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murphy's mum
7th November 2012, 02:23 PM
Some of you might remember that Murphy started acting strangely in June this year. We've seen the vet numerous times, he's been MRI'd in September, and comfirmed to have CM and a pre-syrinx. He was started on Cimetidine, and later in the month Gabapentin.

We really thought we'd cracked it, as he's been fine, until Monday night. I put them both to bed, and 10 minutes later he's freaking out digging his bed, moving the washing basket from the corner, whining and whimpering, and finally just getting in a right state. He ended up covered in drool, chin, chest and front feet, I could hear him panting in the kitchen from the bedroom, his heart was pounding. Stuart went down to him, and as soon as he saw him he started wagging his tail, and was straight over for full body cuddles. They both came upstairs for an hour and a half, we dosed, I can't sleep with Misty as she snores in my ear, before Stuart put them back in the kitchen. And that was the last we heard from them until morning.

Yesterday, he seemed quite clingy, wanting to be on my lap all day, normally he's happy to lie beside me, and he wanted cuddles a lot, he kept nudging me when I stopped. Last night was a repeat of Monday night, except I fell asleep until 3:45, and by then I couldn't drag myself from my bed to put them into the kitchen.

This is what confuses me about the whole thing. It only happens every 6-8 weeks, a few days, mostly it's been at bedtime(there has been 3 occasions he's became upset while I'm sitting next to him) and then nothing for another 6-8 weeks. It was 25th of September this last happened. If it is pain related why does he settle down as soon as one of us goes to him? If it's behavioural, why doesn't it happen every night? He has the same routine, they get let out, they get their meds, they get a biscuit and get told to "be good, Mummy will see you in the morning" as it's always me that puts them to bed.

It breaks my heart to see him in such a state, I just wish I knew what was going on in his little head. I've spoken to the Neuro again today, and she said to take him off the Gabapentin, and see what happens, as it hasn't made a difference to these episodes. She mentioned some type of seizures related to the CM, but because these episodes normally happens at bedtime, we're going to see Sam Lindley up at Glasgow first. She's a behaviourist that specializes in pain management. I really hope we get to the bottom of it soon, I don't know what to do anymore.

ByFloSin
7th November 2012, 05:19 PM
Could these 'episodes' be related to changes in air pressure Paula? Might be worth buying a cheap barometer from a charity shop or e-bay, then giving an extra Gabapentin. What you would be looking for are abrupt rises or falls in pressure, as both can be equally upsetting for some dogs.

murphy's mum
7th November 2012, 05:39 PM
I used to monitor changes in the air pressure with Misty, but as she's stable now(touch wood) I stopped checking. It's just the fact the these 'episodes' happen so infrequently I've never considered air pressure before with Murphy. I guess I'm worried that I'm being blinkered by the fact he has CM, and not really considered that it could be something else. The fact it happens more often that not after I've put them to bed just seems so strange.

I'll start noting air pressure though and see what I find :)

Sabby
7th November 2012, 06:31 PM
I would say air pressure as Ebony has CM and it affects her badly. Since autumn has started she has been worse on and off. My friend’s Wheaten terrier has had funny episodes like what you describe it started with 6 month then 3 month in between episodes. It only happens at home but the only difference is he gets aggressive and tries to bite her. He has to have a scan now. You might be right that it could be something else.

I realy hope you find the reason behind this. It's horrible to see our dogs in distress and pain.

murphy's mum
7th November 2012, 10:09 PM
We've got our appointment for Friday the 23rd at 11:30, so we just need to muddle through until then. I'm really hoping he's okay tonight though.

cavalover
7th November 2012, 11:39 PM
Hope the next couple of days go smoothly for you and Murphy. Great to hear that you got an appointment so quickly

MomObvious
8th November 2012, 01:25 AM
So many people have mentioned air pressure it might be worth checking it out. You are doing all you can for him taking him to a Nero and a behaviorist sounds right. Personally the drooling and clinging would FREAK me out.....I would give in and sleep with ear plugs.

murphy's mum
8th November 2012, 08:34 AM
Last night wasn't too bad, he dug out the shopping bags and the lap trays from the nooks in the kitchen units, and barked a couple of times before settling down. I had given him a Zylkene at about 20:00, so don't know if this helped. We'd got them off the vet in September, but hadn't used them as the Gabapentin seemed to be working.

And yes Melissa it is freaking me out, it's horrible to sea him in obvious distress over something, but I'm trying to remain calm for his sake, the last thing he need is to pick up me being stressed out too. I have some great breathing exercises to do if I feel stressed, it's just a shame Murph can't do them too :)

sins
8th November 2012, 10:07 AM
I put them both to bed, and 10 minutes later he's freaking out digging his bed, moving the washing basket from the corner, whining and whimpering, and finally just getting in a right state. He ended up covered in drool, chin, chest and front feet, I could hear him panting in the kitchen from the bedroom, his heart was pounding.

