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Thread: I am in shock

  1. #11
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    As the others have posted, there is still much research to be done before we have all the answers to this horrid condition.

    My dog had every symptom listed (except the air scratching) and was obviously in terrible discomfort when she was only 7 months old. We had her MRI'd at that time and she showed a mild chiari malformation (which I understand is common in up to 90% of cavaliers) some "crowding" but no syrinx formation at that time. She also had PSOM and had the myringotomy followed by steroid treatment for several weeks following the procedure. She seemed much better and happier for quite awhile but the symptoms of discomfort returned. I now wish I had put off the MRI until she was older, because I don't really want to go through that again, just to see if she has started developing syrinxes now.

    Anyway, on later rechecks, her ears were fine and her neurologist could not get a pain response or see evidence of limb weakness while he examined her. For now, we have her on 5mg omeprazole once a day and she seems happy and free of symptoms displaying discomfort. We rarely see the scratching now (which was up to 3-5 times a day before the medication) and she hasn't yelped since. We are hoping and praying that, at least in her case, this will stave off formation or growth of any syrinxes that she may have developed since her MRI.

    If her condition worsens as she ages, or we see the symptoms return, of course we will re-visit pain management for her to keep her comfortable.

    You had said that there was an episode that brought you both to the point of the MRI initially, which must have indicated extreme discomfort, at least at that time for your friends dog. I would hope the neurologist will closely follow the case and do what is best in that case.
    Marianne
    Mom to Dottie, and our precious rescue, Claire-Bear

  2. #12
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    FWIW, I've read here and in other SM web resources that furosemide is considered to be a benign drug. I've always vehemently disagreed with that view, although I've never challenged it.

    I've not had a reason to study SM in depth, but I've done years of research on heart disease (endocardiosis/MVD and many other conditions) so I'm pretty knowledgeable about heart meds.

    I would not give furosemide for a long period of time unless it was a matter of life or death and there were no better alternatives because of the potential for side effects including azotemia caused by reduced perfusion of the kidneys, excessive pre-load reduction leading to reduced cardiac output, activation of the RAAS (which is why furosemide is never used as monotherapy for heart disease but is always given with an ACE Inhibitor), electrolyte disturbances, etc. My cardiology texts recommend monitoring with blood chemistry and urinalysis before starting the drug, and then 7 days after the start of furosemide and then every several months, which is what I always did with dogs taking furosemide for heart failure, yet I believe I've read to monitor once a YEAR on the SM guideline sites. I would encourage people using furosemide long term for SM to do some independent research on this drug.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  3. #13
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    Pat, it is to monitor every three months for furosemide.

    http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.../treatalgo.pdf

    I didn't like using furosemide because of its diuretic affects so have used both omeprazole and cimetidine instead. Some dogs do better on one than another.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  4. #14
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    Ah, thanks Karlin, I feel better!

    Tidbit that I learned when my first Cavalier went into kidney failure (he was also in heart failure) -

    Kidney failure shows up first in urinalysis - kidneys are about 75% destroyed by the time kidney failure shows up in blood chemistry profile (on creatinine and BUN). Urine specific gravity (USG) measurement will show that kidneys are not properly concentrating urine long before there are abnormal blood chemistry values. USG should be above 1.034 (in a first morning urine sample) if kidneys are working fine.

    I never knew this before I had to deal with kidney failure - and I ran blood chemistry frequently but never did UA's even though the price of blood chemistry included a UA! Now I always run UA's whenever I do monitoring blood chemistry for all of my senior dogs. Learning about kidney failure early on gives you a chance to change diet and start doing intervention that will help your dog live with kidney failure. (By the way, daily sub-q fluid therapy kept my kidney failure dog alive for years and he died for other reasons.) The first thing my cardiologist did when Capers went into KF was to cut his dose of furosemide in half.

    Sorry to get off topic and ramble on and on in my usual way, but this is a topic dear to my heart as I've had more problems with kidney failure in my old dogs than with heart failure.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chloe92us View Post
    Sabby, I'm sorry to hear about your friend's Cavalier. In talking about the dog having no symptoms: your friend was convinced there was something wrong with her ears, right? So what was her dog doing that made her think that? There must have been SOMETHING that made her press for a specialist referral?
    The Neurologist said that what is wrong with her ears is a separate condition and got nothing to do with the SM. My friend pressed for the MRI because two weeks earlier her dog had like a fit.
    Sabby
    Rosie-06/06 - Ebony-01/07 Harley-08/08
    " My sunshine doesn't come from the skies, it comes from the love in my dogs eyes "

