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View Full Version : The Dreaded Symptoms Have Appeared



-leah-
30th March 2009, 08:25 PM
Ever since I joined this site and became aware of the prevalence of SM and MVD in Cavaliers, I made my self aware of all symptoms and I am always looking out for them to appear.

It is Holly that I am worried about as she is ticking one too many boxes of the symptoms of SM. She has always been a bit of a scratcher like if she was lying on my bed or the sofa and we called her to get up she'd always have a little scratch before she jumped down, this we put down to habit. Other things which have been happening more and more often are tail-chasing, scratching aroung her ears/neck area, she has never yelped though. She also licks everything, always has except in the last few weeks she has been licking her paws more than usual.

I am off on Easter Holidays next week so I'm going to take her to the vet then. The reason why I haven't gona sooner is because I have my Leaaving Cert this year and have Irish and French oral exams going on at the moment.

I don't think my vet is very clued up on SM, what do you reccommend I print off to bring into her? I have been trying to get videos of her scratching but by the time I have the camera ready she has stopped, I'll keep trying though!

*Pauline*
30th March 2009, 08:57 PM
I am so sorry. If you would like to PM me any time please feel free. You should find all you need on this web site, it's the sister site to this forum.

This page should have the link to the info you need to take to your vet but I clicked on it and the link didn't work on my Mac. Please let me know if it doesn't work for you.

http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/diagnosing/diagnosing/symptoms.html

chloe92us
30th March 2009, 09:08 PM
Could be SM, but could also be seasonal allergies (the paw licking). If they seem to have more problems at certain times of the year, that's always something to consider.

For most dogs with SM, the scratching, licking and/ or other symptoms are very noticeable (annoying scratching that keeps you awake, constant licking, or obvious bunny hopping/ air scratching, yelping, etc).

Remember, all dogs DO scratch and lick...it's really the amount or level of scratching that's important. It would almost seem obsessive if it is SM.

Keep a journal for your own sanity- how many times a day does she scratch and for how long? How many times does she lick, what does she lick, and for how long? You also want to keep notes about how many hours a day she is actually awake so you can get an idea of the % of awake time she is actually licking or scratching. That should help you gauge the level of obsessive licking/ scratching.

Tania
30th March 2009, 11:03 PM
I echo Chloe above, however my Molly did not show any classic signs, limping was her symptom, she has been unfortunately diagnosed with sm. Dougall however scratches and licks, he is clear but has allergies. The have both had MRIs.

Love my Cavaliers
30th March 2009, 11:31 PM
Like Molly, Riley didn't show any of the classic symptoms of SM except the head tilt - no scratching, no licking, no yelping, no apparent pain. Riley had imbalance issues and what I thought were very mild seizures which is why she had an MRI that confirmed SM. This is a very frustrating disorder, with so many other things that can mimic it. It's probably best to rule out other things first (allergies, etc) before asking for a referral to a neurologist. But do print out the info sheet from the link Pauline provided. It opened on my computer (not a Mac). Good luck

meljoy
31st March 2009, 09:59 AM
Hi,
We went through a really rough time a few weeks ago with our boy Leo. He did show classic sign of SM. Eventually he was admitted to RVC in Cambridge where after keeing him in for a week they finally gave him an MRI. It didnt show SM!!:rah: I dont know who was more surprised me or the neurologist!! We are so lucky, although I know it could develop later on.
Its horrible to have to go through this and all you can do is get it checked out and be aware of what you are looking for.
I saw three vets before one of them said she thought it was SM.....check out all possibilities, there is an incredible amount of support here I found it wonderful...
Good Luck

Mel:xfngr:

harleyfarley
31st March 2009, 06:45 PM
If like me ( i watch harley all the time now, looking for symptoms) i would get her tested just to put your mind at rest, otherwise you will send yourself crazy.

-leah-
31st March 2009, 07:44 PM
Thanks for all of your replies. I know it may seem like I'm jumping to conclusions here but I just have a feeling it's sm I hope I'm proven wrong though! It would be great if it was just allergies but I really don't think it is, she's almost four and hasn't had a change in her food, environment, grooming prouducts or anything else I can think of, but you never know. I am going to make an appointment for next tuesday and I will print off that info that you reccommmended Pauline.

