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Thread: Regards from Finland

  1. #1
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    Default Regards from Finland

    Hi all !

    I have 5 years old cavalier boy and I suspect he is having SM. Unfortunately in Finland there isn't very much information available so luckily I found your website.

    My dog is scratching his left side, no pain or yelping, no screaming. Touching certain area on the left side of his neck (behind the ear) causes scratching.
    Mostly scratches in lead (we are using harnesses) and when excited. During exercise (jogging, agility) after warm up he is not usually scratching, some how it seems that when body is warmed up - no scratching. Vet physiotherapist said that probably the exercise increases secretion of endorphines and encefalines - reduces feel of possible pain.

    One week ago I noticed that he was licking he's front feet (not excessively) and then last weekend he had some kind of seizure - like "fly catching" from the floor.
    This was the first time I noticed these things and made me more confident about the SM.

    There might be days when he is not scratching at all. It was about 1.5 years ago when I first noticed that this kind of scratching doesn't seem to be normal behaviour.

    We went to xray (head & neck area) and nothing abnormal was found, and also skin has been checked. The vet said that liquid in the middle ear (PSOM) would have been shown in the xray picture so PSOM should have been eliminated. MRI is in my future plans (cost 700 eur and 700 km away from my city). Vet gave Rimadyl for 5 days but as the current symptoms are so mild and vary from day to day, difficult to say if Rimadyl has any effect or not.

    As cavalier people in UK are much more familiar with the SM than in Finland, I would appreciate your comments:

    Do you agree that my dog most probably have SM ?
    Has anyone tried acupunction for pain relief ?
    Any experience on homeopathy ?
    Does my dog feel pain (even no yelping, no screaming), is he scratching because of pain or other "feelings" in the neck area ?
    How do you feel about agility ? (our favourite hobby where we have gained very nice results) Does the dog suffer from training, should we quit ?
    Any experience giving extra B vitamin (neuropain relief) ?
    Should we continue with Rimadyl or other medication even the symptoms are not severe ?

    Thank you for this site, any advises, comments are welcome.

    Best regards,
    Tanja
    Last edited by tanrau; 1st August 2007 at 12:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi and welcome to the site. I can answer a few of these questions; I'm sorry that these concerns bring you to the site but hope you will find some support and helpful information here.

    * Do you agree that my dog most probably have SM ?

    I would say the signs are likely, especially that he has had a recent seizure, and that you have eliminated PSOM as being a possible cause. Dogs will often scratch to one side when they have an asymmetrical syrinx. But at the same time your dog seemed only to start showing symptoms when older, which is generally better -- if this is SM, it means probably a milder case and/or slow progression.

    * Has anyone tried acupunction for pain relief ?

    I know people who have and feel it is very helpful; others who didn't feel it was helpful. One of the neurologists in Washington State in the US recommends it.

    * Any experience on homeopathy ?

    No, but Nicki does and I am sure she will reply here too.

    * Does my dog feel pain (even no yelping, no screaming), is he scratching because of pain or other "feelings" in the neck area ?

    Dr Clare Rusbridge feels scratching is a sign of damage to the dorsal horn region of the spine and probably indicates at least discomfort and possibly pain. In the videos that I have on www.smcavalier.com you can see the severely affected cavalier 'only' scratches but is shrieking wih pain. Fortunately this level of pain with scratching seems uncommon.


    * How do you feel about agility ? (our favourite hobby where we have gained very nice results) Does the dog suffer from training, should we quit ?

    Anything that accelerates the flow of the spinal fluid will have the potential to make syrinxes worse. You need to balance the dog's quality of life from doing actitivites it enjoys, to the risks you are willinbg to take that the SM could worsen. If your cavalier is scratching a lot after training then it is perhaps better to reduce the levels of activity. Personally I don't do agility with my affected cavalier but I do let him run around all he wants. He is a fairly low key dog though. If my dog really loved agility and it would be a comrpomise for him to stop, then I'd probably consider it important but I'd be watching very closely for saigns of worsening symptoms.


