Hello all,

I'm so glad I found this information, just wish I had realized sooner that Lizzie's quirks could be SM. She's almost 3.5 years and I've had her for almost 2 years of that, having gotten her as an adult dog from a breeder. I feel like a bad mom, but I guess all I can do is start now and try to help her.

She's always been very itchy, especially around her ears. I'm realizing now that she usually scratches on her left side.

She does the funny looking bunny hop, usually while we're out on a walk. I just thought she was multi-tasking, not wanting to waste time while out to stop and scratch an itch.

She rubs her face on her fabric crate, on the floor, or against the furniture sometimes, but it doesn't last long and I didn't find this to be strange behavior until seeing it on the symptoms list.

A few months after I got her, she started the air-biting/fly-catching. I call it her snapping turtle impression. It started during a long car ride and she was relegated to the back seat (I have a barrier that keeps her from climbing into the front seat). She started this snapping/air biting thing and continued to do it practically the whole way. I thought it was her playful way of trying to get to me despite the barrier. She usually does it in what seems like a playful way around me or another person. She doesn't do it when off sitting somewhere by herself.

She also frequently scoots on her bottom along the floor. I've always found this embarassing, but during our two annual exams, she's had full anal glands that needed to be expressed. Though, she'd do it again soon after having visited the vet and getting them expressed which seemed odd. I've seen this mentioned in a couple of the postings, but it's not mentioned in the list of SM symptoms. Is there thought to be some correlation?

A few times, but not many, she's squealed as if in pain and I couldn't determine the cause.

She doesn't like anyone other than me to touch her head. If someone approaches to pat her there, she backs away. But she'll let strangers pat her on the back. She is a very shy dog and I attributed this behavior to her shyness.

I have several questions about what I should do.

1. Does anyone know of an insurance program that covers MRI's and SM medications?
2. If I suspect SM but have had no diagnosis, would I be able to get her coverage?
3. I live in Massachusetts and see several neurologists on the list. Does anyone have any personal recommendations among this list. If that is allowed as a topic of discussion on this list.
4. How much does the medication cost?
5. What are some of the side effects of the medication?
6. How do you know if you're improving their quality of life?

Thanks in advance for any advice you care to share.