View Full Version : Izzie has appointment tonight - Think it's SM

19th January 2012, 12:46 PM
I feel ill even writing this, it's like I'm making it official but I just don't know what to do.
My oldest dog, Izzie, was supposed to be going to the vets tomorrow for a check up to get her spayed next week. Her seasons are coming quite close together (4-5 months apart) so they want to make sure she's not lactating/having a phantom beforehand. But I have another problem..

I think she has SM. When she was younger I took her to the vets to get her seem as she kept yelping when you touched her sides/lifted her up, the vets said it was more than likely she had bruised her chest (we run agility and she had had a fall) but he also mentioned there was a risk it was a sign of SM.
Recently though, symptoms have started to appear and be more frequent. She is scratching more or less all of the time (we checked for fleas, and have changed her food to attempt to help but nothing has helped) and now she's started yelping for no reason like something is hurting her, and biting her bum/back legs. She's became a much quieter dog and just doesn't have her spark anymore. I was planning on speaking with the vet tomorrow about it, but this morning has been bad for her - so we got an appointment for tonight instead.

Insurance wise we changed insurance at the start of this year to AXA Lifetime cover, but am I correct in saying she wouldn't be covered anyway because it's hereditary and the symptoms started when she was younger and not insured any. Either way she needs to be seen so we'll get by as best we can.

Can someone please tell me what kind of thing I'm looking to ask the vets or what type of thing they might tell me. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions but I really do think this is the problem - so what is the protocol?

Thank you so much, from a very upset Amanda and Izzie :(

Brian M
19th January 2012, 01:39 PM

If there is nothing on her records pre AXA you will be covered apart from the excess 75 or near ,
just go along and see what the vet says but you will need a ferral to a neurologist and an
MRI to confirm SM

Brian M
19th January 2012, 01:41 PM

just another thought what date did you go to AXA as I think there may be a period before
you can claim just check the book that AXA sent you as you could be looking at 1500

Brian M
19th January 2012, 01:45 PM

Found it

"Costs resulting from Pre-existingMedical Conditions, or Conditions whichshow Clinical Signs within the first 14days of the start of cover".

19th January 2012, 01:46 PM

If there is nothing on her records pre AXA you will be covered apart from the excess 75 or near ,
just go along and see what the vet says but you will need a ferral to a neurologist and an
MRI to confirm SM

Thank you. As far as I know there isn't anything on her records apart from the yelping when she was being lifted, I believe the vet put in her records that she had a bruised chest and just mentioned to me that it might have been a symptom of SM - so it's quite likely that there wouldn't be anything. Would it matter though that she'd had the symptoms before the cover started?

Thank you, I've printed off the SM Made Simple document to take with me. Her anal glands have been checked as have the skin issues, is there anything else the vet might check for before I should be referred, or is it sounding like SM is the most likely cause?

Brian M
19th January 2012, 01:58 PM

My bestest wishes to you for tonight ,just let the vet do his examination then if needed mention what
you suspect but you must get a referral to a neuro who for preferance has an on site MRI scanner so try
and find one near to you that you can ask your vet to refer you to .Once he agrees he has to fax /email
a letter to them then you can arrange an appointment .

This is a link to AXA's terms and conditions but as I say you should be OK


As far as her symptoms go you dont know what they are so let your vet pick up from your description.With my Daisy
when I saw my vet I just said staright out I think she may have SM and explained my thoughts then asked for a referral
letter .



Kate H
19th January 2012, 03:01 PM
It could be SM but don't automatically assume it is - Cavaliers are quite prone to disk problems, which could cause the yelping, and also to a middle ear problem called PSOM, which could be causing some of the scratching and can also be picked up by MRI scan but is nothing to do with SM (though the same dogs do often have both problems). And if it is SM, you will know from reading posts on this forum that many of us have dogs who having been living normal, happy lives with SM for many years - just remember it's not a death sentence. Hope you get some answers tonight.:hug:

Kate, Oliver (10.5 years old with SM) and Aled

PS and if Izzie does need a scan you have excellent neurologists and MRI facilities at both Edinburgh and Glasgow universities.

PPS Check if your vet has put on Izzie's medical notes that he thought it might be SM when he examined her before. If he did, and this was before you were insured with AXA, they may well consider it a pre-existing condition.

19th January 2012, 04:23 PM
Just to say I will be thinking of you and Izzie. I know how hard all the waiting and Uncertainty is.

