View Full Version : Worried

3rd July 2009, 03:05 AM
I think I have read everything I could possibly read about SM this evening after seeing it mentioned on this site. What scared me was that my cavalier puppy Miles scratches his neck / ear area but not for long periods of time. It seemed normal to me. He has had a collar on for three weeks. He will also hop then sit and scratch quickly SOMETIMES when I take him out to potty or walk. Could this be early symptoms of SM? He is almost 5 months old. :?

Karen and Ruby
3rd July 2009, 09:32 AM
Its soo hard to tell and there are some interesting vids on you tube where people have filmed their dogs symptoms it may be worth having a look.
The problems can start early but the more information you have the better as we went through nearly 2 years of tests for allergies, organ trouble, xrays- you name it and it wasnt until i insisted and booked my own MRI that she finally got diagnosed.
Dont panic or worry yourself as he has got age on his side.
Make sure that he is treated for fleas and check that his ears are clean. check his skin condition is good and then move on from there.
If the scratching isnt persistent or long lasting or hapening very often then try not to worry.
Ruby has a very vacant expression on her face after and before she scratches as if she has forgotton where she is.
Keep a very close eye out for other symptoms propping up and if push comes to shove the only way to know is by MRI. its costly but worth it for peice of mind!
Karen and Ruby xx

3rd July 2009, 11:04 AM
Its prob not, i was convinced harley had sm, he shows a lot of the symptoms up very mildly or occasionally, the only ones that i would say concerned me was he shakes his head frequently esp when excited or walked, and yelps when pressure is applied to his neck area when playing.
It drove me so mad i asked my vet if i should have him scanned, he agreed and his has a chari malformation. As there is nothing they can basically do other than provide pain killers i would just wait and see, anything obsessive really, the neuologist i saw at the animal health trust said they probably have tingling sensations like pins and needles.
I certainly wouldnt scan him just for that, or give him pain killers. di

Love my Cavaliers
3rd July 2009, 01:48 PM
Puppies with new collars will scratch their neck - even for three weeks. Collars seem to take a lot of getting used to. One option is to try a harness (better for cavaliers anyway) and see if Miles still scratches his neck. Like Karen said, there are a lot of good videos of SM affected dogs - check out the ones Karlin has posted on this board. Just a note of caution though - Riley, my SM dog, showed almost none of the typical SM signs, no scratching, no bunny hopping, no yelping, just a lot of imbalance issues and weakness. Five months is young to be affected, so I would definitely switch to a harness first and then go from there. Good luck.

3rd July 2009, 02:14 PM
FWIW, our cavalier scratched terribly once I put a Lupine (brand) step-in harness on her. As it turned out, the raw edges of the harness were on the inside of the harness and bothering her skin! The store was very nice and exchanged it for another brand.

I tend to worry over every scratch and such, but dogs are dogs and they will scratch anyway. Right now we're battling skin allergies. I remind myself to wait until I see bigger symptoms that leave no doubt in my mind.

4th July 2009, 11:07 PM
Symptoms in puppies are very unlikely. They will sometimes have them but this is a progressive condition so symptoms tend to show up much later. To see symptoms before one or two is pretty unusual (but id they are seen in dogs this young, should always be seen to as this tends to indicate a more severe form of SM).

There are videos of dogs with SM showing a range of symptoms at www.smcavalier.com. Scratching tends to be for intense sessions, or air scratching. But many dogs with SM do not show scratching symptoms at all.

With a young pup, scratching like this is almost certain to be the collar.

Persistent scratching where you cannot get the dog to stop when you call to him, scratching especially when excited or on the lead, or air scratching are the more likely scratching symptoms for SM dogs. Scratching that is believed to be due to allergies but where no exact cause can be found are worth investigating with a neurologist, if attempts to isolate the allergy cause fail, especially if there are any other potential SM signs. There are some examples where treating a dog early with a CSF inhibitor drug has halted and even reversed syrinxes so I feel strongly that getting a diagnosis and starting some treatment early is important when there's any suspicion of SM. It is so easily misdiagnosed and precious time for treatment is then lost.

But with a puppy I'd not be worried unless you really are seeing strange behaviours.