I havn't been too well myself lately, I'm going to get bloods done on Friday so hopefuly Holly and I wil both get good results!

Thanks again,
Leah :lotsaluv:

-leah-
4th April 2009, 05:07 PM
I have an appointment made for the vet on Monday, i will be sure to let you all know how we get on :thmbsup:

-leah-
6th April 2009, 05:56 PM
Well I'm just back from the vet and we came out with a whole lot more than we went in for!

When I described Holly's symptoms to the vet she knew straight away that it was SM that I suspected she had. She gave her an all over examination checked for fleas and dosed her for ear mites just in case that was causing the scratching. When she was checking the hinds, I knew there was something up from her expression. Turns out Holly has a luxating patella but it's so slight that she wouldn't even give it a grade.

Good news is that she has lost one kg in the past month and her heart is brilliant. We were sent home with Metacam and Arthri Aid, she's on the Arthri Aid for the patella and the Metacam is kind of an experiment, she will be in it for two weeks and if her SM like symptoms decrease with the pain-killer than she will be sent for an MRI. She also is on ear drops as she has a tiny ear infection.

I am quite happy to wait another two weeks and see how she reacts to the meds.
What do you all think of my vet's approach?


I have some news about Bailey also but I'll put that in a seperate thread to avoid confusion.

harleyfarley
6th April 2009, 06:12 PM
Well done your vet, i think shes brilliant, i wonder if its worth getting a list of vets, county by county that are up on sm conditions, i guess they have to rule out the obvious first, good luck let us know how she does over the next few days, di

Karlin
6th April 2009, 06:20 PM
That's a good, sensible approach. :thmbsup: It is heartening when vets are aware of the condition and can take a step by step approach with the owner who is concerned. :)

-leah-
7th April 2009, 07:07 PM
Thanks everyone, I will keep you updated over the next few days it will be interesting if the symptoms start to disappear.. :-?

tupup
7th April 2009, 07:38 PM
will be keeping :xfngr: for you leah & looking out for your updates as im just about to unfortunatly post one very similar to yours. Good luck

petcrazyme
8th April 2009, 06:20 PM
will be keeping :xfngr: for you leah & looking out for your updates as im just about to unfortunatly post one very similar to yours. Good luck

Wow! Me too! This is very, very disturbing. It seems like there are new cases of "i think my dog might have SM" popping up every week!! I think we should make a poll just to see how many of us have dogs that have diagnosed SM and how many really believe their dogs might have it.

linderbelle
8th April 2009, 06:27 PM
On a recent trip to the neurologist with Abbey, her neurologist told me he had a patient that had 4 cavaliers and all 4 of them had sm. Boy if thats not a downer I don't know what is. It might be an interesting poll though. As alot of you know, I have a blog in regards to my experience with Abbey and my feelings etc. ALOT of people have contacted me so again there are people on the net searching for answers. I remember when I used to search for Abbey but unfortunately I was searching for stuff like:

licking feet
scratching etc.

Unfortunately, I never came anything in regards to the sm. Cavalier Talk is the place that smartened me up. I wonder how many people before getting any kind of purebread dog do a search for health on the breed. We didn't but believe me we will certainly do it it in the future. I've learned alot with my experience on this. If I had known about sm even before getting Abbey I don't know if that would have stopped me or not. I also love this breed soooooooooo much that I don't know if it will truly stop me in the future either. Thats a tough call and fortunately I don't have to deal with that for a very long time. 4 dogs is ENOUGH lol.

-leah-
8th April 2009, 06:40 PM
Wow! Me too! This is very, very disturbing. It seems like there are new cases of "i think my dog might have SM" popping up every week!! I think we should make a poll just to see how many of us have dogs that have diagnosed SM and how many really believe their dogs might have it.


I only hope that we are all proven wrong. I must admit if I didn't have the info that I gained form this site I would have passed off Holly's symptoms as plain strange doggy behavior.

The only way I can describe her since we started her on pain-killers is 'frisky', she runs places that she'd usualy walk to and is keeping up with Bailey, however the scratching and other sm like symptoms don't seem to have decreased.

Maybe she is experiencing relief form the luxating patella even though I would have thought that a grade 1 wouldnt be causing her any discomfort? Any thoughts?