Sydneys Mom
19th January 2012, 04:25 PM
Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for good news for Izzie

19th January 2012, 05:47 PM
Thinking of you and Izzie and hoping for good news.

19th January 2012, 06:51 PM
Brian I am sorry to say you are misreadiing that clause. The AXA policy definitely will NOT cover ANY pre-existing conditions AT ALL, OR conditions which appear in the first 14 days of cover.

The very best of luck on Izzie's visit, Amanda. I think unfrotunaely you are almost certainly looking at SM and probably will really want to get a referral to a neurologist and in the meantime, I hope you vet might get Dr Clare Rusbridge's treatment protocol and immediately get Izzie onto pain relief. There are links here on the board or you can download it and print it off her website.

Please let us know how things go.

19th January 2012, 09:50 PM
Thank you so much guys, my vet was brillant

He first wanted to rule out everything so gave her a full work up, he checked her feet, knees, hips and back as we do agility he wanted to be certain it wasn't an injury. He couldn't find any evidence of fleas/mites/ticks etc but gave me a frontline course just to rule it out. He realised she was also having a phantom pregnancy as she's lactating so we were given a hormone to lower hers in order to make sure the yelping wasn't a pain in her uterus (thought he said this was extremely unlikely, just wanted this away to make her more comfortable and leave the option of a spay open when it's gone). He checked her ears and eyes, and also emptied her anal glands though there wasn't much in them just incase this is what was annoying her back end.

After the check he even said that in all his veterinary career he hadn't seen a healthier, fitter looking Cavalier (and he used to have his own). He sent me home with the frontline, liquid hormone and also pain relief. He said that he realises that if I was to ask what it was right now he would say it was 95% SM, but wants me to just bare with him to rule out anything else. But if she is no better on Saturday after her anal gland release, hormones lowered and flea treatment then I've to start the pain management. He made me an appointment next Thursday to see if any of this has improved and said that he's going to refer me to a neurologist at the same time.

I'm obviously quite upset, but he was so good and thorough I'm very happy the care he gave us today. What do you all think, does this seem like he's made all the correct decisions?

Thank you everyone

19th January 2012, 10:01 PM
Yes,he's made the correct decisions!
If possible,discuss your worries over insurance with him too and you may be able to get a pre authorisation done from the company before spending money on tests and finding they won't pay.
Of course,it still may not be symptomatic SM. When we had Daisy fully checked by a specialist,we were surprised to find that she had along with SM,Hip Dysplasia and Spondylosis.
Which condition was causing the most pain is anyone's guess...
What truly matters is that your vet seems committed to finding the best solution for keeping your cavalier comfortable.
A good vet is worth their weight in gold and I'm sure your girl will be well looked after.

19th January 2012, 10:02 PM
It sounds as if your vet has been very thorough and am pleased you have confidence in him, so important to trust your vet.
As long as Izzie has pain relief then I feel waiting and watching a good course of action.

Last year my 8 year old starting scratching and I immediately concluded that it was SM, after several doses of flea treatment
all was well.

I hope Izzie improves with the pain medication and she is back to her old self soon.


20th January 2012, 11:48 AM
Yes, that is exactly the route to have gone; thanks for the extra detail!

The problem with this condition is that a dog can be fantastically healthy in every other way as the problem is neurological and not highly visible and can take time to become symptomatic and for a dog to start to suffer. I have three with SM and none has ever had any other need for vet care outside of minor and common issues -- an upset stomach for example.

Fingers crossed you find it is something else but if not, there are many here with affected dogs at all levels who can give support and answer questions.

21st January 2012, 01:08 PM
Thank you everyone for your lovely words. When we got back from the vet on Thursday I gave Izzie her flea treatment and her hormone. It's now Saturday when we've to see if she's the same and whether or not she now needs to go on pain relief and I'm thinking that she does.

Don't get me wrong, after her hormone fluids she has been in a much better mood. She's been very playful - but the itching and the getting a fright/biting her back end is still there. One one hand I've been reluctant to start it just incase as I've only had 2 days to see for any other improvements, on the other hand this has been going on for longer than her lactating and I don't want her to be uncomfortable for longer than necessary. I realise that only I can make this decision because I know her and see her changes, it's just very difficult when I want to be certain we're doing the right thing.

