SM in 5 year old dog
She has always been an itchy dog but she never air scratched and doesn't seem to focus on on side. She does roll on her back a lot and growl at her back. She also does not tail chase. She does scoot her butt across the floor often, but no more than 5 scoots. I do find the occasional flea on her despite her having regular flea treatment and we have tried different types, they just seem to love her. Our house probably needs to be bug bombed.
There are some other reason why I'm concerned about SM, we have always joked about her being a drama queen because she yelps loudly when we pick her up. but not all the time it just seems to be occasional if we pick her up in a weird way. There was an episode a couple years ago though where picking her up in any way would make her yelp. Also I noticed she walks with her back legs far apart on walks. I don't know if she always does this or maybe its a cavalier thing since I know some breeds tend to walk with their legs far apart.
Anyways, a week ago she got into some stuff and ate it. The next day she came up to me and went in my lap and was whining. I gave her a kiss on top of the head and she yelped out in pain. She also seemed lethargic that day. My mom also later in the day pet her on her head and she yelped out again. And about 30 min later she was on the couch and went from a laying down position to a sitting up position and yelped out again. When we let the dogs go outside to use the bathroom that day too she would bark in excitement like she always does, but it was a mix of excitement and pain yaps. We figured it was because of what she ate since she passed it all and it all came out in one stool, and her next stool was normal.
It does seem as though she is experiencing some kind of pain episodes. Has she seen a vet? What does he/she say? Many dogs scratch for all the normal reasons, itchy skin, allergies, etc. The scooting could be caused by impacted or infected anal glands.
I don't have any experience with SM, but it seems that, at the very least, a vet visit is in order and possibly a referral to a neurologist.
You are right in thinking it would be a good idea to have this checked out more thoroughly. There could be a couple of possibilities, but I think you are unfortunately seeing a lot of the more suspect signs for SM which really should be checked in the first instance by a vet and probably need a referral to a neurologist.
There's a lot of misinformation about SM on the net -- dogs with SM do not only scratch to one side (though this is sometimes the case, if the syrinx is really lopsided in shape in their spine). Many SM dogs never air scratch (only one of my three with SM does, and then only rarely) -- indeed at least a third never seem to scratch at all.
But the kind of come-and-go pain, difficulty in being touched sometimes when lifted, discomfort on the head out of the blue -- those things are often very typical for CM/SM.
I'd talk to ypur vet and have them read the material on Dr Clare Rusbridge's site, on SM. I think the pain aspects and unexpected yelping at various times are more of an indication than scratching might be, and your vet may also suggest checking with a neurologist.
I'd also have your vet view the way she walks. This could be knee luxation or hip dysplasia or perhaps she's fine and it just seems odd - and if the vet has a look you'd at least get a professional opinion on that. There's also a chance that some disk problem is causing the pain and odd walk but that too often needs to be investigated by MRI for an accurate diagnosis -- the fact that she's always been an itchy dog plus the yelping and sometimes-body pain though would sound more typical of SM.
It would be very much worth having this thoroughly checked as the earlier the diagnosis, the more options -- plus she can be made considerably more comfortable if there is SM (or disk disease or joint issues, any of which would need treatment, if present).
There's a good list of neurologists at www.cavalierhealth.org which might be useful.
Clare Rusbridge's website is: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/Syringomyelia/
Let us know what your vet thinks and best of luck. :flwr:
oh ok, nice to know there is misinformation and may be exhibiting more signs than I thought. She's been exhibiting worse symptoms today. Didn't want to hop onto the couch. She also has been yelping a lot. She even just shook her head after coming inside and yelped. Also, she ran after something in the yard and hitched up her left hind leg and yelped. Definitely will be scheduling something. I hate seeing her hurting so much.
There could be a range of causes, but you are definitely seeing various signs that indicate pain, so a vet visit asap would be the right starting point.
I think possibly you could be dealing with at least two different things. What you describe with her hind legs are some of the signs owners often see with a luxating patella (loose knee joint). A vet should be able to immediately see if this is a problem by examining the leg.
The head shaking and itchiness could be signs of ear infections or ear mites as well as SM. The yelping and reluctance to get on the couch, could be associated with disk problems.
But all of these things are also potential signs for syringomyelia. You'll need to start down the road of investigation but there are various things to check out first.
Often you need to be quite proactive with vets as they are generally not that familiar with SM and will miss the actual diagnosis and can be very obstinate about referring people to a neurologist. It is right for them to check out all other possibilities first and you might find she has a number of unrelated things going on that need separate treatment. Or it could be SM in combination with any of the above things. Or just SM. You've been active in doing some research and getting to know some possibilities which will put you in the position of helping your cavalier start to feel much better.
Please let us know how you get on and feel free to come ask any questions or just to share what is going on. It can feel very isolating initially to be dealing with any of these things but lots of us here have experience with our own SM cavaliers, cavaliers with luxating patella and disk disease.