsules and divide the capsules.

Gabapentin only lasts 8 hours, that's why I don't just give 100mg twice a day. 100mg also knocks him out a bit.

I think we have to up his dose again as he is scratching more again. We did get to the point where all air scratching while wearing his harness stopped. It's sadly back again. The max for his weight is 100mg 3x a day so we don't have much room for an increase and I worry what will happen when this isn't enough.

I hope that is understandable, please ask questions if it's not.

You can also read this thread where all of Dylan's progress right from the start is documented:


I hope this helps.

18th January 2009, 10:25 PM
Pauline usually cimetidine, frusemide or omeprazole in conjunction with gabapentin is a lot more helpful than rimadyl I think. Also I know of may smaller dogs at much higher dosages than 100 3x -- some are at 300mg 3x. So I maybe go for a second opinion with a different neurologist?

To be fair to vets -- most do not know about SM as it is a specialists disease, not something the majority of vets would pick up unless they have become aware of it through a correctly-identified case. Many who would have read about it still may not realise they are seeing possible symptoms as so many other things share the symptoms. As with a human GP, the role of the vet is to try and address a problem and if there's no resolution, refer to a specialist (in this case, a neurologist). My vets would have been totally unfamiliar with SM and mainly are aware now -- and have since correctly identified numerous cavaliers that were referred and scanned by neurologists -- because I knew I had a dog with this disease 4 years ago. The problem with SM is it can be endlessly treated as recurrent allergies or back problems by vets who don;t know that they should refer on to a neurologist.

There are documents on SM that anyone can print out and leave with their vet at www.smcavalier.com.

Gloria, at the very least you do need to see a neurologist and I'd make an appointment at Chestergates, even if you don;t opt for a scan. Your vet should not be prescribing the drugs for managing SM anyway, especially not if they are unfamiliar with it (and most vets won;t anyway -- they will want to consult with a neurologist in the first place); your dog needs to be properly evaluated and then go from there. He sounds as if he is currently living with a significant degree of pain and I would not delay in getting him seen by an expert.

19th January 2009, 12:10 AM
Pauline usually cimetidine, frusemide or omeprazole in conjunction with gabapentin is a lot more helpful than rimadyl I think. Also I know of may smaller dogs at much higher dosages than 100 3x -- some are at 300mg 3x. So I maybe go for a second opinion with a different neurologist?

The dose recommended by Clare Rusbridge unless there has been a change is: "The canine dose is 10-20mg/kg two/three times daily which for a CKCS typically works out at a dose of 100mg two/three times daily."

The steroids you mentioned may relieve pain better than Rimadyl but we are taking into account Dylan is a very young dog. Long term use of steroids is not good for him. That's not to say when he needs them he won't get them.