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Thread: SM , what to expect

  1. #1
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    Default SM , what to expect

    Hello, new to this, My second youngest CKCS Todo has been refered to a specialist with suspected SM. I am like any other serious dog owner, they are a real part of the family, and you only wish you could take the pain to save your 'kids' from having to go through it. I feel guilty because I didn't notice the tell tale signs, but now I have investigated the illness a little I can see he is tolerating pain.
    What I would like to know is what can I expect to happen when I take him to the specialist next Tuesday, he is booked in for tests, with the possibility of a MRI scan. Will they sedate him, how quickly will we get the results, and more important, if the worst does come to the worst, I know it is not curible, but can the pain be managed so that we can give him some quality of life? I am trying to be positive and strong, but I am hiding a lot of my fears from my wife because I can not bear to think beyond the test. Hope someone is able to give me some information

  2. #2
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    Welcome and sorry to find you have these concerns. Try not to worry for what you are not yet sure about -- wait til your appointment. There may be many reasons for the signs you are seeing.

    If Todo needs an MRI, he will either be lightly sedated or given a general anaesthetic -- different neurologists approach this in different ways. He will not be under very long -- the scans are done relatively quickly, and then he will be given something to bring him out of sedation or will quickly recover on his own.

    You will likely get the MRI results right then and will know what you are dealing with.

    If Todo has SM, the two options are surgery or medications depending on many factors, ranging from what shows on the MRI to what you feel you wish to do. Generally dogs under 3-4 with symptoms and pain generally have a more serious form of the disease. Generally it does progress but the rate can vary hugely. Medications will manage the pain for some frame of time, perhaps a normal lifetime. Progression varies with every dog so it is really difficult to say what is likely to happen. A good neurologist familiar with the condition can give you the best recommendations. You will get plenty of support and information and experiences here -- some of us have dogs that have had surgery, some that have been on medications. I have two with SM and on medications. One is 6 and the other probably around 4 (she was a rescue dog). They lead a pretty normal life though the older dog would have days when he is experiencing some pain, but never has had anything extreme. He is on strong neuropathic painkillers which pretty much manage all his symptoms well.

    There's a lot of information on neurologist Clare Rusbridge's site: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/faq.htm

    I also have basic info written in a nontechnical way here:
    www.smcavalier.com

    and there's more SM info with much on research etc here:
    www.cavalierhealth.org

    and also see:
    www.cavaliercampaign.com
    and
    www.fortheloveofollie.com
    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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    Hi Gentess1, Welcome to the forum.


    This is a lot for you to shoulder especially as you are hiding your fears from your wife, this is a place full of truly lovely people so whether it's information, support, or an online shoulder to cry on people will be here to listen and support.
    Mum to Tallulah (blenheim)
    Three Precious Cavalier Angels in Heaven, until we meet again girls...xxx

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    Thank you for the initial thoughts and welcome. The hardest most heartbreaking 'symtom' is he always wants to be on his own. He finds a comfortable 'quiet' place in the house and rarely comes out. We visit him, and have to make him sit with us for a cuddle. Just wish I could do more, 4.5 days till the tests

  5. #5
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    Default More Advice Please

    I think I know the answer to this, but Todo is very quiet lately, and we have wrapped him in cotton wool to a certain extent, but is it okay to take him for walks ( he has always used a harness, and not had a collar for quite a while ). We have 3 other CKCS and we have neglected a little while we are so concerned over Todo, but if he seems upto going out is this okay, or could we do more damage?

    Thanks All

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gentess1 View Post
    Thank you for the initial thoughts and welcome. The hardest most heartbreaking 'symtom' is he always wants to be on his own. He finds a comfortable 'quiet' place in the house and rarely comes out. We visit him, and have to make him sit with us for a cuddle. Just wish I could do more, 4.5 days till the tests
    I really hope that it is not SM, but if it is Todo may find that being touched is painful.


    Quote Originally Posted by gentess1 View Post
    I think I know the answer to this, but Todo is very quiet lately, and we have wrapped him in cotton wool to a certain extent, but is it okay to take him for walks ( he has always used a harness, and not had a collar for quite a while ). We have 3 other CKCS and we have neglected a little while we are so concerned over Todo, but if he seems upto going out is this okay, or could we do more damage?

    Thanks All
    I have 3 older SM dogs, I take them out together, & they enjoy a leisurely walk at their own pace. I can always give one a ride home on my mobility scooter if necessary.

    I do not know that Todo would find a long walk with exuberant companions any pleasure at the moment. I don't know that it would do any more physical harm, but it may not be a kindness?

    When he has medication to help with whatever is affecting him, he may be keen to join the walks again.

    If he shows enthusiasm for a solitary short walk, then that may give him some little interest in the world outside the cocoon he has found for himself.

    Poor boy, he obviously feels he needs to be in cotton wool at the moment.

    Please let us know how he gets on.
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
    Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
    Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi

  7. #7
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    I agree with everything Karlin and Margaret have said. I have a 7 yr old SM dog who had decompression surgery last year when she was 5. The only thing I would add to what has been said is that if surgery is recommended, get a copy of the MRI on CD so that you can get a second opinion. I believe you can send a copy to Clare Rusbridge and she will evaluate it. Even if surgery is recommended, they will probably start him on meds right away so hopefully Todo will be comfortable soon. I have had two dogs MRI'd for SM. One bounced back right after the anesthesia and you would never know he had been sedated. He was 11 months at the time. My other one took a long time to recover which is very unusual. She has severe vestibular problems still, even after surgery and they were aggravated by the anesthesia. Riley is on prednisone now and is a new dog. For her it is a miracle drug. So, yes, symptoms can be managed to a great extent with medication, with or without surgery, and your dog can have a better quality life. Riley loves walks still, but can't walk as far as the others and she doesn't like roughhousing. When any of the others are playing, she gets as far away from them as she can. Please let us know the results of the MRI. We'll all be waiting anxiously.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  8. #8
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    am really sorry you are going through this. However try not to worry too much before the scan (easier said than done I know) I was convinced our little girl had it and she was scanned last month - her results came back clear. One thing we did learn was to obtain a copy of the scan on CD though as we did have to get a 2nd opinion from another neurologist.
    Good luck and please let us know how you get on

  9. #9
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    Thanks again for the kind words of support and advice. We are trying to treat him as normally as possible, but we have raised all the food bowls as he seemed to struggle to eating, and they all have nice new fluffy supportive beds. Our dogs are quite competative when out walking ( we do 2 walks at a pair a time ) but I may go back to walking him on his own, as they are much calmer alone. Fingers crossed it is something less complicated, we have read up on soo much, but we are on such a rollercoaster of emotions, one minute we convince ourselves every is ok, it is an ear infection !!! to the other extreme, which we can not talk about. It is good to be able to spill my ranmbling thoughts out to other likeminded people. Less than 3 days to go !!! Thanks again

  10. #10
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    Default A Massive Thank Yoou to you all

    To keep you all informed, Todo has had extensive tests today ( blood, X ray / heart scan and MRI ), and all our prays have been answered. He does not have any significant evidence of CM or SM, what a relief. I am still in a daze it has been a 12 hour day because of travelling. Todo has degenerated discs which have put preassure on him spine to give the symtoms he had. As I type, he is out of surgery, and the nurse informs me out of danger.
    What a week of stress and strain, hopefully never again. My heart goes out to all those owners who have to cope with what I thought Todo had. I can not thank you all enough for your kind words and support.

    Regards Steve , Lyn and clan

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