View Full Version : First Post Owner of two 7 yr old cavalier Sisters

9th January 2012, 08:39 PM
Owned the girls since puppies, Im afraid Georgia on the right in the picture was diagnosed with the dreaded Syringomelia. Diagnosed in April 2010. She had previously been mis diagnosed by vets claiming ear problems etc. Georgia is doing very well and definitely gets relief from her symptoms with medication. The medication was recommended by her current vet (Furosemide) its actually used by humans to treat water retention also. Georgia does suffer attacks mainly in the evening, we have tried to pin down the exact trigger to no avail it is neither tiredness or the temperature of her environs, we simply cannot pin it down. When she experiences these episodes we have found that holding her in a human type sit up position on your lap while lifting her chin seems to give some sort of relief. The backup plan to the Furosemide is (Metacalm) these are pain relief and also result in calming the symptoms. Georgia bunny hops and actually tears at her ear, it is not air scratching. Grooming has proven near impossible and any contact with her left side triggers a turn away reaction from her. She can go for days with no episode which is why we believe in this particular medication. She has two sisters who both display very mild signs of the same condition, some licking and face rubbing.

10th January 2012, 01:10 AM
Hi and welcome. :)

I am sorry to hear you have a cavalier with SM. Many oif us here share that situation, however and you will gets lots of support.

If your girl is having pain episodes as described and can barely be touched on one side, I would immediately get her onto a more advanced medication regime than frusemide, which really only does minimal help on its own for most affected dogs. Also frusemide is no longer being advised by many neurologists as it can have a negative affect on hearts (cimetidine or omaprazole are preferred; if you search we had a recent discussion on this topic a while ago that explains the reasoning). Metacam is also typically very little help either except in very mild cases or as a top up to more advanced pain control such as gabapentin (much better for this condition if there is scratching and other signs of pain). :thmbsup: You are actually describing some fairly advanced pain symptoms (it is common for them not to be every day, but bunny hopping and contact scratching and episodes when you need to tilt her head up and intolerance to touch signal typical, serious SM pain and neurological deficits)-- so I would urgently talk to your vet (but ideally, this should be worked through with a neurologist as this is a specialist condition and vets are fairly poor at managing it because of that) and recommend getting her onto gabapentin which hopefully will eliminate the evening episodes, and consider other meds noted by Dr Rusbridge until a balance is reached that eliminates most or all of these signs. You really do not want a dog having any pain episodes, touch sensitivity, bunny hopping or scratching at all and there are far better meds to manage her and reduce all these things :). Most SM dogs need a mix of medications (often two or three), and these typically need to be regularly adjusted as well.

Have you and your vet seen Dr Clare Rusbridge's website? There's a pain algorithm/treatment page there which you definitely should print out for your vet (see post below). There's a whole section of information specifically for vets. :) As you can see frusemide and metacam are only the very first basic things to try and if symptoms persist they are definitely not effective and there are recommendations on what to move to next. It sounds like your vet isn't very familiar with this algorithm or treatment options, so I am sure they would find this information very helpful in better understanding this difficult condition.


Hope that helps! I have three dogs with this condition and have been managing it for 7 years with two of those dogs.

10th January 2012, 01:23 AM
Treatment algorithm: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/syringomyelia/docs/treatalgo.pdf

SM in brief by Dr Rusbridge: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/syringomyelia/docs/cmsmeng.pdf

Syringomyelia in depth by Dr Rusbridge: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/syringomyelia/docs/syringoindepth.pdf

10th January 2012, 02:28 AM
I agree with Karlin! What you described definitely sounds like Georgia needs more medication! I have 3 affected by CM/SM. Without medication they display a large range of sever symptoms from air scratching, hind leg weakness, yelping, sever scratching, head rubbing, excessive licking.... I could go on and on... WITH medications they are all *nearly* symptom free. Our worse one who's syrinx is taking up nearly all of his spinal cord is still a balancing act with his medications but currently he is also nearly symptom free as well. Our current medications for SM are;

Gabapentin + Omephrazole
Gabapentin + Cimetidine
Gabapentin + Cimetidine + Rimadyl (we also used predisone for a short period to snap him out of a sever episode)

While completely symptom free is not always possible there are plenty of medications out there that will greatly reduce the symptoms. Symptoms such as head rubbing and scratching are all signs of discomfort. Most SM dogs have to deal with the pain so often that they don't yelp and scream at every episode. It doesn't mean it doesn't hurt them. Just that they are dealing with it. Sounds like Georgia really needs something like Gabapention or Lyrica. We used Lyrica with GREAT success but it is more expensive. This will likely reduce most of the episodes. I always groom mine about an hour after a dose.. it makes grooming much easier!

I would also consider Cimetidine or Omephrazole because it can help reduce the pressure and some believe it can slow down the formation of the syrinx. Karlin gave you lots of information! It's a terrible condition to have to deal with but it is manageable!

13th January 2012, 07:54 PM
Thanks so much its a comfort to read such positive comments and Im delighted you are managing so well with three affected Cavs.
Im seeing the vet next week to encourage him to become better informed on this, and get trying some of these alternative meds.

13th January 2012, 07:56 PM
Fantastic response thanks so much, you are a true mine of information. We are so happy to have found you. Will update post vet meeting next week.
Kindest regards,