View Full Version : SM and Episodic Falling Syndrome

Love my Cavaliers
24th March 2009, 09:09 PM
I was just wondering if anybody knows if there is a connection or link between SM and EFS. Riley had decompression surgery in June 2008 and is doing well - except when she gets excited or stressed she frequently falls. Her head tilt is very exaggerated and she'll either flop over onto her side or onto her belly. Her legs at that point look kind of like seal flippers as she tries to right herself. So far, these episodes have only lasted for about 30 seconds. I thought she was just having severe imbalance issues related to the damage to her vestibular system from her SM - and that's how I've presented it to her neurologist. She is on an anti-epileptic drug called Keppra. However, after watching some videos of EFS, I'm now questioning whether that is what she has, in addition to SM. She is going to the neurologist on Thursday. Of course, she never has one at his office, and I never have a camera ready, plus they are so short. I will ask him about EFS and bring some printed information, but just wanted to hear if anyone knows if the two conditions are related. Thanks.

24th March 2009, 11:24 PM
There's a whole thread of info and links in the health section of the Library here and more info on www.cavalierhealth.org. Researchers do not believe there is any connection between the two. Hopefully some of the info pointed to can provide some help. Barbara Reese also has set up a very useful episodic falling website about this condition in cavaliers: www.episodicfalling.com

Love my Cavaliers
25th March 2009, 12:27 AM
Thanks Karlin. It was while watching the EFS videos on Barbara Reese's site and some on YouTube that made me wonder about Riley. The CavalierHealth link you mentioned has good info to print out for her neurologist. Interestingly, the CavalierHealth site mentioned the possibility of a link between idiopathic thrombocytonepenia and EFS. Riley's pre-operative bloodwork indicated some degree of thrombocytopenia. I'll let you know what her neuro says on Thursday. Thanks.

25th March 2009, 05:52 PM
It is normal for about a third of cavaliers to appear to have this problem with platelets because they are too large to be counted but the dogs do not have the condition at all. Just make sure the apparent problems is rechecked by a hand count of platelets. Many vets are not aware of this situation with cavaliers.

More info:


25th March 2009, 10:19 PM

don't know anything about a possible connection, but I wanted to say that I am so sorry Riley is going through this. She is a brave girl!

Jen and Ilsa

17th April 2009, 09:52 PM
From your description certainly sounds like Riley has a problem with balance (aka vestibular disease) rather than episodic collase. It does not sound like episodic collapse which can most simply be described as a cramping of limbs during exercise - importanley this is seen from the time the dog is less than a year old. There is not much you can do about the vestibular problem - it sounds like Riley is compensated most of the time ie using other senses such as sight to make up for the deficit in balance however in times of stress that isn't enough / or it quick enough and she falls. A phsysiotherapist can sometimes help to teach the dog methods of compensation
All the best