21st January 2012, 02:48 PM
I wouldn't rush things...
Unless you've ruled out allergies and other possibilities,I think you could monitor for a while longer.
You don't need to have her on antiinflammatories without good reason.Everything has a side effect and until you're 100% sure it's SM,you *might * be medicating unnecessarily.
Maybe try something like Deracton soap/shampoo to soothe itchy skin?

21st January 2012, 03:17 PM
I'd offer a different perspective (and you will always get a variety of opinions!). If as you say, Izzie has had periods of crying out as if in pain for unidentified reasons as well as the long term scratching and flipping around -- before the lactation, and despite treating skin/allergies -- I'd try medications. All neurologists generally recommend two week trials which isn't a very long period of medication. I'd rather see if the issues ended with painkillers than keep a dog in discomfort/pain in that state for further days or weeks of pain. If painkillers help then that in itself helps with a diagnosis.

Margaret C
21st January 2012, 04:55 PM
If the itching and biting is still there then I would start the pain treatment. I am sorry but nowadays, as you own vet has told you, there has to be a very good chances that this is SM.

Dogs cannot say they are hurting, we can only try and 'hear' them by interpreting the symptoms they display. Try the painkillers, see if it makes a difference to her level of comfort

22nd January 2012, 02:43 AM
Thank you everyone, and Karlin thanks for that perspective. She's asleep now but I plan on giving her them tomorrow and see if she's better.

We have ruled out quite a few things now - so another question, should the pain relief work, is this another step in the direction that it is SM? Or could the pain killers just be helping something else which is causing her pain? I realise we won't know anything until the MRI which is frustrating but would this also be another factor? It's very complicated when there are so many.

22nd January 2012, 04:05 AM
I know how frusterating this can be. It is a long and confusing road. On one hand you want to rule everything else out, on the other you don't want to slow the process.
What pain medication do you have? I think that will help us to be able to answer your questions. For instance, Brooklyn's neuro did a trail of her on Gabapentin...which is for neurological pain (i.e. if she was doing better on it, that would be a good indicator of SM, but if she was not doing better it did not mean she did or did not have it, it just helps us to better understand). A generalised pain reliever might relieve any pain, but I would assume a neurological medicine like Gabapentin (or others similar) would point you more to neuro pain and it would not eliminate pain from say, a hurt leg.

I could be wrong though...others are much more knowledgeable about this than I am so I will wait for them to chime in. :)

Kate H
22nd January 2012, 08:02 AM
Yes, Brooky's mum is right. If the pain is neurological, then gabapentin should quite quickly make a noticeable difference - but it won't make any difference to a non-neurological pain. It is a good pointer to the source of the pain - though not all neurological pain is from SM, of course.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

22nd January 2012, 10:42 PM
Thank you. He's only put her on Metacalm just now until we rule out everything else and then he would see about long term pain relief, I'll be sure to mention this to him on Thursday.

I gave her her first dose this morning and to be honest she slept for quite a large amount of the day afterwards. This evening though while her scratching is still there I've found she's not biting her back end nearly as much nor yelping, so I'm very glad she at least seems to be more comfortable.

22nd January 2012, 10:57 PM
Barkleigh has always yelped if you lift him and touch him under his forelegs. I just thought it was a tender spot! He just had an MRI to find PSOM (and he had it!) He had gone deaf and they fixed it. His MRI showed that he had a small Chiari Malformation and the doc showed us a comparison with a serious SM Cav. She said that Barkleigh would never have serious symptoms. Of course, now we are treating for suspect epilepsy. He does not scratch much, but I worry when he does.

Good luck to you both. Having done a big round of bills, insurance, and anxiety I know what it is like. Hope it is far less than you think.

23rd January 2012, 12:58 AM
Metacam is a pretty low level pain killer and generally doesn't work that well for SM on its own, so don't be surprised if there isn't too noticeable response. That's a pretty conservative starting point. I'd definitely see a neurologist if symptoms continue as working out the right mix of meds is a 'cocktail' approach for most dogs and one of trial and error, using medications unfamiliar to most vets (eg gabapentin) and not really in the knowledge realm of vets. The mix also generally needs to be monitored and changed now and then as well as one approach almost never lasts for the life of a dog with these conditions.

She said that Barkleigh would never have serious symptoms.

