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8th April 2012, 10:16 PM
I want to first start out byapologizing for how lengthily this will be, but I want to make sure I do notmiss anything because I feel it isimportant for any new cavalier owner to understand how easily symptoms and orsigns in your puppy can be missed.
I am not a blogger, I don’t readblogs, I don’t write in blogs, etc…this is all new to me. I think this is the best place to post andshare my story.
Over six years ago when I decidedto get a puppy, I was not sure of the breed I wanted, until I went with afriend over a friends house of his in new York city and out from the bedroomcame running this adorable little playful dog who listened to every word herowner said as she were human. I then askedwhat type of dog she was, and then I was asked if I ever watched Sex and theCity? Long story short, the dog thatcame running from the bedroom was actually, Miss Elizabeth Taylor from Sex andthe City. Apparently his friend was amake up artist and when they needed a dog, they chose his….

Now my mind was made up and itwas a Cavalier King Charles that I was going to get. I did my research (so I thought), and learnedall about the breed. The heart problems,the eyes, the hip, etc and found a guy in PA. who had a litter for sale. He seemed to be much cheaper than the normalprice I was finding, so of course I phoned him, and he had just what I wanted….afemale, Blenheim, and about 12 weeks old. I sent him a deposit and the following weekend drove 4 hours to pick upthe puppy.
When I arrived there I learnedhe was nothing but a back yard breeder..the place was filthy and he had no paperwork like he said hewould. My heart went out to the puppywho sat in my lap looking at me as if she wanted a better place to live, andalthough I knew I could give her that, I had to leave her behind because (whichis ironic, as you will see by the end of this story) I could not fall in loveand get attached to a puppy to find out in 5 or 6 years from now, that she wassick, it would absolutely crush me.
So I drove back home andstarted the search all over again, and was referred to very reputable breederin another state who happened to also have a female, 12 weeks old, Blenheim pupply. It was the following week, I headed to theairport to open up the cage door to this incredible little girl who so happyand playful and would end up becoming the most precious thing to me.
As the years went by all wasfine, no problems etc until about 2 years ago when all of the sudden she seemedto have hurt her back . I took her tothe vet, they did xrays, etc. and told me it must be a soft tissue problem andwill heel on its own…gave her some remidyl and sent us home….and within 24hours it did get better but after she had a lot of activity the next day itseemed to bother her again.
After maybe a few month it wentaway..she could do activity, long walks etc and no problems what so ever.
This past November, oneafternoon, she went to jump up on the bed, and didn’t quite make it and fell,and was in pain to where you could see it in the way she walked….she wouldn’t eventry to do the stairs, and we live on the 2nd floor. I made cut out a side of a milk crate and shewould talk into the milk crate and I would pick her up and bring her up anddown the stairs in that.
I decided to goto another vetfor this incident who again, did the xrays, examined her etc and said the samething…soft tissue…, sent me home with Carpofen and tremedor and said noactivity.. it seemed to get a littlebetter and every once in awhile she would do the stairs etc, but it seemed likeif she did, then the next day we were back to the stiffness and wouldn’t dothem again….i never made her because I knew if she would do it she would, andif she couldn’t she would go right into the milkcrate and look at me to pickher up.
About 3-4 weeks ago I noticed alittle limp when she got up from laying down that wasn’t seeming to go away andnow she wasn’t seeming to improving after being on these pills for about 4 monthsnow…I knew something wasn’t right, so took her to a new vet who was now part of this state of the artfacility up here which is very well known. He examined her and had asked me if I ever heard of Chiari…I said no,and he gave me a brochure,,,when I opened it and saw the “SM” word, I said ohyes, I have heard of this but didn’t really pay attention because I had alwaysthought that if your dog had that, you would know it…I thought it was that typeof disease…well, that was my ignorance.
He scheduled an appt. for herto see the neurologist , which we did and she even said, depending what you aregoing to do with the MRI results, meaning if we were going to try to treat it with meds, lets try that first andsee how it goes. So she put her ongabapantine, with the carpofen and the tremador and I was to re visit with herthe following week because she was on vaca the next week.
The following Wednesday, whileshe was on vaca, I phoned the vet who referred me to her to schedule the MRIfor that Friday because she wasn’t getting better, she was getting worse.
She went in for the MRI, and hephoned me to tell me that he could confirm she had SM. I hung up the phone with him and just cried…becausethis poor little girl was going through this pain and who knows for how longand no one knew why…
He told me that I had to followup with the neurologist on Monday to find out her plan, but he thinks thatsince she is not responding to the meds, she will probably want to get her infor surgery. That Monday came and I metwith her and she isn’t recommending surgery yet….she wanted to try a differentdrug first which is pregab something..i am actually waiting for it to come instill..its being shipped from a company,,,,but in the meantime she upped her MGof carpofen and gabepantin, and with in 24 hours she was like 85 percentbetter,,I mean I came home from work, she flew up the stairs after beingoutside (which she hasn’t done in months), and to this day, which is only 5days later, she is still doing great. Shehas never had any of the excessive signs of SM. She hasair scratech, rolled her face on the rug, but nothing that would ever make mequestion it…..she has never stopped once while on a walk to scratch, etc andthe face rubbing I would notice maybe once a week if that, and would only lastmaybe 30 seconds…..i am not sure what anyones advise would be to the drugs andor route I was advised to take as of now, but would love to hear any feedbackyou may have …..