I cannot see how this has anything to do with being in pain or CM etc..
The dog is in a right state because he doesn't want to be separated from you at night.To me,it's a behavioural issue,perhaps some extreme form of separation anxiety.I would certainly work with a trainer,someone who is used to dealing with cavaliers and would be gentle and sensitive.If you're stressed and worried putting him to bed,I feel he would pick up on that and react accordingly.
I don't put our dogs to bed any more because they act up..we have had destroyed dog beds,skirting board eaten etc..my husband now puts them to bed,without any fuss or incident.there's a simple instruction.."Mind the house" ...both get up off the sofa,go to their bed in the laundry room(all baskets removed) and they get a piece of ham or chicken,a fresh bowl of water and that's it for the night.If I put them to bed,the oldest girl is howling like a werewolf and hopping off the door like a cannonball.My fault,not hers...
It's quite easy to blame CM/SM for everything strange and unusual.My Daisy became very withdrawn when in pain,never anything hyperactive like that.She just opted out of life..
It's worth trying the behaviour/training approach before heavily medicating the dog.I would also worry about him injuring himself while in that state.I think you will get to the bottom of it,but not with a neurologist.
Sins

Karlin
8th November 2012, 11:11 AM
Dogs all deal with pain in their own way -- some withdraw (I imagine that is with the most extreme levels of pain) but some definitely do get frantic like this. I think Sins could also be right, that it might be a behaviour issue (or maybe at least in part), but it is very hard to know. But the fact that it is so desperate and started up out of nowhere and only happens occasionally would lead me to think:

Given that you know he has a pain related illness that can cause sudden frantic bursts of activity in many dogs (see some of the videos I have linked to on www.smcavaliers.com and see if you see some similar behaviour) I think this may well be linked to occasional but not regular bouts of increased pain. These kinds of pain sessions can last short to long periods. They may also now be linked to behavioural issues as well -- if he knows that such behaviour gets a response. But how do you know exactly what is happening and why, and which it is? What's the best way to deal with it? I don't know.

Leo gets these kinds of totally atypical behaviours at times I know he is experiencing more pain -- if his gabapentin is late, if air pressure is shifting. On the other hand Jaspar will suddenly do that kind of digging and leaping around out of the blue, but rarely. Jaspar just does this when I amthere -- Leo will do it if I am not (eg I might hear noise from upstairs and find him digging frantically and head rubbing and looking a bit frantic -- it is always linked to increased pain).

If he is acting like this and has had his meds I will add some metacam or an extra gabapentin etc.

Is he crate trained? He might feel more secure in a covered crate at night (that's where all my dogs go). If he is able to dig things out of cupboards etc then they need to be secured -- you don;t want him getting into trouble that could make him seriously ill (eg chewing up bags which could cause a serious blockage).

MomObvious
8th November 2012, 01:02 PM
And yes Melissa it is freaking me out, it's horrible to sea him in obvious distress over something, but I'm trying to remain calm for his sake, the last thing he need is to pick up me being stressed out too. I have some great breathing exercises to do if I feel stressed, it's just a shame Murph can't do them too :)


Its funny I have seen and handled many many children's accidents some really bad, broken arms, knocked out teeth, I've used the Heimlich several times to help a chocking kid and so on (working in childcare) I naturally am not someone who panics. Even with my own kids (touch wood we have never had anything real bad) But twice when I thought Fletcher was hurt I was a mess. Once when he throw up fabric and I rushed him to the vet and when we both fell down the outside steps. I think its because he can't tell me what's the matter and I have less experience with dogs. Murphy seems to want his Mommy and Daddy when he's hurting, you and 100% correct to remain calm for his sake.

murphy's mum
8th November 2012, 01:47 PM
The dog is in a right state because he doesn't want to be separated from you at night.To me,it's a behavioural issue,perhaps some extreme form of separation anxiety.

This is what we thought, but why only at night, and why only a couple of times, with a 6-8 week gap in between them? He's now had 3 episodes while I've been sitting during the day, and 11 after being put to bed. The other thing is I normally work 8 hours a day, and have done since he was 6 months old, and he's never shown distress at being left during the day. I do come home for lunch. I'm off at the moment through ill health, but still go out for shopping, appointments etc. I even had Misty at the vet this morning, and he was fine left on his own.


It's worth trying the behaviour/training approach before heavily medicating the dog.I would also worry about him injuring himself while in that state.I think you will get to the bottom of it,but not with a neurologist.

Agreed, the Neuro suggested trying Tramadol last night, but I disagreed,so she said to take him off the Gabapentin too, as he doesn't seem to have had any benefit. Obviously if there is any change in his behaviour we'll know it was doing him good with area's other that these horrible episodes.


Is he crate trained? He might feel more secure in a covered crate at night (that's where all my dogs go). If he is able to dig things out of cupboards etc then they need to be secured -- you don;t want him getting into trouble that could make him seriously ill (eg chewing up bags which could cause a serious blockage).

No he isn't crate trained. Luckily he doesn't open cupboards, but we have two open slots between units that he was digging things out of, these have now been cleared of bags and the lap trays too.

Other than the episode, he's fine. He eats well, the loves his walks, snoozes happily beside me while I'm home, and has a play sessions with me or Stuart most nights, as Misty doesn't play. He chases toys around, has a tug-o-war, and is very ferocious barking and growling and running around us like a loon.