Unfortunately such predictions have not been backed by people's experience -- an older dog with only CM is unlikely to go on to develop serious symptoms with CM or get SM, but either can happen and have happened, and it is absolutely impossible to predict unless this one neurologist knows something no one else does! :) It is possible to say a dog is unlikely or less likely to have problems but you can never say 'never' with CM/SM, as all the main researchers have stated many times at seminars on the disease. :( It is why it is so frustrating and difficult for dogs, owners and breeders.

Kate H
23rd January 2012, 12:09 PM
I can back up what Karlin says about even CM alone being a progressive disease. Oliver has had some discomfort from his CM ever since I had him at a year old. This has grown progressively worse; he was diagnosed with a small syrinx when he was 6, but now at 10.5 his neurologist still says that almost all his symptoms (headaches and light phobia) are due to his CM, although his syrinx may now have developed enough to be affecting his hind legs a bit. Some vets still don't seem to really have taken on board that CM/SM is a progressive disease, and that CM alone can cause considerable problems.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

24th January 2012, 01:04 PM
Thank you everyone. We are back at the vets on Thursday and I will let you know how we get on. Just one last question..

As it seems our insurance won't be able to help (her symptoms started before taking it out), do you know how neurologists go about payment? Sadly I'm not in a position to pay out thousands of pounds, though I will be looking into measures to help me, for a MRI. I have a few hundred pounds put by which I can use but aside from that I'm at a bit of a loss..

I'm going to discuss it all with my vet on Thursday, but do you know if any of them along you to pay it up? I hate to have gone through all this and then in turn can't get a MRI because we can't afford it, and does anyone know what that would mean for her pain relief? Would vets be willing to give her pain relief for a period of time without an MRI?

I'm probably jumping the gun here a bit, since we still aren't sure what is going on. But what with us being referred I just want to be sure I know everything I can first, and I'm starting to feel sick at the thought that we're not going to get this sorted.

Thank you again for all of your kind words, it means a lot to be part of such a lovely helpful community of people who have went through the same kind of thing.

24th January 2012, 01:33 PM
Well, here is my view. Ideally, people want to get an MRI so that they know what is going on. But in the case where this is going to be very costly, and there are already some obvious symptoms, and a person is not going to be opting for surgical treatment regardless, for whatever reasons, I would make it clear to a neurologist that you cannot manage the cost of an MRI but that you would like to have a clinical exam done and have their opinion and then to start trialing some of the possible medications to see if those help.To be honest, all evidence indicates that 70% of all cavaliers would MRI with a syrinx by the time they are 6 or 7 years old. and almost every single cavalier is going to MRI with CM. That means for a given set of symptoms, for most dogs the conclusion is going to be that they have CM/SM, and they are going to be treated accordingly. For many different types of possible illnesses, vets will try medications to see if they help before doing invasive tests, and so I feel quite strongly that in the case of an MRI, which can cost people 1000 or 2000 pounds, euro, or dollars, for most dogs showing symptoms that are generally tied to this condition, it makes more sense to simply trial them on medications to see what works. This is of course after a vet has done everything else to eliminate other possibilities–allergies, disc disease, etc.None of the medications used to treat SM are particularly risky, and certainly there are not going to be significant side effects, if any effects at all, for most of them used for short-term trial periods. Some of the symptoms are just so typical that most of us that have affected dogs reach a point where we could probably say with a pretty high degree of accuracy whether some other dog, scratching or behaving in a particular way, has SM. When other possibilities have already been eliminated, I honestly do not understand sometimes why people are pushed to do a costly MRI unless they either want to have a confirmed diagnosis and understand the extent of existing damage, or they want an MRI to consider the option of surgery.Or to put it another way–I have MRI'd all of my dogs, some of them twice, for the purposes of both diagnosis and research. I have worked with a neurologist and with my veterinarian to treat those that have SM. I have not considered surgery for any of the 3 that have SM, for a variety of reasons. If that were to change, then those dogs would go for a full MRI. 2 of my dogs that have SM did not have this confirmed by MRI for a couple of years, until I took them to the UK to have all of them done for research (mainly to get a 2nd MRI on my 2 related Cavaliers, one of which has SM and one of which is clear for reseacrhers, and also to have an MRI done on my lovely, late Lucy, whom the researchers expected would be a clear older dog at 9 given the dogs in her pedigree–and she was–thus making her very helpful for the genetic work the researchers are doing). So out of 3 with SM, one got an MRI confirmation when he was only just over a year old, and he was then treated by medications from that point onwards with a confirmed diagnosis–and he is now 8.5. The 2 others, I was quite sure from symptoms and from response to medications, that they had SM and it turned out to be the case. But they were successfully helped by medications long before they had an MRI confirmation.I do think dog owners should politely hold firm if they do not feel they can afford an MRI And would not seek the option of surgery–ask for a clinical exam and ask trial medications if the neurologist feels, on the basis of the clinical exam, that the dog is likely to have SM. there are obvious downsides to this: it may be that an MRI will reveal the dog really has very little time or chance of much of a life unless surgery is performed, and without an MRI, the owner will not know and choices may become more limited down the road. So there are many things to weigh in the balance, and many considerations, but I personally feel not every dog needs to have an MRI in order to be effectively treated (especially older dogs–say, over 4-5– that are showing symptoms, especially if they are not really severe).

