View Full Version : SM and aggression?

7th June 2013, 11:14 PM
Cav has SM and takes Gabapentan and cimitidine. Cav thanks I need protection and growls at family members when they approach. He has advanced on them across the room. Recently he was on my lap when someone approached and he turned on me when I put pressure on his rear to push him down to the floor.
To-day was the worst when a fight broke out between the cav and the griffon as the cav was coming in from outside. I had the worst time breaking them up and was bitten.
So I wonder if SM causes aggression.
Any comments aware welcome.

Margaret C
8th June 2013, 12:58 AM
I have known of a few cavaliers euthanized because they have changed from loving family pets to being aggressive and totally unpredictable.

I think the pain can cause them to become defensive

8th June 2013, 01:14 AM
Well, when I have a migraine and feel awful I can be a "little" (read VERY) hard on the people in my house :) So it makes sense that a dog in pain could be aggressive. SM per say does not cause the aggression rather its the pain. Perhaps this is a sign your cavalier's meds need to be adjusted. Honestly I would start there, I'm sure you will not be the only owner to ever call your neuro with this issue. In the mean time try to avoid contact with your dog, the last thing you need is someone dog or human getting hurt. Rethink the household "dog rules" perhaps instead of someone approaching you they could call you into another room, or a few baby gates to keep the dogs separated. Only until you can figure something else out. I hope a simply med change can help you and your dogs.

8th June 2013, 01:08 PM
I will tell you so honestly, until we got Toby's drugs worked out for his SM, his was very aggressive...would growl at my face if I even tried to kiss him. It would make me so upset. But I didn't know why then.

We adopted Toby when he was 5 1/2, he showed aggression right away...to dogs and people. I wondered if we could even go on. Then I got hi MRI'ed (due to other factors) and found out he had SM. We got him on Gabapentin and even tried anxiety drugs like prozac, and he did okay for a month or two, but still seemed not okay when we got around his head 70% of the time and hated dogs even getting near. Then he started showing other signs of pain and we went back to the neuro knowing he was still not okay - so we switched to Lyrica and Omeprazole and...his whole world changed....so did ours. It has been a month and a half...no growling at me, no aggressive episodes, nothing. He can even walk past dogs (still is not a dog dog, but less reactive) and just so much more relaxed and okay.

I am not saying to switch meds, that is a neuro call and every dog is different, but I can say that SM, in my experience, does cause behaviour changes....and it's not their fault.

Having had a surgery gone wrong a few years ago and being in chronic pain myself (at a very young age), I can attest that pain alters behaviour and emotion. My hubby and I always talk about it - but dogs can't, and when they feel like crap, their only mode of "it hurts!" And to protect is to act.

Just sharing my story...SM has been one of my hardest journeys...but also, taught me a world about life, dogs, care and selflessness.

Kate H
8th June 2013, 11:13 PM
My black and tan Rowley, who I had in the 1990s and with hindsight almost certainly had undiagnosed severe SM, turned into a snapping, snarling fury when picked up. After several cut lips, I learnt to face him away from me when I needed to pick him up. He also hated being brushed and again would growl at me. It is natural instinct to warn off someone who is causing you pain - or in the case of other dogs, could potentially do so. My Oliver doesn't generally growl at other dogs (Staffies excepted!), but he is always careful to avoid any dog who is boisterous or playful around him - if your head aches anyway, the last thing you want is to be jumped on or bowled over. Talk to your neuro about increasing his gabapentin or possibly changing to lyrica - it looks as if his pain really isn't under control.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

9th June 2013, 10:21 AM
That's exactly what I was going to say Kate. In other words the aggression is the dog's anticipation of the pain likely to be caused by being handled by visitors to the house or the behaviour of other dogs.

Now that Rebel's medication seems to have stopped the pain altogether - well for a while at least - he has become more loving and affectionate than he has ever been since I got him as a tiny puppy. He even licks my hands these days to thank me for filling the water bowl up for him or for getting out a lead to take him for a walk.

9th June 2013, 03:59 PM
I'm overwhelmed by the responses.
His meds will be looked into right away.
Many thanks to all.

9th September 2013, 11:11 AM
my first dog with Sm was aggressive from being a puppy , always bad tempered & thought biting was a hobby ( people , animals etc but not us) we had her cousin who I also think had SM and he used to sit and growl at himself and was aggressive with the other dogs. My current 3 with sm are lovely natures but one of them has had a total change in personality from being bouncy and outgoing to fearful and quiet.

I've also noticed they seem to hallucinate and climb up to imaginary things on the walls. So i'm not sure it is pain or some kind of dementia. Even when my girl was in agony the night before she died she did not bite us