I'm new to this board. I have an almost two year boy that licks and bites his paws. Three of his paws are saliva stained. He's only been with us for about 8 weeks ... rehomed from a breeder. The breeder said he had seasonal allergies. I posted a question on another board about this and Karlin suggested I read up on SM. I don't see any "air scratching" or pain around the neck area. Sometimes he seems to be trying to reach his back paw, his head between his front legs and his body looks curved under, shaking with some yelping. The first time I saw it I thought he was having a seizure. After this happens, his mouth seems to chatter and he licks his mouth. Could this be SM symptoms?
Hi Susan and welcome! Hopefully you'll get a couple of perspectives here. I'd say this is vague enough that it's hard to tell -- culd be allergies, esxcept it sounds like he's very upset when trying to get at that back paw. Does the chattering sound come when he is chewing at the paws or after? One of my two (the one without SM) does a kind of nibbling at his paws but also at the cat and on my arm -- it is kind of a playful thing. This sounds like your dog is a bit more upset? That kind of licking at the air can be connected to SM.
If the breeder is right and they are seasonal allergies they should stop in the autumn I would guess. Did she say what season the allergies happen in? Are they summer allergies, and did she know the cause or was she guessing? Has your vet had a look at him? You would want to worj to eliminate allergies as tha cause of this behaviour first.
SM symptoms can really vary. Only about 40% of dogs ever show any scratching symptoms, according to one of the neurologists working in this are in the US.
Welcome to the board, I think you're in the right spot as far as getting as much info and opions as you can concerning your little guy. First off, what's his name?! :)
We suspect SM with our 3 yrd old tri, Abbey, and yes, her symptoms do vary and are seemingly random. This is why I've started to keep a journal, it has really proved how often her behaviors happen, etc.
I've also printed off all the SM info for my vet and given them the link to the site as well. Abbey does the neck scratching, and she also air licks and rubs her face on things. This is why SM is so hard to diagnose, as it appears to be allergies, etc. In our case, I knew something more was going on when Abbey started yelping followed by biting at herself--paws, knees, etc. Sometimes I'll see her look at her foot or leg like there is something on it, then she'll start biting it. I would say if you've heard him yelp a few times that you should really read-up and get your vet up to speed(most aren't familiar with SM) on SM as it is a progressive disease and therefore early detection is so important. The journal is an excellent way to see just how often he's having symptoms and will help your vet determine just what's going on.
Thank you for your replies.
I've only had him for 8 weeks and took him to the vet shortly after he arrived. The vet said he looks good and it could be allergies. Of course he (Ben) didn't do any of these suspicious behaviors while at the vet's office. I had a dog with allergies and know how difficult it is to pinpoint the cause.
A few minutes ago he started panting, his tail curled under, wanted to be held, and yelped. No licking or biting with this. It seems to have passed now. My daughter said he did the same thng a few days ago. I'm going to have my camera ready so that I can video these behaviors and show them to my vet. It's difficult to describe. I'd like to have him checked again to make sure it's not something obvious like his teeth or anal glands.
Aside from these odd behaviors ... he eats well, loves to go for walks, chew bones or veg out on the couch. He's a very sweet boy and so cute. He and my first cavalier have just started to play a bit together... chase each other.
Karlin, the chattering I mentioned is after the biting/licking episode.
Jen, his name is Ben.
Can someone describe "fly catching"?
There is a discussion about fly catching on this webpage: http://www.cavalierhealth.org/flycatchers.htm
Orlando, Florida USA