View Full Version : Introduction and question about SM symptoms in puppy

2nd October 2011, 03:18 PM

I have just joined the site. My puppy Cavalier is called Bobby and he is 11 weeks old. He is from a Kennel Club Reputable breeder and both parents are heart and eye tested all clear. I think one parent was MRI scanned. So far he has had usual vaccinations, worming and puppy food and water. He has had his anal glands cleared a couple of times, the vet said quite normal and not bad at all. He also has dandruff which I have inspected and cannot see any evidence of movement/mites, so I think it is like baby cradle cap and seems to be getting better. I have a question about SM symptoms in puppies if anyone can help? Bobby has yelped unexpectedly a few times and put his head on the floor between his paws. He scratches at his collar which I think is because he is getting used to it. When you tickle his tummy on one side, his back leg twitches like a 'tickly' spot I have seen on previous dogs and cats. Am I being paranoid or should I get an MRI scan on him? It is keeping me awake at night, so any advice is very welcome.


2nd October 2011, 05:21 PM

1st off I would tell you not to stress too much just yet. These symptoms could be caused by other things as well. Has a vet checked his ears? Ear infections can cause similar scratching. Ear infections are not always visible. Actually I have never noticed an ear infections in my 3 but my vet has caught a few for me. They are very common in floppy eared dogs.

My pup came to me with a lot of dandruff. I would have a vet do a skin scraping ASAP! Not all mites are visible to the human eye. Some of these mites can even transfer to humans. Is your puppy missing any fur. I had a vet check my pup and thankfully no mites showed up. A bath and some good quality puppy food cleared it up completely after a few weeks. (I personally would not recommend waiting and seeing on mites. You just don't want to risk mites spreading around your house.) I would not jump right into an MRI. Allergies can also cause similar symptoms to SM. I would have a vet fully check him over and give it some time.

I have a Cavalier who as a puppy had very sever SM symptoms. I got him at 12 weeks and notices symptoms right away. The 1st symptom I noticed was he would always scratch at his collar. Normally puppies adjust to wearing the collar after a few days but he never did. He ended up scratching bald spots on his neck after a few weeks. Keep in mind my pup is an extreme case which is not "common". His symptoms progressed rapidly. By 6 months old his symptoms were extremely sever.

Here are 2 videos of his symptoms before medication.

1st: Here he was about 4 months old. This was his typical daily scratching that went on dozens of times a day. He also excessively licked his paws. The end of this video shows a small glimpse of his chronic licking.

2nd: Here is his face rubbing. It started gradually around 4-5 months but buy the time he was 6 1/2 months old the rubbing was chronic. It happened every time he was up and moving around. He had balding patches on his head from the rubbing.

2nd October 2011, 09:07 PM
Welcome to the forum, I'm so sorry to hear about your concerns. Reptigirl is right, you need to rule out other causes first. but do make sure your vet is familiar with the condition

these sites will help http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/ http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/ http://cavaliermatters.org/

This is quite upsetting to watch, but it does show a range of symptoms. I don't think poor Abbey is helped by being on a slippery floor :yikes You can see her movement at the back end is not too good, lameness etc can also be symptoms.

2nd October 2011, 09:15 PM
Thanks so much. I will keep an eye on the dandruff as I think it is getting better and if not will take him in for the scrape test. Same with the scratching, I will keep an eye on how much he scratches his ears. Thanks for the video links, sorry your pup has the condition. I am mostly concerned about the unexplained yelps, chin on the floor between paws and face rubbing and doubt I would have noticed the other symptoms without these. I will keep a diary over the next week and seek advice from the vet from there. It's hard to get the balance between being responsible and paranoid when you're a new pup owner. Thanks again.

2nd October 2011, 09:17 PM
Thank you Nicki for the links. I have a good relationship with my vet so will discuss his knowledge and seek his advice.

2nd October 2011, 09:35 PM
Welcome to the forum.

My Molly yelped from a young age. Even though sm was diagnosed at about 18 months, I am fairly certain the yelping was due to her luxating patella (dislocation of the knee cap) when you next visit the vet, I would get hime to check this. It is quite common in Cavaliers.

I have put together a website with short explanations of common conditions and diseases.

Look forward to seeing some photos of Bobby, I bet he is a real charming little fellow.


3rd October 2011, 03:33 PM
Thank you Tania. I love your guidebook on health matters. I will let you know how we get on. I'm not sure that I have access to upload photos yet, I think I'm in a queue for some kind of authorisation since I only joined yesterday.

3rd October 2011, 04:19 PM
My Harley now 3 years old has been diagnosed with SM about a month ago.
When I had him at 8 weeks he was scratching his ear, it cleared with drops but to this day it has reoccurred every 5/6 month or so. Recently he had his MRI Scan as SM was suspected not because of the scratching because he was continuously limping for 1 month. The scan also showed that he has PSOM and I am convinced that this coursed the scratching from when he was a pup. You can read up about POSM on here or on Cavalier Matters.

