View Full Version : New here Puppy with curve in spine

13th November 2009, 04:49 PM
I just found this site.
I am the new owner of an 11 week onld Cavalier puppy, Ruby Mae. We have had her a week and are already deeply in love with her.

I have noticed that her rib cage juts out on the right, almost looks like she has scoliosis. She went to the vet last night who suggested Xrays. In my own search today I have found this wonderful site!

Of course now I am terrified she has SM. She also yelps when we pick her up; not all the time but enough that we thought it odd. We are super careful.
I am so sad. I have a 9 yo child and this is her first dog.

P.S. I have already put a call in to my vet asking her to read about SM in Cavaliers before we proceed.

Any insight welcome
thanks so much

Margaret C
13th November 2009, 11:22 PM
Hello and welcome.

Ruby Mae is very young, I do so hope there is some other explanation for her symptoms.

Whatever the final diagnosis there is a lot of knowledgeable owners here who will offer advice and support.

I will keep my fingers crossed for you and your little cavalier :xfngr:

14th November 2009, 01:18 AM
Welcome, and I too hope you find some other answer than SM. XRays are the place to start, but xrays won't reveal whether a dog has SM. Because scoliosis can be linked to SM in puppies, I would be cautious about doing anything invasive (eg surgery) to treat any suspected spinal problems without getting the opinion of a neurologist as well.

Have you spoken to the puppy's breeder? A good, reputable breeder will be helpful and also will wish to know if there are any serious concerns such as SM as knowing this will help them in making decisions about their breeding programme.

If your puppy is yelping at times, I'd be quite careful in handling her and not have your child handle her until you understand better what is going on. Be sure to support her fully and not lift 'under the arms', but by holding her under her belly and supporting hind legs too. I would also raise her dishes to make eating easier, so she doesn't have to lower her head.

Best of luck as you work through this with your vet and let us know what happens. :flwr:

14th November 2009, 01:28 AM
Thanks so much for your replies and well wishes.

I had a long conversation with my vet. She had already called into an orthpedic specialist to ask about Ruby Mae. She could feel something along her spine and rib junction, it was raised. He mentioned something called MCE, mutiple cartilagenous exostois.

My vet feels the Xrays are still the way to go to start.
I called the breeder last night. I didn't find her very helpful, a bit defensive actually.

We are hoping and praying it is something not serious for our new little family member.

Jo mom to RubyMae

14th November 2009, 11:28 AM
Depending on where you are, you may have significant recourse back to the breeder and at minimum should be able to take her to small claims court to cover some of your costs. If you have only had the puppy a week the pup should have been cleared by a vet before being sent. I have a long post on legal recourse for sickly puppies in the Health Library I believe. If the breeder is a member of the national CKCS Club or the puppy is registered with the national breed registries (eg AKC or KC in the UK) you can report them (this has more teeth if they are in a breed club). As soon as you get a diagnosis be sure to send a polite registered letter with the diagnosis to the breeder and indeed I would do that now, noting that you contacted her on X date and got X response and that the letter is to note this. Keep a copy of the letter and file it.

I know we will be hoping for a result for you that enables you to most easily resolve whatever is wrong with your little pup.

I would again just caution against accepting any orthopedic solution without talking to a neurologist as well -- so many cavaliers with SM have incorrectly been diagnosed with spine and knee problems and undergone surgeries that can only have created greater pain during the long recovery and then the problem of course doesn't go away because the wrong cause was assumed. There is also a high incidence of disk problems and knee problems in the breed so this or other conditions are perfectly possible, but as scoliosis is a very common early sign in younger dogs with SM and as such early signs really mean time is of the essence in getting a diagnosis and considering your best options, you just want to be absolutely sure you are not going down the wrong treatment path.

The difficulty as I am sure the orthopedist will note is that only an MRI will diagnosis SM. At the same time orthopedists are not familiar with SM and may assume an orthopedic problem that actually is not due to the causes that they would normally suspect. There's still a very low awareness amongst vets and other specialists about SM or the incidence in cavaliers, especially in parts of the world where cavaliers are not very common. So it is easy for a misdiagnosis from a specialist who is very sure they are seeing something else.

Hope so much it is something that can be easily addressed, but at the same time, do be sure to hold your ground on a thorough investigation of possibilities as so many here have been dismissed by specialists and vets only to eventually find, sometimes month or years later, that their dog was treated for all the wrong things and did indeed have SM.