Here's the beautiful girl today:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3395/3424519342_76040ec79a.jpg

tupup
8th April 2009, 07:34 PM
AW Holly you cutie! This is a funny one cos i said to a friend today i'd love to know how many people on here are dealing with sm! or does it just seem that way as this is the only place to find the right info? add me to your poll anyway! my friend said "youll have to get a different breed next time", i said No!theres none as good as our Rubes or prettier. So im with you there linderbelle, knowing what i know now im not sure it would put me off in the future either.
Without CT i would have put this stuff down to just odd behaviour too. i wish i didnt have to know about any of it, if you know what i mean but im glad to be able to find out.
im glad Hollys running about, its early days yet to have made a difference to her scratching, maybe tomorrow:xfngr:

Katelyn
9th April 2009, 07:09 PM
they're seems to be so many people worried about their dogs having SM including myself! Im making an appointment with the vet as scarlett has been excessivly scratching,ear and paw chewing,tail chasing etc and I cant help but be worried!I hope my vet takes the same approach as yours as im not sure he knows a lot about it either..

-leah-
10th April 2009, 12:32 AM
they're seems to be so many people worried about their dogs having SM including myself! Im making an appointment with the vet as scarlett has been excessivly scratching,ear and paw chewing,tail chasing etc and I cant help but be worried!I hope my vet takes the same approach as yours as im not sure he knows a lot about it either..

Good luck :xfngr::xfngr:

Charlifarley
13th April 2009, 02:30 PM
I am going down the route of getting my dogs checked too, so add two more to the list. Where are Mri's carried out in Ireland, is it just UCD vet hospital, or does anyone know of anywhere else that does them?

Karlin
13th April 2009, 03:41 PM
Are you getting them checked out because your vet has told you to do this? Really this would be the only circumstance in which you would get an MRI and in this case, the vet will refer you. You can't just go in and have them done -- you need the referral. For anyone who is concerned their vet isn't picking up the problem, or taking the issue seriously, and believes they may be seeing SM, then I'd recommend going to any of the Dublin branches of Anicare (www.anicare.ie) to have your dog thoroughly checked FIRST.

If these experienced vets feel there is a chance of SM then they will refer the dog for an MRI scan. I would recommend speaking to Fintan who is usually at the Blanchardstown Anicare hospital.

I would NOT have the scan done anywhere in Ireland except through UCD.

There are many other things a vet needs to check for first before doing a very expensive referral for an MRI -- expect to pay in the region of euro1000 in Ireland.

Charlifarley
14th April 2009, 12:30 AM
Thanks Karlin,
Yes I am going through the process with my vet, checking and ruling out other things first, it looks likely that MRIs will be needed, but I was just wondering if UCD was the only place offering MRIs or if there was somewhere less expensive.

-leah-
14th April 2009, 06:55 PM
Just wanted to update you all on how Holly is getting on. As the days go by she is showing less and less symptoms of SM, no more head-rubbing, tail-chasing rituals in the bathroom or big scratches before she jumps down off the bed. So it looks like it was pain that was causing her to do these things so I guess now the next step is an MRI. In a way I'm relieved even though this means she prob has SM at least now that we know what's wrong and she go can be put on a treatment programme and live a happy pain-free life. We are going back to the vet on Thursday so I'll let you all know how we get on.. :thmbsup:

Karlin
14th April 2009, 07:03 PM
To get a diagnostic MRI that is really about the typical cost. You could take the ferry over to the UK and get a minimal MRI done but these are really for breeders to assess breeding dogs, not for caring for affected dogs, and by the time you add in the costs of travel it will likely work out around the same. MRIs are expensive because the machines cost millions. It is important IMHO to go someplace that has expertise in doing MRIs for this condition.

For both of you: if I had dogs that were symptomatic and medications helped, that is a pretty clear sign that they have SM and I'd question the value of getting an MRI given the cost. Unless you feel you will be opting for or considering decompression surgery -- in which case you need an MRI -- I would work with a vet and neurologist who is willing to treat on the basis of clinical signs. For example, if a dog responds to frusemide and/or gabapentin there aren't many other things it could be than SM.

tupup
14th April 2009, 07:09 PM
im so glad youve seen an improvement in Holly leah even tho' it confirms your fears, theres a relief in knowing what youre dealing with isnt there. a plan of action also helps! Good luck for thursday x

-leah-
14th April 2009, 07:12 PM
To get a diagnostic MRI that is really about the typical cost. You could take the ferry over to the UK and get a minimal MRI done but these are really for breeders to assess breeding dogs, not for caring for affected dogs, and by the time you add in the costs of travel it will likely work out around the same. MRIs are expensive because the machines cost millions. It is important IMHO to go someplace that has expertise in doing MRIs for this condition.