Wishing you all the best for Bobby.
I know itís hard to enjoy your pup when you are worried all the time, but try to enjoy every minute of Bobby being a puppy as this time is so precious and it goes far too quick.

3rd October 2011, 06:38 PM
Thank you Tania. I love your guidebook on health matters. I will let you know how we get on. I'm not sure that I have access to upload photos yet, I think I'm in a queue for some kind of authorisation since I only joined yesterday.

You should be able to post photos now, it's after the first two posts have been approved.

3rd October 2011, 07:31 PM
Have you talked to your puppy's breeder? As you say they have tested for hearts and eyes and you think one of the parent's has been MRI scanned; I would definitely have a word with them.

It he are a responsible breeder they will want to know, and anyway they might wish to see your puppy and observe his behaviour for themselves. How long have you had him? and how soon after buying him did you notice the behaviour?

Let's hope your worries are completely unfounded. Fingers crossed.

4th October 2011, 02:23 PM
Thanks All. I have a vet appointment tomorrow to check up on the anal glands which are definitely blocked again as he is 'scooting' and maybe this is causing the yelps which I'm counting are 2-3 a day over the last couple of days. I'll also check on the dandruff and mention the ear scratching then which again is a few times a day, not excessive. Once these are sorted and ruled out, I will monitor any more symptoms and go from there with the vet and the breeder. I will keep you posted and try and post some pictures too.

4th October 2011, 03:17 PM
I just saw your Avatar Picture and just wanted to comment on how incredibly ADORABLE your puppy is!!!! I love his markings! His little face is soooooo sweet.

Anyways I am no help with the other part, but just wanted to comment on the picture. Keep posting more!!!!

4th October 2011, 09:46 PM
Thank you so much, yes I will post more pics :)

4th October 2011, 10:50 PM
I am sure you Vet has probably already checked, but sometimes they may need an additional worming, and this can cause (worms) butt scooting.

I will make a suggestion. Before you begin talking about SM with your Vet......I would pick up dog insurance. There are several that will cover hereditary disorders like SM. But there is always a 30 day waiting period, AND it will be considered preexisting if you mention this to the Vet and they write it down in your files. Same with knee issues, etc.

So, not to scare you, but all this can be very expensive and I'd hate for you to be caught in a place where is was considered preexisting because you are mentioning it to the Vet.

Anyway, I use Petplan. I haven't had to make any claims, but choose it because of several people on here having it and being happy with them.

I'm sure others will chime in.

Puppies can be strange at times.....so just try to enjoy, and watch, but not worry. Okay? Welcome to CT.

4th October 2011, 10:54 PM
Oh, one more thing. My Claires skin was very dry the first few weeks I brought her home. I think between growing, and then changing her over to a premium food, it took a while for me to see the difference in her fur and skin.

But they both improved. Get a flea comb and uses it to loosen up the hair and dry skin. I bet you'll see an improvement in a few weeks.

5th October 2011, 08:54 AM
That's great advice. I only just got my lifetime pet plan cover so will only mention the anal glands and dandruff this morning at the vet! I'm hoping once these are gone, the symptoms will go, and if not, take further steps from there. Thanks.

5th October 2011, 10:09 AM
Hello and welcome to the board.icon_welcome
SM is an issue that all cavalier owners should be aware of,but I can't imagine that an 11 week old puppy would be displaying symptoms of SM.It has been documented in young puppies but it's so exceptionally rare.Usually if a syrinx develops it's much later onset.Personally I wouldn't even consider investigating for SM until closer to a year old and only if symptoms are evident.
At this point I would put the thought out of my mind and not allow it to detract from the enjoyment of the new puppy.
I always think of the experience of a reputable breeder not too long ago who sold a perfectly healthy puppy and it was PTS by a vet who believed a minor ailment was a symptom of SM.Only an expert neurologist is qualified to make that diagnosis and only after a consultation and investigative tests like an MRI scan.
As many have advised here,get a good pet insurance policy in case you need it at a later date.
I'd also recommend contacting the breeder for advice in management of minor ailments such as worming,diet and anal gland issues.
Your puppy looks lovely,a happy thriving little sweetheart.I hope you have many happy years of companionship with your new family member.
What colour were the parents?

5th October 2011, 05:02 PM
Thank you Sins. I was going out of my mind until I joined this forum and got such sensible advice. My vet treated the anal glands and dandruff today and all seems well. I didn't mention the other symptoms although I found myself getting paranoid at 5am this morning watching him scratch his ear, bite his leg, lick his crate, twitch his leg, etc, like you say it's probably normal puppy behaviour and I'm overanalysing! Thanks again. His parents are tricolour, as per my other thread has unusual untypical markings which are technically incorrect but very handsome all the same :)