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View Full Version : Extremely worried for my puppy



Manny
22nd August 2011, 05:31 AM
I am very attached to my cavalier and I am afraid to say that I've noticed symptoms of SM. I notice that he is very sensitive to being touched on the head. He also scratches his head a lot and then tries to bite his foot that he scratches with. I've observed that he chases his tail a lot too. I am so afraid to find out the bad news that he has SM that I have been losing sleep. Do you all recommend that I get a test done for this? I should note that he has learned several dog tricks. When I called the breeder that sold manny to me, she said his mother and father didn't carry the disease. She also claims that an infected dog with SM wouldn't be able to learn so many tricks, which I find hard to believe. Can you all please share your opinions and experiences with this. Thank you for your help and support.

Reptigirl
22nd August 2011, 07:01 AM
I am very attached to my cavalier and I am afraid to say that I've noticed symptoms of SM. I notice that he is very sensitive to being touched on the head. He also scratches his head a lot and then tries to bite his foot that he scratches with. I've observed that he chases his tail a lot too. I am so afraid to find out the bad news that he has SM that I have been losing sleep. Do you all recommend that I get a test done for this? I should note that he has learned several dog tricks. When I called the breeder that sold manny to me, she said his mother and father didn't carry the disease. She also claims that an infected dog with SM wouldn't be able to learn so many tricks, which I find hard to believe. Can you all please share your opinions and experiences with this. Thank you for your help and support.

WOW! I'm speechless!!!

First off Hi and welcome! I'm not too far from you in San Antonio! I own 3 affected Cavaliers....

Your breeder has stated that the mom and dad do not carry SM? That would mean BOTH mom and dad have been MRI scanned. Both parents should be scanned when they are over the age of 2.5 years old. They should also be rescanned every few years because they can develop SM later in life. You should have seen paper work stating the parents were MRI clear of SM. Sadly this is a line many breeders use but most don't actually have any proof to back it up. Without MRI scanning the parents the breeder would have NO way of knowing if the parents carry SM. Some dogs can have SM but not show the symptoms while others can show the symptoms and breeders don't notice them. Some breeders will show you vet paper work stating the puppies and/or parents have been checked by a regular veterinarian and have been found not be healthy. Overall this general check-up is not worth very much. Most regular vets doing know about SM and more would not pick it up on a check up. (Same with heart, hips & eyes. Regular vets tend to miss heart conditions until it has already progressed to a serious point. Both parents should have certificates stating there heart, hips & eyes have been checked out by specialists. This is pretty common with most dog breeds and relatively inexpensive for a breeder.)

I can't believe what the breeder said about him being unable to learn tricks if he had CM/SM! That really blows my mind! (But then again I have heard worse from the breeders of my own dogs.) My 12 week old pup came to me showing sever symptoms & was diagnosed by MRI at 6 months with sever CM. He is extremely symptomatic without medication! He is also the smartest dog I have ever owned. He was completely house broken 2 months after I got him ( by 6 months old) and easily knows over 25 different commands off lead. He knows both verbal & hand signals as well. While I'm sure there is a possibility that having sever neurological damage due to advanced CM/SM may cause them to have memory/learning difficulties I've ever heard of an SM dog being unable to learn. I know of many people with affected dogs who participate in competitive sports such as Obedience & Rally..


Has your pup been checked out by a regular veterinarian? I would highly recommend starting out at a vet to check for an ear infection or other possible causes 1st. If he has an ear infection, scratching at it could be painful. That would cause him to bite at his foot thinking it was the source of the pain. Cavaliers are also prone to Obsessive disorders. That could possibly be a cause for tail chasing.

If seeing a regular vet for other possibilities does not quickly resolve the issue I would be looking into a specialist. Lucky for you there is a neurologist familiar with SM in the Houston area.