For both of you: if I had dogs that were symptomatic and medications helped, that is a pretty clear sign that they have SM and I'd question the value of getting an MRI given the cost. Unless you feel you will be opting for or considering decompression surgery -- in which case you need an MRI -- I would work with a vet and neurologist who is willing to treat on the basis of clinical signs. For example, if a dog responds to frusemide and/or gabapentin there aren't many other things it could be than SM.

Hi Karlin, Holly is on Metacalm at the moment and is responding well to it although she's not symptom free. Have you any experience with using Metacalm for dogs with SM or have you heard anything about it? At our last visit to the vet she said the plan was that if Holly responded to the meds then she should be scanned. She's insured so I presume that why the vet is pushing for her to be scanned :confused:

Karlin
14th April 2009, 07:40 PM
Well I just think that unless there's a good specific reason to scan the dog -- either the owner wants an exact knowledge of what is happening and have Sm confirmed by MRI rather than indications from clinical symptoms, or to scan for breeding or research -- I would not personally scan. I have scanned all four of my dogs for research and for one of those, also diagnosis to consider whether to go for surgery.

Metacam is the lowest level starting point for treatment as you can see on Clare Rusbridge's treatment document which I think you downloaded?

Vets would likely push to have an MRI done to get a definite diagnosis. I just think that given the cost of this one testing tool, and (as a lesser issue) that it involves using general anaesthesia which always carries a slight risk, and if the dog is symptomatic for SM and everything else has been pretty much ruled out, I'd hold firm on avoiding an MRI unless I was considering the option of surgery.

If metacam isn't enough then definitely the vet should be thinking of going on t the next step of Clare's treatment diagram which is generally something like frusemide.

Everyone is different though -- this is just what I would do. If I had a younger symptomatic dog I'd probably MRI to see what the situation was because I'd be more likely to opt for surgery given that early symptoms tend to mean a more severe form of SM where medications may not help for very long.

There are no definite answers for anyone -- and no definite ways of proceeding with this condition.

You can also ask for a basic neurology referral without opting for an MRI.

-leah-
15th April 2009, 12:15 AM
I think I did download that treatment programme it must be on the other computer. I will have to discuss all options with the vet on thursday. Personally I'd like to have her scanned just so that we know for definite and so that we know the location and size of the syrinxes.

Also I just realised if Holly does have SM I will be the only one at home without a neurological illness, my Mam has multiple sclerosis and Bailey has epilepsy. It's a strange life eh?!

-leah-
22nd April 2009, 10:53 PM
So, Holly was back with the vet last Thursday, I don't really have anything to report as our consult was interrupted by an emergency. However the vet was happy enough when I told her that Holly was responding well to the Metacam and she said we'll speak about getting her scanned when I'm finished my exams.

Also, I think I mentioned in a previous post that Holly has a luxating patella, three weeks ago it was just about a grade one and on Thurday the vet thought it felt worse and that she needs surgery but not until she loses more weight.

Anyway, for the past three weeks Holly has been on Metacam and pretty much symptom-less apart from the odd scratch, except for today when she has been scratching, paw-licking and head-rubbing for most of the evening. Is it normal for dogs to have flare-ups like this even when on meds? Should I call the vet and let her know?

Karlin
23rd April 2009, 01:45 AM
It's normal, and metacam is generally only a very basic pain reliever. Some dogs do OK only on metacam but for most (at least most affected dogs that I know of) it eventually isn't adequate. Also changing weather -- pressure drops as unsettled weather comes in -- often affects cavaliers with SM Leo is always more symptomatic during weather like today, as rainy weather moves in.

-leah-
23rd April 2009, 06:51 PM
I had to pop into the vet today to collect Bailey's montly perscription. It was the vet herself who served me so I just mentioned it to her about how Holly was acting yesterday she just said to keep a close eye on her and if she continues showing symptoms to bring her back in and we will discuss a different treatment.