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Kate H
31st March 2013, 11:51 PM
In a recent post on another thread, Bev (Love my Cavaliers) mentioned that her Riley's 'vestibular system was very badly damaged by the SM'. This interested me, because over the last few months Oliver has had regular problems with his balance and about a month ago had a proper vestibular episode, which fortunately didn't last long and he recovered quickly from it. As the pressure created by his severely dilated ventricles affect his eyes, I queried with Clare Rusbridge whether this could also be affecting his vestibular system. She didn't seem to feel that this was very likely, given that vestibular episodes are in any case quite common in old dogs (Oliver is nearly 12). So I was interested that Bev's neurologist and surgeon felt that there was a definite connection between vestibular episodes and SM. Has anyone else had experience of this?

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Love my Cavaliers
1st April 2013, 12:04 AM
In addition to Riley's syrinxes which covered most of her spinal column, she also had a very large cerebellar cyst. That cyst may have been a contributing factor to the damage to her vestibular system, since the cerebellum and the vestibular system work together to control and maintain balance. Something to ask her neurologist about next time we go see him.

RodRussell
1st April 2013, 02:32 AM
Dr. Curtis Dewey, a New York neurologist, has found that cavaliers which develop cerebellar infarcts (strokes) also tend to have CM/SM (although he persists in calling it COMS). He has written that " the combination of COMS and cerebellar infarct is common in the CKCSC."

The symptoms of canine strokes mimic those of vestibular syndrome, particularly the head tilt, which is the most consistent sign of unilateral vestibular dysfunction, and ataxia loss of muscle coordination and nystagmus, which is an involuntary rhythmic oscillation of the eyeball.

See http://cavalierhealth.org/cerebellar_infarcts.htm for more information.

Charlifarley
1st April 2013, 10:13 PM
Hi Kate, Bosco -aged 5 has had 3 vestibular episodes in the last 12 months and he also has SM. I'm pretty sure there is a connection there somewhere.

Kate H
2nd April 2013, 12:20 PM
I found Rod's link to information on infarcts very interesting (thanks, Rod!). Could what are perceived as vestibular episodes in Cavaliers with CM/SM actually be mild cerebellar infarcts - it seems that unless you have an MRI scan immediately, it could be difficult to diagnose an infarct, especially a mild one that the dog recovers from quite quickly, before it can be scanned? And could a mild infarct actually be caused by damage to the cerebellum caused by the Chiari Malformation itself - herniation is like trying to bung an over-sized cork into a narrow bottle neck and could damage blood vessels in the process? Faced by the symptoms of a mild infarct, would many vets treat it as the very similar symptoms of a vestibular episode? Lots of interesting questions (and probably madly over-simplified by a non-vet!).

Kate, Oliver and Aled