I'm sure you will get lots of other responses as well! Hopefully it is related to something treatable like an ear infection!

ruvane
22nd August 2011, 07:27 AM
Manny, I'm sorry to hear about your puppy. Based on the symptoms you are describing it is possible he has SM. I second Reptigirl's suggestion. go to your vet and explain your concerns. What your breeder says makes me very angry...to my knowledge SM has no affect on a dog's ability to learn or general cognitive abilities, what a lame claim. As far as the claim that the sire and dam didn't carry the disease...I believe most Cavaliers are carriers for SM and almost all have CM. Did she have the sire and dam MRI scanned and shown clear of a syrinx, or is she just making this claim based on them being asymptomatic? Most Cavaliers that have SM are asymptomatic. I wish there was a way to make breeders like that accountable :x. Anyway, enough with the rant. You're in good company here with very knowledgeable owners so I hope if you will make yourself at home here.

penquite
22nd August 2011, 08:56 AM
I am very attached to my cavalier and I am afraid to say that I've noticed symptoms of SM. I notice that he is very sensitive to being touched on the head. He also scratches his head a lot and then tries to bite his foot that he scratches with. I've observed that he chases his tail a lot too. I am so afraid to find out the bad news that he has SM that I have been losing sleep. Do you all recommend that I get a test done for this? I should note that he has learned several dog tricks. When I called the breeder that sold manny to me, she said his mother and father didn't carry the disease. She also claims that an infected dog with SM wouldn't be able to learn so many tricks, which I find hard to believe. Can you all please share your opinions and experiences with this. Thank you for your help and support.



Hi Manny
Sorry to hear that you are worried about your puppy.
No Breeder can say that their dogs do not CARRY CM/SM as there is no DNA test as yet, and that is the only way to tell. All they can say is that they do not have CM/SM at the present time IF they have been MRI scanned clear and and have the certificate to prove this. I would ask to see the relevant paper work.
Many times what we think are SM symptoms may very well be due to other things. The only way to be sure is to see a neurologist and have a scan. Hope this helps.
All the best
Sue

Kate H
22nd August 2011, 10:03 AM
Hi Manny

Welcome! You don't say how old your puppy is - has he finished all his shots and being taken for walks? Ear mites are VERY common with Cavaliers and can cause intense irritation. At this time of year he could also have got a grass seed in his ear, which can be really painful and would cause him to flinch when touched. Biting his feet could be harvest mites. Chasing his tail could mean he's trying to lick or nibble his backside and needs his anal glands emptied - again, a very common condition with Cavaliers. Although you don't want your vet to waste years looking for allergies etc and missing SM symptoms (as some have done), there are - as I've indicated - a lot of other conditions that produce similar symptoms. This is part of the difficulty of diagnosing SM - some of us have wasted several years treating our dog for other things when it was really SM, but conversely, some of us have worried ourselves sick about what seem to be symptoms of SM and turn out not to be! A lot of vets still don't know much about it. And some dogs with SM never scratch (including my Oliver), so that in itself is not necessarily a symptom.

I should ask your vet to check for ear problems and anal glands before going to a neurologist. If nothing is found, then talk to your vet about taking it further. If your vet is unfamiliar with SM, you will find a lot of helpful stuff on the website of Clare Rusbridge, the leading UK researcher into SM - www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk (http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk) - which you can either print off to show your vet or suggest he or she looks at the website themselves.

Meanwhile, enjoy your puppy - even if he has got SM, it is not a death sentence and many Cavaliers with it lead normal, happy lives with medication or, in the case of younger dogs, surgery. My Oliver was diagnosed with SM when he was 6 (though with hindsight he had symptoms long before that) and is now 10 and still loves his 5-mile walks and camping holidays. Our vet keeps exclaiming how fit he is!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

PS Your breeder is in denial! And woefully ignorant - Oliver has only just retired from doing competition obedience, and his brain is very much still alert - he's becoming a very naughty old man, always thinking of new sorts of mischief!

GraciesMom
22nd August 2011, 02:06 PM
Gracie knows several tricks and has SM. Not related at all. An MRI scan is the only option to know for sure. I am sure that I know MUCH more about SM than either breeder involved in producing my Gracie. That is very sad but true.

I hope you have gotten pet insurance... that was a lifesaver for us. Lots of us here to support you.