tips for living with SM
This is a thread for sharing tips on how to make it easier for us to care for our cavaliers who have SM.
The medicine schedule that works best for Geordie is: 6am Gabapentin, 8am 1/4 Prilosec, 2pm Gabapentin, 8pm 1/4 Prilosec, 10pm Gabapentin. I've found that splitting his dose of Prilosec actually works better for him, and the neurologist approved. We keep this schedule posted in the kitchen so there is no mixup on his next dose.
We use the stove timer to help manage his schedule. I set the timer for 2 hours when I give him his 6am dose. Then Colin sets the timer for 6 hours when he gives Geordie his 8am dose, etc. Then if we're busy, we have the timer beep to remind us of his next dose.
We've had 2-3 times where Geordie was restless at night. I learned something from Geordie about what he needs. I had a thick comforter folded on the floor (I was planning to wash it the next day) and he climbed on and made himself comfortable for the night. It really works for our little guy! :)
Does anyone have tips for living with SM?
Why are you using prilosec? Is the gabapentin causing upset stomach? I wonder if we need to add it to our regimen. This is a great thread btw. I'm trying to think of stuff but can't really think of anything special that we do. I'm looking out for some great tips!
I use Prilosec (which is now available in the US as a generic over the counter drug Omeprazole) to reduce Geordie's production of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). I'm using this rather than Lasix, a diuretic that reduces CSF by pulling fluids out of the body. I don't think you'd want to use both at the same time. I don't know if there are studies showing which is more effective. Charlie's neurologist took him off Lasix and put him on Omeprazole, so I automatically started Geordie on Omeprazole when he was diagnosed with SM.
Originally Posted by Bridam
Ah. I must have gotten confused with the other pill that started with a p that we used in conjunction with the prednisone to reduse tummy ache.
Prilosec is an antacid primarily and therefore also reduces stomach discomfort. However a secondary effect is on the CSF. So generally it is prescribed for SM dogs for that effect, not as an antacid. Another drug that works in a similar way is Tagamet (which I use for Leo).
Some other suggestions:
1) Raising feeding dishes and water dishes as lowering the head can be very uncomfortable for an SM dog.
2) Get a few of those crate liners with the raised edges (like bumpers) as SM dogs often like to have their head elevated when they are resting.
3) A dog having a pain session can sometimes be calmed and the pain alleviated by applying something cold -- many use a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a dishtowel, applied to the neck and shoulder area where syrinxes tend to form
4) Keep ears trimmed short for easy grooming so lessen the discomfort if you have a dog that is sensitive around the head/ears, as many SM dogs are.
5) Use a harness for walks, not a collar -- though infrequently, some dogs may be more comfortable with a collar because of the location of its syrinxes. You may need to try different types of harness to find the most comfortable for your dog, depending on where it feels pain or irritation
6) Some say rolling their dog on its back gently during a pain session seems to alleviate pain -- maybe it shifts the position of a syrinx or changes the CSF flow dynamics but does help some dogs.
7) Some dogs like a cool place to lie down and those chilly mats designed to keep dogs cool may be appreciated
- For gait problems, trim the hair that grows between the foot pads so your dog will have better traction on smooth floors. Also, using a little paw wax on his/her foot pads can help with traction.
- For gait problems, put down runner and throw rugs on smooth floors to help with traction.
- For extremely sensitive ears, before going outside on a windy or cold day, tie a little bandana on his/her head to cover the ears and hold them down. This will make trips outside more enjoyable for cavaliers who have SM pain.
You guys are awesome. I've never heard of paw wax and my little girl slips all over the place. Does it leave a residue on furniture?
My only tip would be to wrap her gabapentin in cheese and to get dog ramps for the couch and bed to make life easier on them.
I bought Excel 8 in 1 Paw Wax at PetSmart. It can be used year round, but they think of it as a winter product (they had some in the stock room though.) I bought it on the recommendation of my agility instructor to prevent Geordie slipping on the dogwalk. It comes in a little flat can like shoe polish.
Originally Posted by Bridam
It should not leave a residue on the furniture if applied correctly. First trim the hair that grows between her foot pads even with the pads. Rub a small amount onto each foot pad, then let her outside to walk around. When she comes in, wipe her feet off in case she picked up any bits of debris. Her feet will not be sticky, just protected. I used it on Charlie to help him walk on smooth floors, as he would not stay on the rugs I laid out for him.
I have a cavalier who is 2 and has SM, at the moment she is on gabapentin 3 times a day, you mention that your cavalier has Prilosec, will I be able to get this from our local vet? and what are the side effects ( if any?) Many thanks