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Thread: Lycra bodysuit may help scratching

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  1. #1
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    Default Lycra bodysuit may help scratching

    Hi,

    You may have already seen this, as I'm trying to post it on a few different SM sites with hopes it may help others.

    I haven't posted in quite some time. As way of history/introduction,
    our 6 year old Cavalier, Trevor, was diagnosed at 18 months with COMS,
    compression of the cerebellum, and kinking of the brainstem, but no
    syrinxes at time of MRI. A repeat MRI, approximately 1 year later,
    showed no change in his condition. Since that time, we've treated
    Trevor with Gabapentin (100mg/3Xday). His original symptoms were
    scratching of the head and some occasional "ataxic" like movements.
    Over time, more discomfort (?headaches) became apparent, especially
    during the early morning hours. He would wake up and swallow
    repeatedly and look uncomfortable. Also, in the last 18 months or so,
    he has begun "head nodding" which has increased in frequency and
    severity. When especially bad, he will lie down on the floor. Finally,
    over the last 2 months he has begun scratching with his hind legs to
    his sides (usually making contact with his skin) and trying to
    reach/bite his back and legs. Repeat clinical neuro evaluations with
    Dr. Kortz have remained fairly stable. He has not had another MRI.
    Over the last several weeks we have put him on medrol/methyprednisone
    to see if the side/back scratching would decrease. Interesting, when
    at "full strength" (2mg/2Xday)the medrol decreased the head nodding
    completely, but the side/back scratching was only slightly improved.

    We have been on vacation with Trevor this week at the beach. We
    typically put a Lycra bodysuit on him when taking walks to prevent
    burrs/foxtails from getting in his coat. To our surprise, the
    bodysuit has almost eliminated his scratching entirely. If we take the
    bodysuit off, the scratching returns almost immediately, but while
    wearing it, the frequency has been reduced by more than 90%. He is
    happy to wear the bodysuit, even sleeping in it, and has been much
    more comfortable this week. I'm not sure if this experience is
    idiosyncratic to Trevor, but wondered if anyone has had a similar
    experience? (The bodysuit has a rather narrow opening for the dog's
    head, so it might not be appropriate for dogs who have extreme head
    sensitivity.)

    We did a bit of searching via the Internet, and it seems as though
    people with diabetic neuropathy have found that lycra compression
    stockings or shorts can improve their symptoms. So I'm thinking that
    if Trevor is having parasthesias (strange sensations), the slight
    pressure from the bodysuit may alter his sensations in a positive way.

    In case you're interested, you can look at the bodysuit at http://www.k9topcoat.com

    Wanted to share this experience--hope it might be helpful to others.

    Best, Roberta
    Roberta and Trevor (5 year old Blenheim)

  2. #2
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    Thanks Roberta; that is very interesting. I let some of the neurologists in the UK know about this and they may actually try trialling the suit with some clients to see how it works.

    I know a lot of people use that Lycra coat as a drying coat as well. I think I may give one or two a try with my SM dogs as I could also use them as drying coats!
    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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    I don't have experience with an SM dog, but thank you for posting that. It is very very interesting and makes sense to me. I'd be interested in seeing if it helps other SM dogs as well
    Sara, mommy to Kosmo ~ 4 year blenheim boy and Faith 3 year b/t girl *rescue*

  4. #4
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    I'm just wondering if it works in the same way as a body wrap does?

    I know they are used as a calming method for dogs and can help with their balance among other things

    http://www.anxietywrap.com/anxietywrap.htm
    Davy, SiānE&Ella
    & sometimes Cassie the cocker AKA 'the black shadow''

    ~Blind Dogs See With Their Hearts♥~
    My cavalier not spoilt...I'm just well trained!

  5. #5
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    My guess is that the "anxiety body wrap" probably has some similar properties. It would be interesting to learn more about the underlying mechanisms! One difference with the lycra bodysuit, as compared to the body wrap, is that the lycra bodysuit extends down all 4 legs. Since Trevor, at times, seems to have strange sensations on his legs which cause him to bite or scratch, it seems helpful to have the materials there as well.

    Best, Roberta
    Roberta and Trevor (5 year old Blenheim)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
    My guess is that the "anxiety body wrap" probably has some similar properties. It would be interesting to learn more about the underlying mechanisms! One difference with the lycra bodysuit, as compared to the body wrap, is that the lycra bodysuit extends down all 4 legs. Since Trevor, at times, seems to have strange sensations on his legs which cause him to bite or scratch, it seems helpful to have the materials there as well.

    Best, Roberta
    I know that the body wrap works on body awareness from the Ttouch form of massage. Perhaps the lycra suit is also working in the same way. I know from reading from other owners that they also use T shirts and bandages to help their dogs in stressful situations.

    I know that most of Ttouch was used in helping dogs who learned bad behavior from fear but some have also learned from pain and that's where I think this form of massage can help.

    Youtube Tellington Ttouch channel
    Last edited by Davy; 21st September 2008 at 12:18 AM.
    Davy, SiānE&Ella
    & sometimes Cassie the cocker AKA 'the black shadow''

    ~Blind Dogs See With Their Hearts♥~
    My cavalier not spoilt...I'm just well trained!

  7. #7
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    This is an older post but have wondered if this helped with some of the body sensory difficulties with SM.
    frecklesmom
    Learning new things everyday

  8. #8
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    It certainly seems to help mine. I have two of the suits -- I got seconds -- and they do seem to decrease scratching. Some SM dogs would have difficulty with the necks though I think. As it is I made the neck looser. My two with SM are not overly sensitive around the neck though.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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