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Thread: after reading everything about SM, I see that my Shadow has it....

  1. #1
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    Default after reading everything about SM, I see that my Shadow has it....

    It has been a long 2 weeks since I found this site, after reading about SM it came to me that my Shadow
    has many of the symptons. We were wondering why he rubbed his face and scratched so much, I was missing him
    as he doesnt like to sit on my lap anymore and loves our kitchen floor the best. He shakes his head everytime he gets up from laying down and
    he always looked sleepy to me, closing his eyes while sitting up. It all makes sence now. He also hasnt eaten a meal on his
    own in months.. He has only yelped one time about 6 months ago but I never really thought anything about it. So 2 days ago I brought
    our new puppy to see the vet and brought some SM paperwork I printed from the internet to show the vet before I bring in Shadow
    next week. The vet wasnt that negative but needed to tell me that they dont like when clients come in and think they know it all and that Shadow more than likely
    has bad allergies. I was kind and told him I really wish it was only that. I took a video and put it on youtube and would like to get your opinion, this was one episode this morning followed by 4 more episodes with lots of scratching. My husband doesnt agree with insurance or the surgery. Shadow is only 2 years old. Is there a way I can get meds without seeing a nerologist? I know my local drugstore has Gabapentin for a cheaper price. The nearest nerologist is over one hour away
    and it is very expensive to just see the dog there. I just want to get him comfortable, I miss my baby boy. Now that I understand this disease I keep thinking that our new puppy is showing signs. He is 3 months today and has yelped 3 times the past 3 days. He chews on his back feet often and today he yelped when he chewed. Last night while I was cuddleing him softly, he yelped for no reason. 2 days ago, while scratching at his collar, he yelped really loud. Do you think he may have it too or am I paranoid? I love my boys and am so sad, I just want them comfortable. Thanks for listening to me.
    here is the youtube link.... (puppy Snickers wanted to play so bad with Shadow this morning as you can see)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1V74D7T7Re4
    Blessings, Jolene
    mommy to *Shadow* tri (3/23/09) who has SM and *Snickers* B&T (4/21/11)

  2. #2
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    Hi Jolene–

    First off–please get a new vet. I would never tolerate a vet who is as close minded and as rude as that. I would just change to a new practice and send them a letter explaining that you did not feel the surgery took your concerns seriously and therefore you have chosen to take your dog somewhere else. I would be absolutely furious, not least because this condition has a very high rate of incidence in the breed and allergies along with ear infections are the number one misdiagnosis from vets. it is understandable that many vets would not know very much about syringomyelia because it is a very rare condition most of the time and many will never have seen it. But for them to dismiss concerns when they've been given information that indicate the high rate of incidence in the breed is to me, both rude and unprofessional and completely unsympathetic to a concerned dog owner. They work for you, and part of being a compassionate vet is at the very least, outwardly taking your clients concerns seriously even though you might have private doubts. But if a client wants a condition to be investigated, then that is what they should do–ideally, to eventually be able to say that they have found some other cause. But to say that because you have spent time to educate yourself and to bring a concern to the vet, that it is annoying to them–I would never return to a vet with that attitude.

    On the more important issue of Shadow–from your description, I think you do have something that you would want to look into. The video certainly shows odd behavior, but I wouldn't say that you could look at that type of face rubbing and say it's definitely SM.

    You really must get a diagnosis of this condition though or at least have a vet who is familiar with it who is perhaps willing to trial some of the common treatments. There are things that could produce similar symptoms. You definitely do not want to give any medication, especially one as powerful as gabapentin (which is not actually licensed for use in dogs–it is a human medication which is one reason why vets want a neurologist to prescribe it), without a veterinarian or neurologist's supervision and not without one or the other feeling that–even if you do not have an MRI–you are almost certainly dealing with SM. Gabapentin is a prescription medication (so you cannot get it without having somebody write you a prescription for it in the first place) and is also a very strong pain killer, and in most cases vets will not prescribe it but will want a neurologist to at least have done a clinical exam and to have made the recommendation that the dog be on this drug. My own vets would only write prescriptions on the basis of a neurologist's treatment advice.

