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Thread: My Emma has SM

  1. #1
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    Default My Emma has SM

    I am now facing what I have always feared with my first cav....SM. My second cav, a rescue from a deplorable puppymill, Emma has SM. I knew it right away when I saw the air guitar scratching...I just knew it. Emma does not yelp or scream in pain. I would estimate about 8-10 episodes of air scratching a day lasting about 45 seconds each. i don't know if this is all in my mind but I feel like the scratching is worse when she first wakes up....does this make sense? I know I have my vet but I want to ask the community what they would recommend in terms of medicine given she is a mild case and doesn't yelp. I have started tagamet 2x a day....i would like to hear peoples opinions or thoughts/experiences on medicine? should I try gabapentin? prilosec? thank you for any feedback....forgive me as I am very new to this and unfortunately I am well versed in SM, I have done alot of research. I HATE this disease and how it effects our babies

  2. #2
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    Sorry to here this! It is an ever growing club that no-one really wants to be in!

    Have you actually been Diagnosed by MRI or are you going on Symptoms alone?

    If you aren't under the care of a neurologist then it may be an idea taking a copy of Dr Rusbridge's treatment plan!

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

    There is a lot of great information on this website!

    Most dogs are started on a combination of a Diuretic (such as Cimetide or Frusomide or Omeprazol) and pain releif such as an NSAID (Rimadyl or Previcox or Metacam

    Hope this is helpful to you!

    Karen

    Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
    Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play


  3. #3
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    Most people find that deciding which medication is best for a particular dog, and how much, is a matter of working it out over a few weeks or months. It really is best done under the guidance of a neurologist, and they will need to know what is going on inside the dog's skull and spinal cord - which only an MRI scan will tell you with any accuracy. For example, the irritation that provokes scratching can be caused by dilated brain ventricles, before a syrinx appears, and the treatment will not be the same. Most general practice vets are not experienced with SM, and although many of us are 'well versed in SM' and have 'done our research', we are not experts either, in the way that a neurologist is.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    I am so sorry to hear about Emma . I was trying to see where you lived. If you are in the US, www.cavalierhealth.org has a list of board certified neurologists. I agree with Kate, that you should at least see a neurologist that is familiar with the condition and get a consultation. Many do differently on treatment plans and even though one Cavalier may take certain medication, it really depends on Emma. The first step would be to have a neurologist look at Emma.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by anniemac View Post
    I am so sorry to hear about Emma . I was trying to see where you lived. If you are in the US, www.cavalierhealth.org has a list of board certified neurologists. I agree with Kate, that you should at least see a neurologist that is familiar with the condition and get a consultation. Many do differently on treatment plans and even though one Cavalier may take certain medication, it really depends on Emma. The first step would be to have a neurologist look at Emma.
    I wanted to add that the link to Dr. Rusbridge's treatment plan is great but I would not go on that alone. You might want to take it in when you see a neurologist. It's best to be working with a specialist who can look at Emma.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

  6. #6
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    Im so sorry.. not all dogs yelp in pain and not yelping doesnt mean its necessarily mild case. 8 to 10 episodes of air guitar for a minute or so sounds like your meds really need to be reassessed because we cant allow our pups to be uncomfy. I see a neurologist every 3 to 6 months for an assesment even though i may not seesymptoms worsen. Its hard to pick up on things sometimes or cavies can hide it from us.
    Mom of Blondie aka The Monster, my furry daughter and loyal friend!!!!!!!!

  7. #7
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    I have no advise, but wanted to say how sorry I am about th SM.Holding you close in thought and prayer.
    Cindy and Claire
    Claire was born on Feb7, 2010

  8. #8
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    I'm so sorry to hear that your Emma has SM. It is truly a horrible condition. My Corey has a severe case and he never yelped, just scratches and like your Emma he scratches when he wakes up in the morning. I echo everybody, neurologist will know the best medications for her. Currently Corey is taking Gabapentin and Prilosec and it seems to help him very much. Both of you are in my thought
    Gemma
    Mom of Corey & Honey Bun

  9. #9
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    I'm so sorry.

    I'd echo the good advice of all above:
    • scratching that often is not generally considered mild -- scratching 1-2 times a week is, for example, or maybe once or twice a day, but those long sessions a dozen times do really need to be discussed with a neurologist
    • at that point, you will want to consider an MRI and also consider if you want to go down the road of medication or, depending on what is on the MRI and other factors (including personal feelings), surgery
    • something like tagamet is not necessarily the right drug for a given dog. I think you may find this does not do too much to control scratching at that level and gabapentin would be of greater help
    • bring Clare's treatment diagram in to your vet and refer your vet to her website as well as that is a good starting point for a serious talk about what next, and probably a referral to a neuro
    • medications can sometimes manage a dog that scratches this much pretty well. My Leo has had SM diagnosed for almost 7 years now and would scratch at least as much as Emma if he weren't on gabapentin. I have always had to balance taking a medications approach with the knowledge that he could very suddenly go downhill whereas surgery might have given him many more comfortable years -- it is just very very hard to know. There are many elements that go into treatment decisions and each dog is an individual situation as is each owner, for taking such decisions. The main thing is to relieve the discomfort -- many neurologists feel this level of scratching is a sign of significant discomfort and perhaps pain (it is very hard for even a vet to assess neurological pain -- a neurologist really is best).
    • Drugs like tagamet do have potential side affects and giving them often requires regular testing to be sure they are not doing damage. The recommended tests for different meds are listed on Clare's diagram. Again this is why you don't want to self-medicate a dog but work with a neurologist or at the very least, a vet who can get advice from a neurologist.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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