Karlin
8th November 2012, 04:02 PM
but why only at night, and why only a couple of times, with a 6-8 week gap in between them? He's now had 3 episodes while I've been sitting during the day, and 11 after being put to bed.

That's why I think this is more likely to be pain/neurology related. This kind of randomness is typical of CM/SM pain. A lot of CMSM dogs show more difficulty at night -- scratch more, have pain episodes then. The drooling is I think what I would find alarming -- he must really work himself into quite a state. Drooling at that severity would generally be from anxiety, pain or medical-issues. Or a mix?

I'd also wonder if there could be something else -- hydrocephalus? (but that didn't show on his MRI?). Something neurological that has developed since? If it generally ends fairly quickly then I don't now what you can do -- they sound episodic, and giving something like tramadol wouldn't act til after the episode would be over. The fact that he's done it when you are there as well as when you are not, at night, doesn't make it sound like separation anxiety to me (especially not if he's never had this before and no reason to get it now, his regular bedtime routine hasn't changed; he has another dog companion there with him, etc).

I'm not sure you can do much but continue to monitor; maybe try some other meds combinations? Some of these things -- as long as the dog is otherwise happy and comfortable and pain is medicated as needed -- are elements that can come and go. If only they could talk and tell us what is going on. :(

murphy's mum
9th November 2012, 10:36 AM
Well he didn't even want to go into the kitchen last night at bedtime, normally he goes in without a fuss, in fact if we're up later than normal he used to put himself to bed :(

In the end he came in because I was giving Misty her pills, which she gets in a light cheese slice, so he came in for his too. Went upstairs, he barked a few times, and then I could hear him digging his bed, and then all quiet. Only 10 minutes later I heard him scratching at something else, but I didn't know what, so I went downstairs and they both met me at the gate, tails going 10 to the dozen. I found he'd been scratching at the wall beside the porch door, and it looked as though he'd been licking the door? He was starting to pant and his chin was a bit wet, so I just packed them both upstairs. I don't know if this started off pain related, and is now behavioural, but I can't leave him to just get into a bad state.

I don't know if he was wanting into the porch, or out the back, or why. We got the back garden paved at the end of June and they both stopped doing their business out there, so we started letting them out the front instead. His very first episode was at the start of June, so I don't think they are related. When he was a puppy he used to sleep in the porch, as it used to be empty, except for a radiator. It's about 2m x 2m, and was perfect when he was little, but we moved him into the kitchen as he grew, I think he was about one. The wash basket he was digging out was also in the corner beside the porch door, but the bags were over the other side of the kitchen...

Then this morning, he didn't want to go into the kitchen to get fed, Stuart had to coax him in. He came in fine when I was getting ready for their walk, and he came in and sniffed all over the kitchen when I was doing the dishes just now.

murphy's mum
9th November 2012, 07:46 PM
We've decided not to even try putting him to bed in the kitchen tonight. Whether it's the right decision or not, I don't know, but if it stops him getting upset, then I think it's the right thing to do.

sins
9th November 2012, 08:44 PM
Yes,seems the best thing to do,if it reduces stress on him and gives you a bit of time and space to figure out what's happening with him.
Sins

jasperpaw
10th November 2012, 08:59 AM
This probably won`t help with your situation, but has something bad happened to him in the kitchen, our older cavalier slept in the kitchen for years and then about 6 years ago we got a new fridge and it must have made loud gurgling noises in the night which we just did`nt hear in the day time, and he got freaked out and started waking and barking several times in the night and would`t settle, this went on for a few nights before we realized what it was, the final straw came when the calendar fell of the back of the kitchen door one night and he just would`nt sleep in their again, so for the last 6 years he has been up with us at night. It is strange how things unsettle them, we now have issues with our younger cavalier, we recently got a new cooker and he hates it, if he does come into the kitchen when it is on he stands huddled up in the corner of the room or runs and hides in the other room by a chair, this all seemed to start from when the cooker timer went off, it must have a louder bleep on it than our old cooker. Hope you sort out his problems soon.

Karlin
10th November 2012, 10:55 AM
Agree with above that something bad is not associated with the kitchen. Could be something in the environment, could be that he has had some pain episodes at night when in the kitchen and now associates the kitchen in particular with the possibility of pain episodes. I'd try him in a new place and see if that helps.

murphy's mum
10th November 2012, 04:39 PM
Agree with above that something bad is not associated with the kitchen. Could be something in the environment, could be that he has had some pain episodes at night when in the kitchen and now associates the kitchen in particular with the possibility of pain episodes. I'd try him in a new place and see if that helps.

This is what we're thinking. I can't think of anything bad happening to him while he's been in the kitchen, as they are only in the kitchen over night.

Misty's snoring hasn't bothered me as much as it used to, so it's not been too bad having them upstairs, we have a superking size bed thank god. We tried putting the babygate at the bottom of the stairs after one of his previous episodes, but couldn't get Misty to settle. It may be worth trying again, or we might just leave them upstairs.