  6. #16
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    Sabby---The "fit" she had could have been caused by SM pain. That is what I was trying to get at. I know the glue ears is separate from SM---but a lot of times SM symptoms can look like the dog is having pain in the ear area. My point was that something had to have happened (symptom-wise) for your friend to push for an MRI. So, she was *not* symptom-free, as she did have an unexplicable "fit". What was this fit like?
    Trisha in Southwest Florida
    Cavaliers: Casey, Ollie, & Winston and usually a foster or two! Cats: Pebbles & Benson

  7. #17
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    Default 2 year old with scratching beginning

    We have a great 2 year old male Cavalier. About 6 weeks ago he started scratching his ears and head area. As I researched looking for skin issues I came upon the SM information. We didn't know about this problem and needless to say we are devasted. His symptoms are just the scratching, otherwise he plays, eats and is generally the sweetheart we love. Due to the excessive cost in our area of the MRI and surgery we will not be able to go that route. In the past we paid 4000.00 for our Shih Tzu back surgery and he had 4 more years with us living to 14, worth every penny. With our Basil we don't see much hope and with the MRI alone costing 2500.000 we just want to do whatever we can to make him comfortable.

    Can anyone give us suggestions on what has worked for their pups? Thanks.

  8. #18
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    About two years ago, I learned about SM and decided to have everything else ruled out. X-Rays, TBD, blood tests, the whole nine yards. $500 later, everything is normal.

    The only thing is Casey was still scratching, having intermittent trouble going in and out of our patio door (which is only 4" high), had stopped jumping on the sofa, and was yelping in pain about once a month. So, we assume she has SM and have been treating her since with pain meds (Rimadyl).

    The difference has been amazing. We've found the lowest dosage that alleviates her symptoms (half a 25mg am & pm), but she still has "bad days" where I have to give her the full dose (25mg twice a day).

    Rule out everything else before you automatically assume SM though.
    Trisha in Southwest Florida
    Cavaliers: Casey, Ollie, & Winston and usually a foster or two! Cats: Pebbles & Benson

  9. #19
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    Agree. I would never assume SM just from scratching, especially if it only just started up. Far more likely to be ear mites, allergies, ear infection, rabbit mites, flea dermatitis -- or PSOM. Yu have many things to do before considering an MRI.

    Also gprobst, can you start a new thread on your dog's issues? I know many people will be happy to reply, but don't want someone' else's thread to go off topic to a new discussion as Sabby posted relating to her friend's situation.

    On Sabby's friend's dog -- a fit is fairly serious. Was there hydrocephalus as well? Did the neuro think the fit was related to SM? Was it an actual fit, or a pain session? (the latter would be more the norm for SM and would be a pretty serious symptom). PSOM may or may not be related to SM -- not much is known about it. Dogs can have pain from PSOM on its own. It seems to be a separate issue. It is very common on MRIs. Of my four that have been MRId, three have PSOM to varying degrees. Only Lucy was clear. And she is the deaf one.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chloe92us View Post
    Sabby---The "fit" she had could have been caused by SM pain. That is what I was trying to get at. I know the glue ears is separate from SM---but a lot of times SM symptoms can look like the dog is having pain in the ear area. My point was that something had to have happened (symptom-wise) for your friend to push for an MRI. So, she was *not* symptom-free, as she did have an unexplicable "fit". What was this fit like?
    She described the fit like the dogs eyes were like fluttering and she was not moving at all, she had to carry her to the car to get her to the vets. She thought she was having a stroke. The vet done blood tests and that was it. She went of her food for a few days and the next day she had a lot of discharge coming out of the ears, that’s why she thought it had something to do with the ears. She went back to the vets and he just called her a paranoid dog owner and wanted to leave the MRI until she had another fit. The Neurologist doesn’t think that this is linked to the SM, but nobody can give us an answer to what coursed the fit. She has two things wrong with her ears, this glue ear thing and the something called otitus. Not sure if I spelled it right.
    She spends all her time with her dogs except shopping and things like that. I also see the dogs every other day and as I am very aware (sometimes paranoid) about SM symptoms, my Ebony’s mum was the last dog I would ever thought of having SM. I just hope Ebony doesn't follow in her mums footsteps as she got a heart Murmur and two patellas I have yet to fix. Suppose all I can do is sit and wait and watch.
    Last edited by Sabby; 30th October 2009 at 09:02 AM.
    Sabby
    Rosie-06/06 - Ebony-01/07 Harley-08/08
    " My sunshine doesn't come from the skies, it comes from the love in my dogs eyes "

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