View Full Version : Help!

18th May 2011, 10:32 PM
Luka, my 2.5 year old Tri Color is having some sort of Seizure activity. It is fairly new and we don't know what it is. If you have any advice please send it my way before we head to a neurologist. Here is a video of what is going on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfVfbEv3f54

Thanks in advance.

18th May 2011, 10:43 PM
Definitely take the video with you to show the neurologist. That looks a lot like what my Clancy experienced at around the same age. We went to the ER, but no diagnosis was made (since it was over by the time we got there). About nine months later he had his first grand mal seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy.

18th May 2011, 11:06 PM
Definitely take the video with you to show the neurologist. That looks a lot like what my Clancy experienced at around the same age. We went to the ER, but no diagnosis was made (since it was over by the time we got there). About nine months later he had his first grand mal seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy.

I will at least have an idea of what to look for.

19th May 2011, 12:20 AM
She just looked at this and her dog also had a seizure like that.... she thinks epilepsy but maybe not. Good luck!!! Report back on what you find out

19th May 2011, 12:54 AM
Praying it's something easy to contain.

19th May 2011, 01:35 AM
I have seen many seizures, syncopal episodes and vestibular incidents over the years - but I'd bet my next (albeit layperson!) paycheck that this is SM related scratching and is not related to epilepsy or seizure, syncope or vestibular. Look carefully at the rear left leg which is making a lot of obsessive scratching motions - sometimes making contact and sometimes not (phantom) - which is throwing him off balance as he walks. He seems to be scratching his side rather than his neck.

Rod's site lists neurologists in Washington state that are familiar with SM (in RED) - here is a link:


If this were my Cavalier, I'd quickly make an appointment with one of the neurologists familiar with SM.

Best wishes,


19th May 2011, 07:21 AM
I live in Washington also and my girl, Ruby was diagnosed with SM a few weeks ago.
We went to the VCA Specialty Center in Lynnwood. Dr. Kline is great and very kind. I believe she can help you if you haven't found anywhere to go yet. (I'm sure that link is a great resource too!)
I hope you get this solved soon so you and your sweet dog can feel better soon. :)

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19th May 2011, 07:24 AM
I just saw the link. Dr. Karen Kline is listed in red which means she knows her stuff.
Hang in there, and please let us know how things go.
Praying for you... :)

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Margaret C
19th May 2011, 10:52 AM
It certainly looks as if it could be SM related scratching. I would agree with Pat about consulting an experienced neurologist.

Love my Cavaliers
19th May 2011, 02:08 PM
I agree it looks like SM. My SM girl has vestibular episodes and while they look somewhat like that (the circling) they are also very different and i've also had a dog who has had grand mal seizures and they are truly different from that. I agree with Pat, take this video to a neurologist ASAP so they can get your baby on medication and hopefuly make him/her more comfortable. Let us know what happens.

19th May 2011, 02:14 PM
My SM girl has vestibular episodes and while they look somewhat like that (the circling) they are also very different and i've also had a dog who has had grand mal seizures and they are truly different from thatClancy's grand mal seizures look nothing like that. But prior to progressing to that point, he did have an episode that resembled the one in the video.

19th May 2011, 04:53 PM
SM may not be familiar to you -- it stands for syringomyelia and is, sadly, a widespread neurological disease in the breed. Many of us here have dogs with the condition -- three of my fives cavalier have it to varying degrees; two quite mild and one moderate, treated with a couple of medications daily. Surgery is also an option to consider if you get this diagnosis.

There's more information here:


The first site, which I set up, has a number of videos of cavaliers with various degrees of Sm which you may find useful. The second site has lots of info on the condition and lists of neurologists far more up to date than mine. The third is the SM FAQ from neurologist Dr Clare Rusbridge, generally considered the leading expert on the condition.

Let us know what a neurologist says. I would urgently try to get a referral as this type of activity indicates a considerable degree of discomfort and potential pain. Please let us know what you hear back -- there's lots of support here whatever the diagnosis.

