View Full Version : Need some positive thoughts

2nd December 2011, 06:34 PM
The weather change here seems to be affecting all the Cavaliers but Blitz the most. He was great last night and this morning... running and bouncing...then sudden a SM attack. He went to jump on the couch with a small toy in his mouth and midjump started yelping and tried to run off screaming The worst of it only lasted about 1 minute but he is still uncomfortable. At first I thought maybe he pulled something but now it's the neck scratching and pawing his head. Gave him an extra dose of meds. We have storms rolling in as I type so I know that's what is triggering it.

I can get him into the GP vet today but I'm not sure there is anything else to be done? She has been taking my recommendations on treatment. She does not know much about SM. She has Clares Treatment plan on the top of our file. She really don't know much about the condition. Right now he is on 100mg Gabapentin 3X a day + Cimetidine. I have Rimadyl for pain as needed. Our neurologist wont deal with us anymore unless we take him up there (10 hours of driving round trip). I feel terrible because the drive just is not possible at the moment. Our neurologist has been blunt that he really is not a medically treatable dog and surgery is his only hope. I really don't feel surgery is fair for him after the life he has had. Personally I'm not liking our neurologist and I have been dealing more with my GP vet. Most days Blitz is happy and playful... but every time a storm or cold front comes in he gets set off.

Should I request an increase in Gabapentin? Whenever he has a "bad" day I usually give him an extra dose (or two) if really needed. But on good days he is nearly symptom free of his current dose. The last month he has started having a lot more bad days but this last month we have had multiple cold fronts and storms coming in. Should we just increase the dose just when he is having a bad day? Or all the time? I'm starting to think I should increase the dose the day before a cold front or storms are expected to hit?

SM is so frustrating!

Just needed to vent... Some days I feel so helpless

My son taking over "Comforting Blitz" duty:

2nd December 2011, 06:39 PM
I'm so sorry to hear this, keeping you and Blitz in our thoughts.

I think if this was my dog I would try putting up the dose in preparation for incoming storms and seeing if that helps. Alternatively maybe Lyrica? Can you discuss it with your GP vet?

Ideally you would be discussing this with your neurologist but that attitude is not great - surely they must realise that people don't always want to risk surgery or can't afford to, but they should still help you to manage your dog medically whilst you can keep them comfortable.

Sydneys Mom
2nd December 2011, 06:55 PM
I will be sending Blitz positive thoughts. You are doing a wonderful job taking care of him and keeping him as pain free as possible. I really don't have any advice to give but I agree SM is fustrating and it seems like a juggling act at times to get the dosages just right. The picture of your son and Blitz is adorable. Just proves that Blitz is in good hands.

2nd December 2011, 07:19 PM
I'm so sorry to hear this, keeping you and Blitz in our thoughts.

I think if this was my dog I would try putting up the dose in preparation for incoming storms and seeing if that helps. Alternatively maybe Lyrica? Can you discuss it with your GP vet?

I didn't think about switching to lyrica. Our neurologist didn't want to try him on Lyrica (we asked when he was diagnosed) He said Gabapentin would control his air licking issues better. I'm assuming lyrica comes in a tablet and doesn't have to be a compound? Our neurologist had us using compounds only. There are only a few local compounding pharmacies around us so it's kind of a pain to get. He never gave a good reason other then he wanted to start on the smallest dose possible (he started Blitz on 50mg Gabapentin and it was like pulling teeth to get the dose increased! He went to 75 mgs and finally very reluctantly to 100mg but then ended our prescription soon after) It was my GP vet that finally switched us over to the capsule and it's also cheaper. This is Flash's last month on Lyrica because his neurologist will not fill any more prescriptions. We are going to my vet on Monday to get her to write us a new prescription for Flash. I will talk to her about using it for Blitz too.

I don't know what I would do without our GP vet. She has proven to be amazing. She only have 1 other Cavalier in her clinic so I'm not surprised about her lack of knowledge about SM. But I am forever greatful that she is always willing to listen and learn!

Sydneys Mom
2nd December 2011, 07:58 PM
[QUOTE=Reptigirl;407996]There are only a few local compounding pharmacies around us so it's kind of a pain to get.QUOTE]

Not sure where you're located, I'm in San Diego and Sydney's cardiologist has hooked us up with a compound pharmacy in Arizona for his Viagra. It is a third of the cost if I had to buy it locally. I don't know if I can post the name or web address here, but if you PM me I will get you the info.