    * Any experience giving extra B vitamin (neuropain relief) ?

    No.

    * Should we continue with Rimadyl or other medication even the symptoms are not severe ?

    If the dog is scratching enough for it to be really noticable I'd consider trying: Lasix (frusemide)
    or Cimetidine
    and/or Gabapentin (neurontin)

    Have you seen the treatment diagram from Clare Rusbridge?
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  3. #3
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    Tanja

    So sorry to hear about your boy. But you've definitely come to the right place to advice/guidance. Hopefully Karlin has give you some good information you can use.
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

  4. #4
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    Thank you for your reply, I really appreciate the info you provided. I didn't realize that acceleration of the flow of the spinal fluid will have the potential to make syrinxes worse - now I will pay more attention to the level of exercise and reduce agility activities, I don't want to take any risks.

    We have an appointment with vet physiotherapist (she also does acupuntion treatments) at the end of August, probably we will try acupunction.

    Yes, I have found Clare's treatment diagram. I will print it out and consult with the vet after Rimadyl treatment is over. Let's see what kind of medication is suggested and available in Finland.

    Are MRI results stored in UK in any database from where breeders can see them when planning litters ? And is MRI scan required to get combination accepted by breed association or is the scan just a recommendation ?

  5. #5
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    The scan is currently only a recommendation from the main group of SM researchers. None of the clubs anywhere are yet advising or recommending scans. But more and more breeders are getting at least some of their breeding stock scanned. The breeding recommendations remain experimental because research is only just underway, but it closely matches the long-accepted MVD recommendations in purpose and concept -- that by breeding from least-affected dogs, incidence should be lowered and severity lessened.

    The UK club does have an online list of scanned dogs, but these do not offer results and the results could be good or bad (one of my dogs is on the list and I will add a second).

    For anyone interested in finding breeders with puppies from litters where the breeders do follow the SM breeding recommendations and do MRI, I can put people in contact with the appropriate people to help them with this.

    I would guess the Swedish CKCS club would be the most likely to make scanning a recommendation or perhaps eventually, even a requirement, as they already make cardiac testing a requirement for puppies to be given registration and they are quite strict on this.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  6. #6
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    I'm sorry to hear about your dog Tanja.

    The health committee of the cavalier club in Finland is negotiating with a clinic to get MRI scans for cavaliers to a reasonable price. Hopefully we will be able to start scanning dogs soon. Unfortunately this is not helping you Tanja as the scans are for asymptomatic dogs. Dogs with symtoms obviously need more than just these scans.

    Also in Finland it is obligatory to have a cardiac test of the parents to get the puppies registered. This requirement has been valid since 1997. The result of the cardiac test doesn't, however, matter, which is sad. On the other hand we have a database which is open for everybody where all the health tests and also results of shows and competitions are shown. So every puppy buyer has the opportunity to check the health status of the puppies parents. The cavalier club also recommed health tests for eyes and patellas and most breeders do check these.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for that additional information on the work of the Finnish Club. Please let me know if and when they bring in a screening programme as I would be happy to list that on my SM website, www.smcavalier.com and any other initiatives to do with SM. That is very exciting that the club is working to make this happen.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  8. #8
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    Tanja, I am sorry to read about your cavalier boy. I hope that his symptoms can be relieved.

    But as jatomic mentioned the open database of cavaliers healt data in Finland, I wanted to ask the link to the database.

    Quote Originally Posted by jatomic View Post
    Also in Finland it is obligatory to have a cardiac test of the parents to get the puppies registered. This requirement has been valid since 1997. ... we have a database which is open for everybody where all the health tests and also results of shows and competitions are shown. .

  9. #9
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    Here's the link: http://jalostus.kennelliitto.fi/

    Not everything is translated into English, but I'm sure you will understand it quite nicely anyway.

  10. #10
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    Just to inform that Finnish cavalier club now has an agreement with a clinic to scan asymptomatic dogs. And in addition to very reasonable price (400 eur). Club is also offering additional 100 eur support money for first 50 dogs to be scanned.

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