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View Full Version : The odds of SM? (And Prednisone-weaning update!)



jessie22
22nd May 2011, 07:03 AM
Hi everybody,
I've been wondering this a while now and can't find anything online to answer this question. Is there an estimate in how many Cavaliers will have SM that is symptomatic? I guess what I'm wondering is, an example like: 1 in 20? (that's just a random number, not a guess)
I've seen very wide ranges, I believe one was 30-70%. I was having dinner with my dad tonight and he asked me this too. I have been educating myself the best I can, but have no clue on this one.
Just wondering, thanks!
--Oh, I also want to let you know that Ruby is doing well on her Prednisone weaning. We're down to just 5mg a day and I'm proud to report as of 10:30 tonight she is sound asleep! No more nighttime crazies! :) She will stay this way until 7am when she wakes up regulary each morning now! Much better!
I hope this finds everyone who reads this well. :l*v:

Love my Cavaliers
22nd May 2011, 02:24 PM
Oh you must feel so much better. 5 mg is a tolerable dose. I think you said though that she will be weaned even further down. Must be nice to be getting a full night's sleep. Sorry I can't answer your other question. I'm sure someone else will chime in though.

Karlin
22nd May 2011, 02:38 PM
The evidence is that there's likely AT LEAST a 70% risk for SM over a dog's lifetime. This is the average that showed on some early scanning projects but close to a 70% overall figure came up for a huge study sample of 800 cavaliers broken into four age groups of 200 cavaliers each, which is not yet published. These cavaliers were primarily breeder's dogs and were all clinically without any symptoms whatsoever as confirmed by a neurologist exam at the time of scanning. Te percentage showing syrinxes amongst these dogs -- again, all without showing any symptoms -- rose steadily with each age group, rising from about a fourth of cavaliers under 2-3 to over 60% in those over 6.

Given that such a group excluded any dogs with symptoms, one would have to guess that at least 10 per cent more cavaliers age 6 plus would scan WITH syrinxes if you added in dogs that show some type of symptom(and I see a lot of varied degrees of unexplained scratching in older dogs that come in via rescue or belong to neighbours, probably SM related but thankfully very mild and likely never to be a serious worry).

So overall I think an estimate of at least 70% of all cavaliers having syrinxes in a lifetime is probably correct and sadly I think, still likely to be conservative.

Davecav
22nd May 2011, 03:54 PM
But not all of the 70% will be symptomatic??

My two girls who lived into early teens definitely didn't show any symptoms, though they hadn't been scanned so may well have been asympomtatic without me being aware.

I have met cavaliers with mild symptoms of scratching and hopping and rubbing head etc, so can catagorically say mine did none of these, nor were they light sensitive or sensitive to touch etc.

My current cavalier is from tested and clear parents so all I can do is keep :xfngr: :xfngr:

Karlin
22nd May 2011, 04:25 PM
In the 800 cavalier sample of dogs with no symptoms and of all ages, over 60% of the 200 dogs over 6 had syrinxes. As that entire collection of 800 dogs had no symptoms, yes, it indeed suggests that many dogs will have the condition and show no symptoms (or to put it another way, probably most dogs with the condition will show no symptoms -- which is why I strongly disagree with suggestions from some professionals that almost any dog scanning with a syrinx should have the surgery to address it --lots clearly make it well into or completely through life with no or mild symptoms. I think such decisions must be case by case dependent on scan results, symptoms and signs of progression, the same approach taken for humans with CM/SM), but also indicates the actual percentage of cavaliers that will get SM over their entire lifetime is considerably higher than 60+% as no symptomatic dogs were included. It is a shocking level for any disease in an entire breed, especially one so potentially painful and devastating and costly to diagnose and treat.

Consider that many breeders using the low cost scheme in the UK for scans have said they believed that 50% with syrinxes of those scanned dogs was probably about average, going from their own results and those of friends. Those would almost certainly primarily be younger dogs, aged 2-5, still in breeding age as those are the ones most breeders would wish to scan for their own breeding information. So that would underrepresent the likely level of affectedness over a lifetime as SM is a progressive disease.

When I spoke to one of the scanning neurologists a couple of years ago, he told me the scanning schemes were producing 'more with than without' in results. Again this would mostly likely be groups of dogs with no visible symptoms as these are the dogs breeders are most likely to wish to scan for breeding programmes.

sins
22nd May 2011, 04:33 PM
But not all of the 70% will be symptomatic??