24th January 2012, 01:42 PM
Sorry for that solid block of text but board is quite glitchy at the moment! And took out all the paragraph formatting. :sl*p:

24th January 2012, 01:55 PM
It's no problem Karlin lol, I still managed to get through it!

It was extremely helpful, I will be certain to discuss all of this with my vet on Thursday and the neurologist I'm referred to. I'm happy to at least know that she will be cared for whether we can afford the MRI or not and it's not just black and white. As long as I know my Izzie isn't in the pain and we can understand it a little better if everything else is ruled out - I'll be content. Thank you!

Kate H
24th January 2012, 02:45 PM
Seconding what Karlin said about MRIs, I was talking to a neurologist recently, as Oliver is slowly getting more symptoms of his CM/SM, about the need to have a full MRI (so far he's only had two mini scans) to find out what is going on. She said that though it would be interesting to see how his syrinx and dilated ventricles had developed, it wasn't essential, and I would do better to keep my money to spend on medication for him. Unless surgery is an option, whatever a scan says, you can still really only treat the symptoms you and your vet (and above all, a neurologist) can see. Finding the right medication is almost always a matter of trial and error for a few months, and then adjustment from time to time, but when the right combination is found for your dog, more or less normal life should be able to be resumed!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

24th January 2012, 02:50 PM
One of my dogs was diagnosed in July with SM and the other with CM, both being symptomatic. It’s amazing how much I learned in this little time. It’s like doing a crash course in SM/CM. I am very lucky that my new vet is informed about SM and whatever he doesn’t know he is willing to listen to me and whatever I have learned on this Forum. I think my vet was amazed on how much I knew about SM. Not all vets are that accommodating and some like to dig their heels in not willing to listen to their clients.
I must agree with Karlin, if people can’t afford to do an MRI scan and have the dog examined by a Neurologist and it is clear that the dog might have SM then why not try pain relief as the most important thing is to make the dog comfortable and living without pain.

26th January 2012, 08:32 PM
Not sure if I should just ask this here or make another thread in the Training area, however - we were at the vets today just for a little update and to book her in officially for her spay in 2 weeks time. And my vet remembered that I ran agility with my Izzie.

What are your views on continuing this with the likely SM? He said that he would be cautious of her hurting herself/spine and wasn't sure if I should continue purely because he hadn't seen a Cavalier with SM who competes in agility and didn't want to say it was fine when it wasn't.
She is never uncomfortable running her courses, and I've always said it's her training which keeps her so healthy and she thoroughly enjoys it. I never train her if it's too wet or push her very hard anyway, and I especially wouldn't now. I was almost quite upset as I felt like well, it's SM and awful, but I don't want her or me to be defeatist and give into it and let it affect her daily life. What is everyone's opinion?

26th January 2012, 09:27 PM
I think it's a balance and I know Dr Rusbridge thinks this way. You do not want to lower your cavalier's quality of life if agility is something she really loves -- but at the same time, there are risks, the main one being that accelerated activity increases the pressure of the CSF which in turn may worsen the SM at a faster rate. If she isn't showing any pain and really enjoys the activity I'd probably continue with the agility but personally, I wouldn't compete and I'd do milder runs. I think one hard ting to judge is whether they are in pain or not. I think a lot of time they just go ahead and do an activity right through the pain, in part because it is a pattern and activity they know, in part because they enjoy it an in part because they are doing what we expect of them -- performing as we have trained them. I think that makes it very hard to judge pain unless a dog gets to the state of severe or disabling pain/discomfort. I know with my own Jaspar, one time playing fetch when young he had a head on collision into another of my dogs and was clearly concussed and staggering yet he kept staggering after the ball and it was almost impossible to make him stop!

