View Full Version : Hi from South Africa

22nd March 2009, 05:37 PM
Hi all. I have 2 Cavs, Thomas, a 6 yr old tri-colour and Jade, a 3 yr old Blenheim.
Thomas was adopted by me when he was about to be euthanased due to "behavioural problems." I have had him for over 4 years and although he is deaf, he is a wonderful boy. He has been a Therapy Dog for about 3 years and brings joy to everyone he meets. Check us out at www.therapytopdogs.co.za (http://www.therapytopdogs.co.za/)
Jade came to live with me in July last year when her owner immigrated. Unfortunately she has been diagnosed with SM, although I have not had an MRI done because it is very expensive here. Her symptoms are mild and completely managable with Lasix, but she has bad episodes when on a collar or harness. Any ideas on how I can overcome this? She loves to go for walks and is far safer with some form of restraint. I would love some input. Thanks!

Love my Cavaliers
23rd March 2009, 03:53 PM
I don't know what type of harness you are using and SM dogs shouldn't have a collar on, unless it's just loose and used for ID tags. My SM dog, Riley, uses an UpCountry harness and has no problems with it. It's a very simple and easy step-in harness. From what I've gathered from a lot of posts in the past, most SM dogs are more comfortable with some type of step-in harness rather than one that pulls over the head. Hope this helps.

23rd March 2009, 09:21 PM

There isn't really another choice other than a collar or harness for walks... Maybe try some different harness styles? I use a range of them and some definitely are more comfortable on some dogs than others. If she is having bad episodes (can you describe what 'bad' is? Lots of scratching? Sensitivity? Yelping? Does it trigger pain?), to me, it suggests Lasix is not enough -- I'd suggest using Dr Rusbridge's treatment protocol and moving her along onto something like gabapentin as well. I found Lasix only worked a very short time for my most affected dog. Noticeable episodes on a harness or collar indicates this is probably more than a mild case -- I have two with SM and they don't react much to either a harness or collar, just for comparison -- they sometimes trigger mild scratching in my worst-affected dog (he has a large syrinx). It is a strange condition and can affect dogs very differently. But idf you are seeing disng of discomfort and distress, it really does indicate she needs something for pain relief. Lasix gives *no* actual pain relief -- it mainly relieves some of the CSF pressure.

You probably already have the Rusbridge treatment diagram but if not, you can download it here (http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/treating/treating/meds.html) as a pdf file. :)

24th March 2009, 06:43 PM
Your advice is much appreciated! Cavaliers are still quite a rare breed here and our first dogs in SA, with SM, only diagnosed within the last couple of years. I only know of 2 other affected dogs. Jade has no symptoms unless on a collar or lead and then she scratches and yelps. I have Neuronton and Losec, but have not started those treatments yet because she is fine most of the time. My vet just said that she mustn't be on collar or harness and we must just monitor her for any deterioration. Dr Rusbridge was here last year and my vet attended her seminar, so we are following her treatment programme. I am due for a follow-up visit with Jade next month and will discuss this with him. I think an MRI will give me a clearer picture, so am saving up! Once again, thank-you for your valuable advice - I am so glad to have support from people with more experience with SM.