This is a statement that's becoming all too familiar on Cavalier Lists and I have to admit,it troubles me deeply.
I think it's little more than a salve to try to ease the troubled consciences of breeders who know they may be passing on affected puppies to buyers.
It's a kind of a get out clause which allows a breeder permission to absolve himself/herself of responsibility for not even doing the minimum to reduce the incidence of SM in the breed.
It's simply not good enough to attempt to fob off the general public with such remarks.
There may be some pockets of fools out there who are actually willing to believe that fluid filled cavities on the spinal cord is a benign condition.
The cavalier buying customers deserve better than that.
It's a pity they're not getting it.
Sins

Karlin
22nd May 2011, 04:37 PM
Yes, well said Sins. Given that many experts feel succeeding generations are more severely affected, and that many would be breeding affected dogs if they are not being scanned because 'my dogs have no signs of SM', and these are more likely to produce offspring with SM -- and that it is still a serious medical issue if an animal is as a matter of course developing fluid pockets in the spine -- it's clear that scanning all breeding dogs is critical, and that lowering incidence and hopefully one day eradicating this condition and MVD has to be of the utmost priority for breeders.

PS So glad the prednisone weaning is going well, Jessie. :)

Davecav
22nd May 2011, 05:12 PM
This is a statement that's becoming all too familiar on Cavalier Lists and I have to admit,it troubles me deeply.
I think it's little more than a salve to try to ease the troubled consciences of breeders who know they may be passing on affected puppies to buyers.
It's a kind of a get out clause which allows a breeder permission to absolve himself/herself of responsibility for not even doing the minimum to reduce the incidence of SM in the breed.
It's simply not good enough to attempt to fob off the general public with such remarks.
There may be some pockets of fools out there who are actually willing to believe that fluid filled cavities on the spinal cord is a benign condition.
The cavalier buying customers deserve better than that.
It's a pity they're not getting it.

Sins
I agree, but I wasn't trying to make excuses, I'm just trying to get my head round it all.

If such a large % show no signs of having SM, but if were scanned, this would show a different picture, then I can visualise the scenario where in the past - maybe very many years ago, this condition has managed to go undetected (because MRI scanning wasn't avaialble, and maybe there were a lot fewer cases?) who knows?

I think it's important for dogs to be scanned as this is the only way, at present, to try and begin to breed pups with a better chance of not developing the condition in the future.
At least if breeders scan, they will know what they've got in their kennel/household, and won't be able to make the excuse that they've not got it. And also they can make informed breeding decisions.

jessie22
22nd May 2011, 06:08 PM
Thanks Karlin and Sins! :) I love how even if it isn't "happy and fun" Cavalier info, I learn heaps just the same here on this forum.
--Oh, Ruby slept until 8 this morning! It's a new record! ;)


-- Sent from my Palm Pre using Forums (http://developer.palm.com/appredirect/?packageid=com.newnessdevelopments.forums)

HollyDolly
22nd May 2011, 06:20 PM
If such a large % show no signs of having SM, but if were , then I can visualise the scenario where in the past - maybe very many years ago, this condition has managed to go undetected (because MRI scanning wasn't avaialble, and maybe there were a lot fewer cases?) who knows?



I purchased my first Cavalier in 1977, at the age of 7 he started having screaming fits. He would stand rigid and just scream and scream. My vet was at a loss and referred him to a small animal hospital where he underwent a mylogram, that proved a negative exam as nothing showed up. He also underwent neck manipulation and was put in a surgical collar for 6 weeks again a useless treatment. My vet has Nemo screaming on video and is now 100% convinced that he was suffering from SM.
So yes I am sure many cavaliers born many many years ago went undiagnosed.

Nanette

Karlin
22nd May 2011, 07:55 PM
Gosh Nanette that must have been terribly distressing. :( I know a lot of breeders say they used to regularly see scratching cavaliers and often this was referred to as 'the scratching disease' in cavaliers, though no one knew what caused it or what it was. Neurologist Geoff Skerritt told me he had a case in the 70s as well. A neighbour here in Ireland told me of a family member with a cavalier in the 70s or early 80s that could not be touched anywhere and screamed and couldn't be walked without scratching and complaining so the dog eventually got extremely fat due to hardly being able to move for pain, then was eventually pts. Almost certainly a case of SM.