27th January 2012, 10:19 AM
Not sure if I should just ask this here or make another thread in the Training area, however - we were at the vets today just for a little update and to book her in officially for her spay in 2 weeks time. And my vet remembered that I ran agility with my Izzie.

What are your views on continuing this with the likely SM? He said that he would be cautious of her hurting herself/spine and wasn't sure if I should continue purely because he hadn't seen a Cavalier with SM who competes in agility and didn't want to say it was fine when it wasn't.
She is never uncomfortable running her courses, and I've always said it's her training which keeps her so healthy and she thoroughly enjoys it. I never train her if it's too wet or push her very hard anyway, and I especially wouldn't now. I was almost quite upset as I felt like well, it's SM and awful, but I don't want her or me to be defeatist and give into it and let it affect her daily life. What is everyone's opinion?

Hi Autaven

I know just how you feel. My Harley lives for agility; somebody even said once that he smiles all the way around the course. He started limping this summer and we thought it was an agility injury after all the Xrays and tests that didn’t show anything he had an MRI and it showed mild SM. He was limping constantly for about a month and suddenly one day it just disappeared. I only started competing with him last year and he was doing very well. Even after the limping stopped I didn’t do any agility for 3 month, we also do Rally Obedience and he does love it but I could see he was sitting on the sofa being unhappy, even my husband picked up on it and he normally doesn’t notice anything. I talked to my Agility Instructor and she goes out of her way to plan in a special course for Harley, definitely no A Frame and weaves. He does a low dog walk, tunnels, seesaw and low jumps. When I took him back for the first time he pulled me all the way to the hall and he barked all the way around the course he was so happy to be back. I only do agility with him once a week instead 2-3 times a week now and in summer I will sit out some rounds. I never competed with the KC as the jumps were too high for him anyway but I compete with the BAA and I have written to the person in charge and she will let Harley jump on the lowest jumps and I will only run him once instead of the 3-4 times I ran him before, and only do the jumping and tunnels. So he still does a little of what he loves.

Just to say that first I was completly against doing agility as I don't want to make it worse, but he was sitting at home unhappy, maybe some people won't understand this but he lives for working. Harley is not like my other two happy with walks, he doesn't even enjoy sniffing and walking he only comes alive when he can work. Even after coming from training after he had a little rest there he is bringing me the ball to play with him. So I decided to do a little bit of what he loves so much.

Also I know every dog is different and Karlin is right in saying that they do anything to please us even when in pain. With my Harley I knew straight away something was wrong as he never refuses anything but when it all started he refused to do the A Frame and went round it, not like him at all and I knew straight away something wasn’t right. (that was before the limping started) Also I can tell when he slows down.

17th May 2012, 04:23 PM
Thought I would just bring up this thread rather than starting a new one since all Izzie's information is here :)

We were back at the vets today for a little check over and we needed more Metacam. It wasn't her usual vet we saw so I was a bit iffy but she asked how she was getting on and I reported that her yelping for no reason has stopped and so has her biting her back end since going on the metacam - however she's still itching. It's not constantly, but it's enough that we notice it. (but of course we notice every itch any of the Cavaliers make).
She checked her ears for infection, her heart and her anal glands again and said everything looked fine so it was upto myself - keep her on Metacam and see how it goes or give her a 2 week trial of Gabapentin. I said that latter, purely because if she's still experiencing pain then I'd rather sort it sooner than later.

Now that I'm home I'm just wondering if there is any major side effects or anything that I need to look out for, and if this was the right decision? She did tell me all about it and about how she might be drousy etc. Thing is she still goes to agility (well we've cut down majorly on her training, and she only does competitions every other weekend as I really don't want to strain her, though she loves it so much) - am I still okay to go with her now that's she's on this or am I better leaving her a while to see how it goes? I'm reading all of the websites on here which are brilliant for information I just wondered if someone could tell me their personal experiences or have anymore info. My appointment in 2 weeks is with my normal vet so I'll discuss all of this with him too.

