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Thread: tips for living with SM

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  1. #1
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    Default tips for living with SM

    This is a thread for sharing tips on how to make it easier for us to care for our cavaliers who have SM.

    The medicine schedule that works best for Geordie is: 6am Gabapentin, 8am 1/4 Prilosec, 2pm Gabapentin, 8pm 1/4 Prilosec, 10pm Gabapentin. I've found that splitting his dose of Prilosec actually works better for him, and the neurologist approved. We keep this schedule posted in the kitchen so there is no mixup on his next dose.

    We use the stove timer to help manage his schedule. I set the timer for 2 hours when I give him his 6am dose. Then Colin sets the timer for 6 hours when he gives Geordie his 8am dose, etc. Then if we're busy, we have the timer beep to remind us of his next dose.

    We've had 2-3 times where Geordie was restless at night. I learned something from Geordie about what he needs. I had a thick comforter folded on the floor (I was planning to wash it the next day) and he climbed on and made himself comfortable for the night. It really works for our little guy!

    Does anyone have tips for living with SM?
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

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    Why are you using prilosec? Is the gabapentin causing upset stomach? I wonder if we need to add it to our regimen. This is a great thread btw. I'm trying to think of stuff but can't really think of anything special that we do. I'm looking out for some great tips!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridam View Post
    Why are you using prilosec? Is the gabapentin causing upset stomach? I wonder if we need to add it to our regimen. This is a great thread btw. I'm trying to think of stuff but can't really think of anything special that we do. I'm looking out for some great tips!
    I use Prilosec (which is now available in the US as a generic over the counter drug Omeprazole) to reduce Geordie's production of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). I'm using this rather than Lasix, a diuretic that reduces CSF by pulling fluids out of the body. I don't think you'd want to use both at the same time. I don't know if there are studies showing which is more effective. Charlie's neurologist took him off Lasix and put him on Omeprazole, so I automatically started Geordie on Omeprazole when he was diagnosed with SM.
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

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    Ah. I must have gotten confused with the other pill that started with a p that we used in conjunction with the prednisone to reduse tummy ache.

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    Prilosec is an antacid primarily and therefore also reduces stomach discomfort. However a secondary effect is on the CSF. So generally it is prescribed for SM dogs for that effect, not as an antacid. Another drug that works in a similar way is Tagamet (which I use for Leo).
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Some other suggestions:

    1) Raising feeding dishes and water dishes as lowering the head can be very uncomfortable for an SM dog.

    2) Get a few of those crate liners with the raised edges (like bumpers) as SM dogs often like to have their head elevated when they are resting.

    3) A dog having a pain session can sometimes be calmed and the pain alleviated by applying something cold -- many use a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a dishtowel, applied to the neck and shoulder area where syrinxes tend to form

    4) Keep ears trimmed short for easy grooming so lessen the discomfort if you have a dog that is sensitive around the head/ears, as many SM dogs are.

    5) Use a harness for walks, not a collar -- though infrequently, some dogs may be more comfortable with a collar because of the location of its syrinxes. You may need to try different types of harness to find the most comfortable for your dog, depending on where it feels pain or irritation

    6) Some say rolling their dog on its back gently during a pain session seems to alleviate pain -- maybe it shifts the position of a syrinx or changes the CSF flow dynamics but does help some dogs.

    7) Some dogs like a cool place to lie down and those chilly mats designed to keep dogs cool may be appreciated
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    The prilosec is thought to reduce the pain from the puddled syrinx which is what causes many of the symptoms of SM.

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    Hi Cathy,

    I have a cavalier who is 2 and has SM, at the moment she is on gabapentin 3 times a day, you mention that your cavalier has Prilosec, will I be able to get this from our local vet? and what are the side effects ( if any?) Many thanks

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    Hi Molly, Prilosec is now an OTC drug and has also just come out in the generic form Omeprazole as well (in the US). Please take your cavalier to the vet or neurologist to discuss using this drug and getting the correct dosage for his weight. Depending on other medications, he may not be able to take it, so it is necessary to check with your vet first.

    Also Prilosec/Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor (as are other similar drugs) which lessens the amount of CSF produced by the body. There are other drugs that can have a similar effect in decreasing CSF, like Lasix the diuretic. So if your cavalier is already taking Lasix he may not even need Omeprazole.

    It is always best for your dog's medications to be managed by the vet, who has access to information about all known drug interactions. And any time your dog needs an additional medication, such as an antibiotic, the drug interaction must be considered beforehand.

    As far as side effects, as long as I give Geordie his Omeprazole 2 hours before or after any other drugs, he seems to do quite well. I can tell it is working, because he sometimes starts scratching when it's time for another dose. I have noticed that he seemed a little happier when he was on Lasix for 10 days due to pulmonary edema, and I stopped giving him Omeprazole. But then the vet wanted him off the Lasix to make sure the pulmonary edema didn't return, so he's taking Omeprazole again. Soon I will be asking if we can try something else, just to see if he seems a little happier.
    Last edited by Cathy Moon; 27th July 2008 at 12:19 AM. Reason: added text
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

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    Hi Cathy,

    Thank you for your info, I will take Molly and ask my vet, anything is worth a try, we have good days and bad days, thank you once again, I will let you know how I get on.
    Many thanks

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