Kate H
2nd December 2011, 09:52 PM
If you're not happy with your nearest neurologist, why not ask your vet to email Clare Rusbridge for advice? She is so helpful - I don't know where she finds the time! - and she would be able to advise you whether it would work better to give extra doses of gabapentin before weather changes, or increase the daily dose, or do both. I00mg x 3 is very much the basic dose.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

2nd December 2011, 11:47 PM
Sending positive thoughts to you and Blitz! Hope he feels better soon!:hug:

3rd December 2011, 10:50 AM
I really feel for you. I am new to all the SM stuff and two of mine have it. Two nights ago we had a big weather change and I knew mine were worse, not as bad as you described Blitz.
I can’t give any advice but would like to say that I am thinking of you and Blitz.

3rd December 2011, 11:12 AM
No advice for you here, bit just wanted to say that I was thinking of Blitz!

3rd December 2011, 02:18 PM
Been there...... I'm thinking of you and Blitz.xxx

Brian M
3rd December 2011, 02:35 PM
We are all with you ,you are doing a great job and i
am sure Blitz knows it so dont be hard on yourself.

Love my Cavaliers
3rd December 2011, 06:18 PM
I posted not too long ago about how I hate SM. Your dog can be just fine (or relatively fine, as a dog with SM is never fine) for a period of time and then SM rears it's ugly head. It's too bad that your neurologist has really wiped his hands of Blitz also - that is really unprofessional to not treat him medically simply because you are not taking his recommendation for surgery. I hope you are able to work with your vet to give Blitz some relief. Riley doesn't seem to be bothered by pressure changes so I can't give you any help or ideas, just some good positive thoughts and wishes for some speedy help for Blitz.

6th December 2011, 01:29 AM
I always up Scarlett's Gabapentin or give her half a Tramadol if I know that a storm is coming in or a big change in the weather. That doesn't sound like a very nice neuro. :(

6th December 2011, 02:22 AM
Just wanted to pop on for an update... After talking to my vet we have decided to go with 200mg 3X daily for a while... to see if it makes any difference. He is continuing to be on a pretty drastic roller coaster.... He was fine this morning .but tonight he is going weak in the rear and scratching badly. My vet said if we need to go up more just let her know. I'm not sure what is setting him off now.. Our temperature has dropped drastically this week and it has been very wet & rainy. We have another cold front coming through tomorrow.... He goes from GREAT.... to Terrible... to GREAT... but all during the same day. Not sure if his condition is just declining. If this doesn't help we may have to try a new neurologist. There is one more but still a good long drive away... Hoping this does the trick . We have also switched Flash's meds around... will make a new post soon because I may need some advise on it....

Margaret C
6th December 2011, 02:23 PM
SM is the most horrible condition ever. I have the greatest admiration how you are managing with your badly affected young dogs.

Here in the UK we are not put under the same pressure to agree to surgery, in fact it is the less common option, and most Neurologists will work to help owners that choose not to go that route

The problem with medicating for SM is that different drugs or combinations help some dogs, while causing overwhelming drowsiness, or not easing the symptoms in any way, for others. It really is such a case of trial and error and you do have to start again every time your cavalier's condition deteriorates.

I found out Tommy had SM in 2005 when he had a low cost breeders scan, but his symptoms were so mild, an occasional yelp for no reason once every few months and a slight reluctance to have his ears brushed, that he needed no medication.

I did ask my vet to prescribe a small daily dose of frusemide, more as a preventitive than anything else, and that was all he had for years.

Tommy has never really scratched, except for a one-off episode in my vet's waiting room when a frantic bout covered the floor in piles of drifting fur, but gradually the yelping started when he was picked up, and then the constant pawing at my legs demanding attention. We started the rimadyl, metacam, gabapentin juggling act.

Tommy started on 100 mg x 3 and that held things for quite some time. He went on to 200mg x 3 gabapentin when the lower dose stopped working. That again gave some respite but he gradually started being very restless and became badly affected by muscle twitching in all different parts of his body (myclonic jerking is apparently not proven to be associated with SM, but it is a neurological problem often seen in Cavaliers )

Tommy was switched to Lyrica and I have found 75mg x 2 has really kept him comfortable and happy when combined with a daily dose of metacam ( I have always found that Metacam seems to increase the effectiveness of whatever medication Tom is taking ) He still has 10mg x 2 frusemide daily.
The twitching and jerking in his body & head is so much better, it is only his left back leg muscle that seems to still be in perpetual motion now.

Unless they find yet another new miracle drug ( that is what Lyrica has been for Tommy ) then the only next option will be steroids. Not what I would want for him, but I will do whatever is necessary to keep him comfortable and let him go when that proves to be no longer possible.

Tommy is eleven now so his MVD ( bad murmur but symptoms as yet ) may be what eventually forces my hand.