I am so sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Now that you know, you can do the right things for Ruby to keep her comfortable. There are alot of board members who have SM dogs that are managed well with medication and living modifications from what I have read. You have a wonderful fellowship of support and information here. Please keep posting on how she is doing. :hug:
Hi Dawn, so sorry you're going through this.
Here are some questions for the neurologist:
Think of your dog's neurologist as 1/3 of a three way partnership [neuro, vet, you] in managing Ruby's lifelong, progressive illness. You're going to want to establish how often she will need to be seen by the neuro, whether the neuro will work with your vet for managing her medications, and how the neuro will respond to any emergencies if they should arise.
When Charlie was alive, our neurologist worked in a full service animal hospital, so I could call anytime of the day or night, and on weekends and holidays if we had an emergency. And while on the topic of emergencies, fnd out what the neuro considers to be an emergency - if my dog is in pain and the meds aren't working, it is an emergency to me. We also had an arrangement with our neuro and regular vet, where the neuro would call in additional pain meds for Charlie to our regular vet, saving us a 2 hour trip.
Also, and this is really important, if you are on a tight budget and the neurologist prescribes very expensive, complex, or out of the ordinary medications that have to be filled at a special compounding pharmacist - ask if they can work with you to prescribe more affordable medicines. [The exception to this would be if your dog is having decompression surgery!!!] I'll give you an example - Charlie needed 80 mg Gabapentin, which was very expensive to have filled at a compounding pharmacist. Geordie gets 100mg Gabapentin which costs $4.00 a month at our supermarket pharmacy for humans!!!
Think in terms of all the questions you would ask your pediatrician if you had a newborn baby with a serious illness. :thmbsup:
Thankyou all for your caring informative replies. :rah:
Just over a week has passed since Ruby was diagnosed and I have found it quite an ordeal in some respects.
At first I noticed every little possible symptom ie scratching, a tiny wobble on her back leg when she got up from her nights sleep ( I mean tiny!). However, I could spend the rest of her lifebeing so finely tuned in to her that I would miss the enjoyment and fun of her being just Ruby.
So, I have made a conscious decision (along with husband and son) to try and put SM to back of our minds. When she has a scratch we just ignore it, she did one bunny hop yesterday on her walk so I have made a mental note of that and if it develops I will write it down for when I chat to Mr Deutschland in 2 weeks.
She has - so far - never shown a sign of pain when walking, scratching or indeed at any time. I am so tuned in to her that I know I would pick up on it. So, we have to move forward and just love every moment of being with her, like we did before the diagnosis and not let it hang over us. If ever she shows the tiniest amount of pain or excess scratching to what she does now I will be off to Chestergates! :dogwlk:
Thank-you all again - wonderful people that your are.
Follow up appointment
Ruby went back for 3 week post diagnosis check - her bloods are fine so she can stay on diuretic. She is being kept on anti- biotics as her ears are a bit troublesome still - one has debris in and the other 'Martin couldn't see her ear drum'. She also has 'eye drops' for her ears! Still not so sure I fully comprehend Ruby's MRI results as Martin was in a hurry due to over running of surgery prior to Ruby being seen and also I find I am still trying to make sense of his first sentence and then realise we are on sentence 3! Such a lovely man though! Ruby has 1 leaky syrinx. He saw her air scratch but wasn't too concerned. So we are back to our own vets in 3 weeks for ear check up.
Just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear of yet another cavvie with this health problem. You will get lots of support here, so stay strong.
Very sorry to hear that.I hope this symptoms are going to be something Ruby and you can live with :xfngr: and they will not worsen.
Oliver has a small syrinx and (so far:xfngr:) no symptoms, but he too has itchy ears at the moment (mites). I find that very occasionally he will apparently bunny hop or air scratch once, but if I let him sit down, all he actually wants to do is scratch his itchy ear for a few seconds and then he will carry on with his walk quite normally. And after a few days of Thornit in his ears, he's itching less anyway. So you may find that Ruby's scratching is less a symptom of SM and more just plain itchy ears. Oliver is very fit and healthy and leads a normal life, so I hope once Ruby's ears are sorted she will be the same.
Kate and Oliver
Martin is almost certainly talking about ear problems possibly related to PSOM. They do use antibiotics at Chestergates for this and find it works in some cases -- it is very hard to determine whether scratching is due to PSOM or SM. I am going to try their suggested treatment route for this with three of mine to see if it helps. Three of my four have PSOM which seems to be very prevalent in the breed and is probably one of the reasons many go deaf; Lucy is fully clear.