View Full Version : Itching

2nd November 2005, 11:26 AM
Just wondering. My cavalier is itching mostly during the night. She actuall woke me last night she was itching so much. I am going to get her a flea collar today but i dont think thats it. Its mostly her ears and neck she is itching.

Anyone have any idea what this is?

Bruce H
2nd November 2005, 12:46 PM
The first thing I would do is rule out is the easy stuff.
Does she wear a collar that might be bothering her? If so, maybe the collar is only worn when she goes outside. I would have her checked for an ear infection. As for the flea collar, I have never had any luck with them; gave up on them years ago. We use Frontline Plus at our house. If you think you have fleas, your vet could also give you a recommendation. If there are fleas in the house, you also need to take care of that. The last time I had fleas in the house was better than 20 years ago, so I am not at all up on what is out there for that. And finally is the really scary one: SM. If everything else checks out, then start educating yourself about SM.

2nd November 2005, 02:28 PM
Is it only happening at night or is she itching throughout the day as well? If it's only at night, it wouldn't make sense that it's fleas.
I have to disagree with Bruce in that if everything else checks out you should research SM. I strongly feel any Cavalier owner needs to be educated about this disease as it is much more common than people are willing to admit. This breed needs a proactive owner, especially considering most vets aren't familiar with SM. Karlin has set up an excellent SM forum on this board, adn the best advice is to print information off for your vet so you're both on the same page should you need to be. I'm personally dealing with this with Abbey, and it's a lot easier and less scary when you have as much information as possible.

2nd November 2005, 03:35 PM
This is just a quickie as I have tons to do. BUT, I agree with Jen on this one. Maxx has SM and once you know what you're dealing with it's not quite as scary as it could be. Of course there are extreme cases of SM and lots of people have lost young dogs through it.

It IS something that EVERY Cavalier owner should be aware of and learn about though. I am extremely lucky in that I have an excellent Vet who knows all about SM and has been a wonderful support to me and Maxx :)

3rd November 2005, 12:17 PM
I think both Jen and Bruce are right regarding SM -- think both of them are actually pretty much saying the same thing, which is also what I recommend on the symptoms sheet and my 'Is this SM' section here: http://sm.cavaliertalk.com

That is that as Bruce says, check out all the other options that this could be and when you have eliminated everything else THEN you should seriously look into the possibility of SM (and I can give you some help there), but testing for it is costly and probably best to do in the UK so it isn't where I'd start -- so many things could be causing itching! Allergies are a possibility too but be aware that vets will geneally not know anything about SM and keep misdiagnosing it as 'allergies'.

But as Jen says: all cavalier owners need to be familiar witgh this as it looks as if the rate in the breed is extremely high, though very few ever have a really swrious case.

That said: my 'is this SM' section at the link above will suggest some things to try if you are wondering about itching. You shoukld take her to the vet to check for: fleas, rabbit mites, and/or ear infections. Any of these would be a common cause and itching is often worse at night. Don;t use a flea collar -- the vet will give you a flea prevan tative that you just pour between their shoulders and it works for a couple of months. Much more effective than a flea collar. Let us know what the vet says.

4th November 2005, 01:51 PM
My newest adoptee (age 7) started the itching as well about 6-8 wks ago. I contacted the previous breeder who stated that Sophie was rather itchy in the fall season, so that was probably it.

I did have her checked out by my vet. He said we could try her on some Benedryl, etc. I just stuck with some real good oatmeal shampoo that I used about every 2 wks. for about a month. The itching has subsided quite abit now, so that makes me feel better.

Sophie was itching so bad at night that she had pulled out some clumps of hair! :( So, it may just be a seasonal thing - we live in the US midwest and have lots of cornfields, dust, trees, so it's not surprising that she would have some allergies. Actually my other cav had a few fleas on her, and didn't itch at all! (Both have been Frontlined again).

4th November 2005, 02:45 PM
Just keep in mind that, if a vet cannot, after process of elimination, find any apparent cause for scratching there is a real possibility of syringomyelia. Check out the symptoms sheet at www.sm.cavaliertalk.com and keep an eye out for any additional things listed. A dog pulling out clumps of hair by scratching is severely bothered by something, whether it be parasites or something more serious. With SM, itching can subside as well and then return which is why it gets misdiagnosed for allergies. Just some things to consider as well. A lot of neurologists feel many, perhaps even most, of the supposed allergy cases in cavaliers are actually dogs with various grades of SM.