Thanks everyone :)

17th May 2012, 04:42 PM
There are very few side effects to watch for -- drowsiness being the main one but generally it passes off after a couple of weeks if the dose is right. Your vet may well start you on a low dose and often this isn't adequate so see how things go and if little change, you probably need a higher dose. She should be fine for agility. If anything -- a lot more comfortable. While I wouldn't do really intensive agility with an SM dog who has a lot of symptoms, I know Clare Rusbridge feels that there is no point in depriving a dog of what it enjoys. Leo has never stopped running around and chasing Jaspar when we go to the park and he has lived with gabapentin for almost 8 years now. :)

17th May 2012, 04:45 PM
Thanks that's certainly made me relax! She's been put on 50mg twice a day, and we're back in 2 weeks to see how it goes :)

17th May 2012, 05:40 PM
I don't think you need to worry. :) That's a low dose unless she is really tiny -- even my little Leo who is only about 15.5 lbs began on the recommended dose for his weight of 75mg twice daily. He really needed 100mg twice daily, eventually 3x and now gets 200mg 3x. But he is pretty comfortable on that -- mild scratching and occasional sensitivity on his side/neck in poor weather. That's over 8-ish years of being on gabapentin so he's been pretty well managed on it. You may find that low level works or may find you need to try a larger dose than that. I doubt she will be drowsy on such a tiny amount. Leo has never been drowsy on gabapentin.

18th May 2012, 12:07 AM
Thanks. She's a little bit petite to be fair - she's 6kg (13.2lb?) :) But that's great, really glad to hear that I don't need to worry about long term use if it helps her. Such a relief! xo

19th May 2012, 12:20 PM
That's small so sounds the right starting dose for a trial. :)

4th October 2012, 10:00 PM
Hello guys, long time no speak. I've been off for a while due to being in my last year of university so not really having a moment to sit at peace. Things until recently have been no problem, Izzie has been on the gabapentin for a few months along with the metacalm and we haven't had any issues - until this week.

On Tuesday, I noticed that she was a little bit timid to jump up on anything like the couch or into the car. This progressed onto Wednesday (yesterday) when she started crying when she would jump, or if we'd lift her. She hasn't been to agility in a few weeks due to us changing to a new venue plus with shifts, and I put it down to maybe her being a little stiff, she hasn't had a good run to stretch apart from her daily walks and the weather has gotten really frosty here this week. But today she can barely be touched, and she was a little frightened to climb the stairs - so we have an appointment first thing in the morning with the vets.

Trying to keep myself calm and thinking that it's possible she's maybe somehow pulled a muscle or that I'm right and it has something to do with the cold and her not having a long run/walk since Sunday.

Does anyone have anything they could tell me to calm my nerves, or is this sounding as bad as I'm making up it up to be in my head? I have no idea what the vet is going to say, and also worried that since it's a short notice appointment it probably won't be our usual vet who knows her history.

Thanks for listening guys, a very teary Mum over here :(

Kate H
4th October 2012, 11:21 PM
Not being able to jump or climb stairs is quite a common SM symptom. Your vet/neurologist may want to give Izzie a painkiller such as Rimadyl, which is usually very effective. It may, of course, be something different. My Oliver has spondylosis (osteo-arthritis of the spine) as well as SM, so I'm never sure which condition makes jumping difficult for him. If it persists with Izzie, it's worth getting steps to help them onto bed or settee (assuming she's allowed on them!) - they're not terribly expensive and really do help.

Hope you can get Izzie sorted.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

5th October 2012, 12:47 PM
Thanks Kate, saw the vet this morning and Izzie has slipped a disk :( she's on a months bed rest. When I went in my vet did think it was her SM too but after examining her he's certain its a disk. We have laminate flooring so think she's maybe hurt herself jumping off of the couch or bed. Definitely going to get those little steps you mention, thank you!

Kate H
5th October 2012, 08:19 PM
Another thing that's useful is a pet buggy. After the month's rest you'll have to start getting Izzie back into walking very slowly, starting with a few minutes a day. When Oliver had to have 6 weeks crate rest when his spondylosis first flared up, I found the buggy enabled him to go a bit further and enjoy watching the world go by and then get out at the park and have a little walk on the grass. They cost about 50, but you might be able to borrow one if you put up a notice in the local pet shop. I'm afraid it's a bit far to offer to lend you mine!

Laminate flooring is lethal! But I'm glad it's not Izzie's SM getting worse, crate rest works wonders with back problems. You can get the steps from the Hyperdrug website, they come as a flatpack which is very easy to put together.

Kate, Oliver and Aled