    Can you explain further what you mean when you say that he hasn't eaten a meal on his own in a long time? I am not sure that this would ever be anything directly related to SM. Unless you are saying that he has difficulty lowering his head to a bowl–in which case, many people put the dog's food bowl up on a shoebox or use one of those little raised bowl gizmos–I would guess that your problem is more that Cavaliers often are very good at withholding from eating because owners eventually will try to hand feed them and so on, and they enjoy the attention.

    I do think before going to a neurologist, you need to start with having a vet do a proper investigation of all the potential causes for the symptoms you are seeing, but I would definitely not go to the vet that you have been seeing.

    Unfortunately, with this condition you will generally need to see a neurologist for a diagnosis. An hour away is hopefully not too far–for me to have my own dogs MRI'd, I needed to take a ferry to the UK, and then stay overnight in a hotel!
    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,My experience is that to go directly to a neurologist and pay for that MRI because it can tell if he has CM or SM or PSOM all in one MRI test. You save money in the long run since you don't do separate tests and he only be putting under anesthesia one time.This is what I did. I saw some video about SM and noticed that my Bee has some symtoms. It turned out Bee has CM without SM and he has PSOM. The neuro flushed his ears at the same time since I gave neuro permission to do it ahead of time if he has it. Hope my experience helps you.Kitty

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    thanks to both of you!!! I plan to see a different vet for sure now!, thanks Karlin for your advice.
    I will try to put his food dish higher and hope that will help. He just isnt interested in eating from
    his dish anymore and we were concerned. I will keep you updated on what we decide to do next.
    Blessings, Jolene
    mommy to *Shadow* tri (3/23/09) who has SM and *Snickers* B&T (4/21/11)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkt89 View Post
    Hi,My experience is that to go directly to a neurologist and pay for that MRI because it can tell if he has CM or SM or PSOM all in one MRI test. You save money in the long run since you don't do separate tests and he only be putting under anesthesia one time.This is what I did. I saw some video about SM and noticed that my Bee has some symtoms. It turned out Bee has CM without SM and he has PSOM. The neuro flushed his ears at the same time since I gave neuro permission to do it ahead of time if he has it. Hope my experience helps you.Kitty
    Great advice, Kitty. Sometimes I wonder whether it is worth the time to try to educate a general practice vet about something as complicated as SM, especially if his initial reactions are a blank stare, followed by a reprimand about who is the doctor and who is the pet owner.
    Rod Russell

  6. #6
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    If this was the first of five episodes of rubbing and scratching that day then you are right to have Shadow properly checked. Something is causing intense irritation

    Allergies are always a possibility for scratching, but if we are talking about a cavalier then SM really needs to be given serious consideration.

    I have had so many owners contacting me to say that they spent two years paying for allergy tests and treatment before getting a correct diagnosis of SM and effective medication for their poor cavalier.

    Good luck. Please let us know how you get 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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    Molly was diagnosed with sm at 18 months old. We spent five or six months trying to find out what was wrong with her which cost
    thousands of pounds and more importantly a lot of unnecessary pain. Molly had spent all these months in considerable pain and I felt so terribly guilty.

    You definately do not need to be paying a vet who is close minded and rude

    If Shadow has sm, the sooner he is treated the better. Progression of this disease can be slowed down.

    We also raise water bowls. There are links on my website where you can get some bits and pieces to help make Shadow more comfortable. www.cavaliermatters.org

    Good luck.
    Tania and The Three Cavaliers!
    Dotty!- A Sweet Little Tri
    Molly - Pretty Tri Dougall - Gorgeous Blenheim

  8. #8
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    What a close minded vet!! ( Makes me feel quite angry. When Barney had what I thought to be pain assiciated with SM on a couple of occasions I went to my vet having first dropped in a copy of his scan (Barney was scanned as part of Rupert funded research) along with a letter of the things I was worried about and info on Sm printed out.
    When I had the appointment the vet thanked me as she'd had time to look into SM further and said she would keep the information for use in the future. She said it was helpful to have the info and scan before the appointment rather than bombard her with everything in ten mins!!
    I hope you get to the bottom of this for your little one..x

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