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Nemo was my very first Cavalier bought in the middle 70's he was with out a doubt my pride and joy. Purchased from a breeder in Nottinghamshire I had never heard of a dog show but they thought he might do well. 6 months later and armed with a yellow rosette I was hooked. In the next three years, Seb, Merlin and Jake joined my family and what a joy they were. I made many friends in the show world and although today do not show any more I still have many of those friends.
Back to Nemo when he was about 8 he started having screaming fits, he would scream and scream often lasting many minutes. Several visits to the vets where it was thought he had a spinal problem and although steroids helped some what I could tell that there were times when the pain showed in his eyes. It was eventually thought that a more specialised view was needed and we were referred to the small animal hospital in St Helens. There they explained that it may well be a cervical disc so they would perform a myelogram to see which disc was causing the problem and from there it could be removed. On going the next day to talk with the consultant I was told that all discs were fine but they had manipulated his neck and put him in a surgical collar which was to stay on for a minimum of 8 weeks. All was well until the collar came off when the screaming started again. My vet than suggested a low dose of valium and although this also helped Nemo still suffered screaming fits and with a heavy heart he was PTS as no further help could be given. I am writing this because I now strongly suspect he was suffering from SM and if only the knowledge was available then he might have been helped more. I loved him dearly and was bereft when he died especially as we did not know what was wrong. Hearing a dog scream in pain constantly is heartbreaking and my sincere hope is that breeders take a close look at their stock and health scan before they continue to breed.

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  1. Cleo's Person's Avatar
    Oh I'm so sorry to hear about Nemo's suffering. You were probably right about the SM (from the knowledge I have gleaned from this site) Thank you for sharing his story. It will serve as a prompt to ensure that I do my best for my cav and any future cavs I may be lucky enough to share my life with.
  2. Jan Bell's Avatar
    I do wonder how many dogs with SM have gone undiagnosed, or diagnosed as something else. With hindsight I suspect a lot of owners are now wondering if SM was a problem with an earlier pet.

    I am currently wondering about my mum's dog Fern. She was an ex-breeder's dog we got as a rescue, and has on occassioned cried out when touched around the front legs. It hasn't happened often, but I am now watching her closely and will check with the vet if it happens again. I haven't told my mum as I know it would worry her sick - my parents are in their 80's so I deal with all the vets stuff anyway.

    We all love these little dogs so much, so I hope more breeders will screen in the future.
  3. *Pauline*'s Avatar
    This is so very sad. Now I understand why you feel so passionately about the subject of SM and encouraging breeders to screen their dogs.