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Thread: Just had SM diagnosis - help!

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Just had SM diagnosis - help!

    Hi All

    As in case of many - I have discovered this fab site while surfing for moral support. I have a gorgeous black and tan cavi called Tilly - she is just 18 months old. She has had numerous problems including luxating patellae - but the latest and most terrifying is a diagnosis of SM through MRI.
    We are just devastated - Tilly is (as are all cavis) the most sweet girl ever. Her symptoms are pretty bad and frequent - air scratching, rubbing face along floor, rubbing against furniture, ataxia ... all of which occur daily if not hourly. Her pain 'seems' to be under control - I say that but she pants and paces alot however is not screaming out as much. Shes on daily Rimadyl and we are considering other options.
    Can anyone please, please let me know how they are finding other drugs or treatments. We are seeing a Neurologist next week. Thank you so much for any guidance anyone can offer - feeling shell shocked.

    Ruthie

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    I'm so sorry to hear Tilly has SM. I don't have any experience of it but wanted to offer a while you wait for a reply. Many on this forum have a lot of the most up to date info on SM and know where to get help. Hang in there.
    ....
    Dylan, Poppy & Kipling's
    *''' ' "*Mummy`` "*'
    ,'*" "*'

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    Hi Ruth:

    I am glad you are getting in to see a neurologist -- they will be able to give you the best prognosis on what to do next. I would guess that surgery would be recommended as the best option -- that's a lot of the more serious symptoms in a fairly young dog and in such cases, the decompression is probably the only medium to long term chance of resolution. Medications can sometimes manage the basic pain but that is about it. I do know that neurologists generally feel that younger dogs (under 4) showing obvious symptoms are the more severe cases. But it is a very personal decision and there will likely be many factors you wish to weight up. We have some people who manage their dogs medically (inlcuding me) and some who have had the surgery.

    In my own case I have a mildly symptomatic dogs who is approaching 5 but has slowly progressed (he was MRId before he was symptomatc, so I knew he had SM and watched for the start of symptoms). I am at the point where I need to consider whether to opt for surgery or not myself, and will likely go over to talk to Clare Rusbridge this summer to have Leo assessed again. It is a hard set of decisions but from my own standpoint -- if I were in your situation I would opt for the surgery immediately and asap if Tilly is a good candidate.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Dear Ruth
    so sorry to read this about your lovely Tilly, I hope you can at least help to make her comfortable x

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    Okay. Slow down and know that everything is going to be okay. You came to the right place and the major contributors (Karlin, Cathy, etc.) will lead you in the right direction--they did for me.

    It sounds like you are on the right path and are thus in better shape than when I got the diagnosis for my dog. The best thing you can do is see a neurologist that has actually treated these dogs and read everything you can on this website.

    Here is my experience and how the caring people here helped us do everything we could

    http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=22528

  6. #6
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    Default SM diagnosis

    Thanks all for your kind words and advice.
    My appointment to see the neurologist has just been put back to 4th June - hoping to keep my girl as comfortable as possible in the meantime.
    Didn't mean to panic - just felt awful at the news and at how quickly she seems to have deteriorated - she now walks in a permanent 'C' shape. Its a comfort to know that others have travelled this journey.
    Will keep reading and posting - my grateful thanks again
    Ruth

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    Hang in there Ruth. We're all rooting for Tilly
    Claire
    Once owned by Rudeepoohs
    then rescued by CaraMia and Minnie Moo.
    Missing all my girls every day....

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    Ruth have you been given any medication for her (oh just read that you said Rimadyl -- I would DEFINITELY get her on something stronger if she is still having symptoms and that is all she is on; that's a very low level painkiller)? Your vet should definitely work from Clare's treatment protocol. The C shape -- scoliosis -- often disappears as dogs seem to adjust to coping with the discomfort that initially causes this. But it is a serious symptom so you definitely want that neuro consult.

    From Clare's document:

    Pain is positively correlated with syrinx width and symmetry (Fig 2); i.e. dogs with a wider asymmetrical syrinx are more likely to experience discomfort, and dogs with a narrow syrinx may be asymptomatic, especially if the syrinx is symmetrical. Dogs with a wide syrinx may also scratch, typically on one side only, while the dog is walking and often without making skin contact, such behaviour is often referred to as an “air guitar” or “phantom” scratching. Dogs with a wide syrinx are also more likely to have scoliosis. In many cases the scoliosis slowly resolves despite persistence of the syrinx.
    From: http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/diagnosin...infosheet.html

    In my experience a dog with that degree of discomfort would probably be put on steroids and gabapentin or something along that line to make the dog more comfortable and to try to reduce the severe pain that will be causing the scoliosis (she is walking that way due to the pain in her spine from the syrinxes). I think you already have an MRI, do you? I think steroids are usually given right away with scoliosis as that indicates severe pain but talk to your vet about this of course and make sure they have read through Clare's treatment sheet.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Ruth have you been given any medication for her (oh just read that you said Rimadyl -- I would DEFINITELY get her on something stronger if she is still having symptoms and that is all she is on; that's a very low level painkiller)? Your vet should definitely work from Clare's treatment protocol. The C shape -- scoliosis -- often disappears as dogs seem to adjust to coping with the discomfort that initially causes this. But it is a serious symptom so you definitely want that neuro consult.

    From Clare's document:



    From: http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/diagnosin...infosheet.html

    In my experience a dog with that degree of discomfort would probably be put on steroids and gabapentin or something along that line to make the dog more comfortable and to try to reduce the severe pain that will be causing the scoliosis (she is walking that way due to the pain in her spine from the syrinxes). I think you already have an MRI, do you? I think steroids are usually given right away with scoliosis as that indicates severe pain but talk to your vet about this of course and make sure they have read through Clare's treatment sheet.
    It is amazing that--at least in our case--the decompression surgery really helped with the "c-shaped" walking and how the gabapentin helps with the itching fits.

  10. #10
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    Just wanted you to know I'm thinking about you and will be thinking about you daily. Please let us know how your appt goes. I'm so glad you've found this board. There are some wonderful resources here and lots of people who will have great guidance advice for you.

    I would imagine how panicked you were!! That is a very scary diagnosis and the fact that Tilly is showing such symptoms must make it that much harder.

    Hang in there and know we're all rooting for you!!
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

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