View Full Version : Health tests in Ireland

3rd October 2005, 01:11 PM
Im just wondering at what age should i get Lady's heart checked and a check for SM etc.? And also do I just ask my vet because I havent heard alot of vets do these test especially in Ireland.

Maybe Im just being paranoid but Lady is scratching alot and I know it isnt fleas. It worries me.
:( :(
How much are these tests in Ireland, has anyone over here got them done before?

3rd October 2005, 01:43 PM
Your vet probably has listened for murmurs. That said, most vets aren't very good at picking them up, but cardiac tests here are very expensive. The clubs in the UK often offer very low cost cardiac screening by a cardiac specialist at some of their events but I am not aware whether that is done here. Most dogs do not really need a cardiac screening until over two anyway as MVD is a progressive disease and dogs under 2 are really too young to be showing murmurs -- this is what I have been told by some of the breeders but someone else might have more perspective. In the health faqs there's a post with a chart that shows the difference between vets and cardiac specialists detecting murmurs in cavaliers.

As for SM -- the place to go for testing is the UK as it would cost a minimum of €1000 here. At Chestergates Hospital in Chester. Mr Skerritt runs an SM clinic as part of a research project abnd a scan is about £175. It is easy to get over there by ferry and do this in a day or they will advise of a place to stay overnight. I think waitin til 1 or two is better unless there's real indication that she has symptoms.

Your vet would want to eliminate the many other more likely possibilities for scratching. These would include rabbit mites, skin allergies, mange, flea allergies/fleas, and PSOM -- which is a mucous plug in the middle ear that causes many similar symptoms to SM (many cavaliers seem to have this to some extent; it is probably why the breed is prone to deafness. The ear can be flushed for this). If you go to the SM site you can print out the sympmtoms document and the infosheet from Clare Rusbridge for your vets, just so that they have this for their own information. http://sm.cavaliertalk.com . SM isn't likely at all at this age; I'd guess it might be something like rabbit mites.

If you don't have insurance I really recommend it as it will give peace of mind if you do end up dealing with any more major condition and given the likelihood of heart medications etc eventually, it is good "insurance" to have anyway, pun intended. If you go to irishanimals.ie you can click on their ad and get €20 off.

4th October 2005, 02:17 PM
Edel if you haven't read through this it might be helpful:


4th October 2005, 03:24 PM
Thanks Karlin that was helpful, i am now hoping that its just allergies. Next time I go to the vet I will mention this

6th October 2005, 05:51 PM
Hi Edel,

I know how you feel .. when I joined here and read all the health issues I was constantly watching to see if there were any "symptoms"...which is a good thing obviously to be aware of but you sometimes tend to over-analyse everything ..... (felt I was back in uni having a discussion at 3am after a good night out!!!)

I think once we are aware of what's out there and viligant of any possible symptoms / changes in their behaviour then they'll be ok .....

6th October 2005, 07:33 PM
MIne had rabbit mites early on; they are quite common and really itchy. Ear infections can cause scratching too.

6th October 2005, 09:23 PM

I know exactly what you mean. That's the stage I'm in now--I'm petrified every time Cedar stops to itch! I'm constantly having to tell myself to calm down and relax a bit.

7th October 2005, 08:36 AM
I know it's very hard, but try to calm down. Sometimes the dog will realise that their scratching gets a reaction from you - even if it's just a worried look {they still count that as attention} - and they "learn" to scratch just to get attention.

Try to ignore it and maybe turn away - but learn to use your periphery vision and watch them out of the corner of your eye, to see where they are scratching.

Generally, if it's fleas, it's a very urgent scratch. If the scratching is caused by Syringomyelia, the dog doesn't tend to make contact with the skin.

Also remember that less than 50% of affected dogs do the scratching. Go back and check all the other indicators, and the keyword is really "excessive" - with regard to paw licking, face mushing etc. I know that's hard to judge though if you only have one Cavalier.

7th October 2005, 05:04 PM
Rory has SM and he definitely scratches w/ intention. I just want to point out that not all SM dogs do the "air scratching" or do it seemingly absentmindedly. He almost always makes contact w/ skin (and has little scabies to prove it) and always seems to do it intentionally. (i.e. stops, sits down, scratches furiously). And there doesn't seem to be any 1 side he scratches more or less. He scratches head, neck, ears, top of head... Sometimes bits his back legs and knees.

He also has PSOM in one ear, and although this could be one reason for some Cavalier's deafness, it isn't the only reason Cavs may be predisposed to deafness. The white spotting in blenheims and tris can be the cause of deafness in any breed with white spots. The cells that cause the color also need to be present in the middle ear for hearing to function. So dogs w/ white spots are more likely to not have these cells in the middle ear and then be deaf. Same cause as Dalmatians.

But yes - there are LOOOOOTS of reasons for scratching, not just SM! So be careful not to over analyze. Ask others who live w/ the dog if they think he's scratching more. And know it's very uncommon to be seen in very young dogs (underr 5 or 6 months). I know it's easy to become obsessed w/ worrying and freaking out every time your dog scratches. Just remember that ALL dogs scratch! It's OK! Do what you can to determine if it's SM and try not to stress out too much.