9th April 2012, 10:33 AM
hi thats great that your girl is responding to her meds so positvely. i have no experience withthis area but many have and you should hear from them soon. just wanted to say icon_welcome and we all love pics here!

Margaret C
9th April 2012, 12:49 PM
Hello and welcome to the Club that nobody wants to belong to. There are a great many cavalier owners with SM dogs here. You will find a lot of support and information.

I have had a good few dogs with SM. They have all been managed with medication, although I have needed to try different combinations and adjust and change as they got older.

My eleven year old Tommy was changed from gabapentin to Lyrica (pregablin) last year as his symptoms progressed and I have found it has been very effective in keeping him comfortable.

I would suggest you put a post asking for advice on the SM & MVD thread as well, so you reach those that do not always read the introduction section. We have a lot of USA members with SM dogs. I'm sure they will help you all they can.

9th April 2012, 02:12 PM
Welcome; many here know just what you are going through. :flwr:

I am going to make things easy and copy your first post into the SM forum as it says many important things and people who know about the condition will be most likely to read and respond there, separate to welcoming you in the Intro section. :)

One thing I would do: please copy the written report on the MRI and diagnosis and send it to your girl's breeder with a letter just explaining the situation. Any good breeder will truly want to know this information as it is critical for a breeding programme. Also, many breeders still state they never see this condition in their lines and thus for that reason too, it is really important that people know that they too must accept that this isn;t something that 'other' breeders have to deal with but something that is sadly very widespread, which all must deal with and address.

I usually recommend people send letters such as this, with results, registered mail so that you can be sure it has been received by the breeder. Sadly there remain some who absolutely have been told that they have produced dogs with SM and still claim publicly that they have never heard from any puppy buyer that such is the case.

A decent breeder however will want to be supportive to a puppy buyer of theirs, and will hopefully start scanning her breeding dogs (if not already), on the news that she has this in her lines as well. Knowing a scan result will give needed feedback to them.

9th April 2012, 04:41 PM
Hi, thanks for the reply....that is exactly what i am waiting for to be sent to me, is the Pregablin to replace the Gabapentin. she is getting the gabapentin 3 times a day...and they are 3pills 3 times a day...so thats 9pills of JUST THAT...so this new one would cut that back to one pill every 12 hours......keeping my fingers crossed ..

9th April 2012, 06:20 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm really sorry that your dog has SM and hope that the pregablin will make her more comfortable. My dog Bosco is on this and he is doing ok on it. With SM, it can take a while to get the meds right, there can be a lot of trial and error, and each dog seems to react differently.
Just to warn you though, in case you get a shock when you pick it up, pregablin is quite expensive - I'm not sure if you have insurance?

9th April 2012, 09:26 PM
It is quite possible that her back pain symptoms were not of SM. The breed also is prone to a degenerating disc disease, the symptoms of which often start to appear around age 2 years or a little later. There is an article about this disorder at http://www.cavalierhealth.org/disc.htm

Ordinary x-rays do not usually show this disc disorder, and general practice vets usually do not bother to take the next step, which is a myelogram, which involves injecting dye into the dog's spine and putting it under anesthesia to perform the x-ray.

It is possible that, even though she has SM, it was not the cause of her earlier symptoms. I suspect it is even likely that it was a disc that caused her back pain, rather than SM.

9th April 2012, 09:49 PM
actually, when she was in for her MRI, an orthopedic doctor looked at her and he apparently got a reaction from her with her elbow, which could have resulted from the fall and could explain the limp, which i have not noticed in a week. she is taking two chewable tablets a day for her joints.

9th April 2012, 10:00 PM
... she is taking two chewable tablets a day for her joints.

That's good!