19th May 2011, 06:18 PM
Perhaps you could have a look at this site as well:-


I do hope you manage to get a diagnosis for him soon to enable the best treatment for him

Thinking of you.


19th May 2011, 06:58 PM
I don't think episodic falling because there's no collapse, but it is worth looking at the videos there too for comparison.

I do think this is likely to be SM -- that foot banging and the fact that he has to stop to scratch at times, plus that C shape his body makes are all typical for SM -- would strongly recommend seeing a neurologist and bringing along this video to show or bring the URL. I don't think this is a seizure at all but an SM pain episode. I think you will find some of these SM cavalier videos have similar elements:


19th May 2011, 10:33 PM
Having two cavaliers with Episodic Falling I have to say the video does not present with anything I recognise as an EF seizure.

Cathy T
20th May 2011, 03:20 AM
Please let us know how things go. I concur with the above suggestions to see a neurologist. The behavior is very similar to what my girl does although her symptoms are not as strongly pronounced. To me, it doesn't look like a fit or seizure but rather an SM related episode. Many pronounced SM symptoms....but don't panic, see a neurologist for guidance.

20th May 2011, 05:53 AM
Update: Luka had an extensive physical exam today and blood was drawn. He has to have an MRI tomorrow morning. He's in decent spirits in between the Seizure-like episodes. The specialist noted that he has some pain and discomfort in his neck area and reassured me that the worst case scenario Spyringomyelia is treatable as I cried like a bumbling idiot.

Dr Kline was very kind, she noted that he had pain and discomfort in the neck area, she also said it could be a number of things. I showed her the various videos. I will keep everyone posted!

Thanks for your support.

20th May 2011, 09:19 AM
Best of luck with the MRI. At least when you have a diagnosis the vet will know what and how to treat.

20th May 2011, 11:47 AM
Just thinking of you and Luka...hoping all is going okay. :hug:

20th May 2011, 12:40 PM
Let us know how things go. I have to be honest though and say treatment is very variable with SM and is generally an attempt to address pain as long as possible -- the specialist you spoke to is a bit underinformed :(. There are ways to attempt to address the pain, but no way to cure it, and it usually continues to progress -- surgery in some cases does stop progression but will not always help symptoms that have already occured due to existing neurological damage; medications only cover the pain and will not halt progression. It is very hard to predict what will happen in the case of any individual dog though the younger the dog is showing symptoms the more severe the case usually is and the more important to decide on a treatment approach. The links I gave will provide a lot of background.

Many, many of us on the board have had or currently have dogs with this condition with a wide range of outcomes. Clare Rusbridge's neurovet site provides the most detailed information.

After the MRi and additional tests you will know a lot more -- please feel free to talk to us all at any time and ask any questions as so many have been through this and know exactly what you are going through, as well as the tests and treatment options.

20th May 2011, 03:07 PM
I certainly hope you have a good outcome for your little dog..best wishes to you.

20th May 2011, 03:08 PM
You are in my prayers.... every day I pray that Gracie will not have to be treated for this someday. But we all know is it a possibility.

20th May 2011, 08:45 PM
It's been confirmed that Luka has Syringomyelia. Well now time to research how to best help him and make his life as comfortable as possible.

Love my Cavaliers
20th May 2011, 09:25 PM
I'm so sorry you got that diagnosis and that Luka has joined many other dogs on this board with the sam dreadful disorder. Was his SM diagnosed by a neurologist? If so, wasn't he given any medications to keep him comfortable? Most dogs are at least started on gabapentin - for some it works for others it doesn't. Unfortunately, you sometimes have to play around with the medication and the dosages until you get the right cocktail for your dog.

