View Full Version : Possible SM symptoms?

Love my Cavaliers
11th September 2010, 11:33 PM
Having one severely affected SM dog, I have a tendency to look at all my dogs through an SM lens. So, please help me determine whether I am just being a worry wort or whether I should press further with Madison - the one dog out of my four without any identified health issues so far. For the past several months I have noticed that she has become hesitant when jumping up on the couch and chairs. She will look like she wants to and will move her feet like a little dance and sometimes jump, sometimes not. She always makes it when she does jump. But, she hesitates more often than not, although sometimes she just jumps up like she always had. She reminds me of Riley who has difficulty jumping because of her SM, although she manifests it differently than Riley. Riley circles to gather up steam before she jumps and only makes the jump about half of the time. In the bedroom Madison uses Rileys' stairs up to the bed - always, without fail. The bed is a little higher than the sofa or chairs.

Other things that make me wonder are - Madison has always hated being petted on the top of her head, and we have had her since she was 10 weeks old so no abuse issues there. I know a lot of dogs don't like it, but she seems abnormally averse to it, especially in comparison to my other three. She also frequently urinates at night and when left for long stretches during the day (which is rare since I work out of my house). I wish I could tell you when it started but I thought it was Riley peeing at night for the longest time when she would have a seizure at night.Finally figured out it was Madison. I put a diaper on her at night. She has been checked out by an internist and had so many tests to check for abnormalities and has tried so many medications but she is very normal anatomically and no medication helped. She was spayed at about 9 months of age, before her first season. Also related to urinating, when going for a walk, she will give a little whimper when peeing. I always interpreted it as not wanting to stop to pee because the other dogs weren't stopping and she didn't want to get left behind but she does it when she's on a walk by herself, so maybe there's something else to it. She does not whimper when peeing out in the yard.

I took her to her vet yesterday for some blood work and an exam and of course she moved beautifully and jumped on every chair and couch easily. I should get the results of the blood work on Monday. The vet is thinking maybe a little arthritis (she will be 7 years old on the 18th of this month), but I'm just wondering if her symptoms could all add up to something more. Maybe some SM related weakness causing the incontinence and the jump hesitancy? Am i being crazy? Looking for something that's not there? I know it's important to look at the whole picture but I also know it's important not to jump the gun. Any thoughts?

Cathy Moon
12th September 2010, 05:14 AM
Bev, I'm just throwing out some ideas.

Has she been checked for a urinary tract infection or crystals in her urine? Her behavior just sounds so much like my India's when she was having UTIs and her urine pH was out of balance.

I hope this doesn't sound silly, but could she possibly have any little mats or knots in her hair that are pulling her skin? Sometimes, no matter how well mine are brushed/groomed, I'll find a little mat that was missed on the back of a leg or behind an ear, and these can cause a lot of discomfort and affect their behavior.

How is her weight? Does the vet feel she is at an optimum weight for her frame? Being overweight could make it difficult to jump on furniture.

Has she had a dental check/x-rays recently? Our India had a tooth that was cracked below the gumline - it was found in a dental full mouth x-ray. She had been eating her kibble fine, but the dentist said it would have been causing her a lot of pain.

If you can't find anything else that could be causing her problems, you might want to have a neuro exam to determine if she's in pain and where it is.

Margaret C
12th September 2010, 10:15 AM
I would agree with the suggestion that you get Madison checked for UTI.
My little Bridgette had similar uncontinence problems. She ended up with having an enormous bladder stone removed

The problem with SM is that affected dogs can display such a range of slight symptoms. They may have other causes, they may be due to a syrinx.
Very difficult when the dog is middle aged and could be developing other age-related problems.

All I can say is that my poor SM cavalier Matthew disliked having the top of his head touched.
When I went to stroke him, my hand would always end on his neck. He would slightly duck & swerve his head in a way that was so smooth & practiced that it took me years to realise what he was doing.

Your description of Madison hesitating about jumping is also what I have seen here with my SM dogs, but of course it really only indicates that there is something that is making it difficult and painful for her to jump.

Sorry, not much help, but I do think that owners of SM dogs are very alert to changes in behaviour, and if the dog is doing something different then there is always a reason for that change.

12th September 2010, 04:23 PM
Yes agree as well with above posts. At 7 you could be seeing arthritis or disk disease too. It is so hard to know.

My 2 non-SM dogs hate being pet on the head as well -- this is actually so very common on so many dogs -- that it is just hard to say whether a medical issue is causing it. Neither would have ever had any abuse. At the same time I do think SM dogs will definitely avoid being touched on the head if this area gives pain.

You could def have spay incontinence but generally that is not too hard to resolve with Propalin or similar -- I think Nicki has some holistic remedies as well that she could suggest? Not sure about the whimpering. I wouldn't think just peeing would cause much difficulty for an SM dog though straining for bowel movements does cause pain for some.

Love my Cavaliers
12th September 2010, 06:02 PM
Thanks for all your suggestions. She is at a great weight. I try to keep my dogs very trim so she is definitely not overweight at all. She also was checked for a UTI and crystals, etc. when she had her extensive testing done by the internist and also by the vet. She was on propalin and we even tried estrogen for urinary incontinence - neither of which had any effect. She doesn't whimper or strain at all for bowel movements, just whimpers when peeing on a walk, but not in the back yard. Maybe it is that she doesn't want to stop walking. Cathy, even though she was just groomed last week, I took your suggestion and checked her over for mats or burrs, but couldn't find anything. She also had a dental three months ago so teeth are not a problem. Sorry - I seem to be knocking all of your great suggestions out of the water here!!

I get the blood results tomorrow and if nothing is awry then her vet wants to try her on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like metacam or rimadyl with the thinking that it may be arthritis or disk disease as Karlin suggested. It's just hard not to think about SM when one of your other dogs has been so severely affected and you start to see a similar symptom (the jump hesitancy). But, I'll try to be patient and wait for the blood work and give the NSAIDs a chance to work, if that is what is decided.

Again, thank you Cathy, Margaret,and Karlin for your caring responses.