If you haven't seen a neurologist, I would strongly suggest that you take the disc of the MRI to one who is familiar with SM so you can start Luka on meds right away and relieve some of his pain. At least you've started down the path so you can get him some help. I also have a dog with SM. She was severely affected and had surgery almost 3 years ago. She's doing great right now and is a really happy dog. Good luck with Luka.

20th May 2011, 10:19 PM
He was diagnosed by the Neurologist today, so when I pick him up I am sure she will give me medication regiment to follow. I bought some feeding dishes that are higher up and new water dishes.

Not sure what exactly the protocol will be, but now is the time for management of his discomfort. I am not sure we can afford the surgery. Right now I need to get as educated as I can.

I emailed the breeder.

20th May 2011, 10:52 PM
I'm so sorry your Luka has this dreadful disease. You seem to be doing everything you can at the moment-making Luka comfortable, educating yourself on the disease and e-mailing the breeder. You can then make an informed rationale decision as to what the next step will be.

Margaret C
20th May 2011, 11:01 PM
It's been confirmed that Luka has Syringomyelia. Well now time to research how to best help him and make his life as comfortable as possible.

I am so sorry.

There is a lot of us here with SM dogs. We will help and support you all we can.

Thank you for informing Luka's breeder, people do need to know when they have produced a SM cavalier.

21st May 2011, 12:18 AM
Ruby, my 2 year old tri-color also sees Dr. Kline. She's great! :)
Please feel free to email me! My email address is: surfdiva22@gmail.com
We can help eachother out I'm sure. My girl was just diagnosed a few weeks ago. Her medicine has made a huge difference and she is acting like her old self again! Please don't be sad, there's hope. Also, everyone here is very helpful!
Hang in there, and don't hesitate to write! Maybe we can meet at the park sometime and our little guys can play! :)

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21st May 2011, 12:54 AM
Sending lots of love to you and Luka. I am so sorry to hear of the diagnosis, I do not have experience in it myself, but I know a lot do on this board and will no doubt be of endless support to you.

21st May 2011, 01:12 AM
I looked at the MRI and know why Dr Kline didn't mention it. Luka has cysts down his entire spinal cord.

22nd May 2011, 08:34 PM
I am sorry you have had this diagnosis. You should definitely have a longer talk with Dr Kline about the MRI, possible treatment approaches, her guess on prognosis with different routes of care. It is hard to initially take in, I know. I was in shock with the first cavalier I had diagnosed. It can be hard to know what to ask at the time, but the neuro should take the time to explain the MRI to you.

You will likely see a quick improvement in symptoms with some pain medications like gabapentin. That alone can help give you some breathing space to think about what you will wish to do. There are no right or wrong approaches as long as the goal is pain relief for as long as we can provide it. We all choose many different approaches depending on many different factors.

23rd May 2011, 03:35 AM
So sorry. We are all here to support you! :hug::hug:

23rd May 2011, 09:14 PM
I am another one who is so sorry that you have had this diagnosis. It's such a shock and difficult to believe at first that your Cavalier has this disease.

And I am another Forum member who's dog has SM. Rebel has curvature of the spine as well, although you would never believe it to watch him move.

Apart from that Rebel is one of the luckier SM dogs in that he did not have any symptoms at all until a few months ago, (he is 8 1/2 yrs old) but then he got really badly, but I would rather not think of that terrible time, because he has been stablised on a low dose of Frusemide, 20 mg twice a day.

I wonder if the 'cysts' you have seen on the CD are in fact syrinxes, i.e. pockets of fluid showing up white on the scan.

Have you looked at the Stone Lion site on the internet. Clare Rusbridge gives some really good explanations of the disease, it's effects and possible treatments. My vet thinks her treatment matrix is marvelous :D

We are all here for you, as the others have said. Keep in touch please.

23rd May 2011, 11:36 PM
Hi Flo, sorry to hear about Rebel and glad frusemide has helped.

Sometimes 'cysts' is used as an alternative term for syrinxes but it means the same thing -- confusing for us laypeople trying to understand what is going on!