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Thread: Pretty sure my dog has SM

  1. #1
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    Default Pretty sure my dog has SM

    After reading and watching videos online about SM I swear my dog does have this. I am so bothered by this because the vet always says it's allergies but I never believed her. I am gonna request no matter what for him to get a MRI. When I was always told its allergies, I have tried everything to different shampoos to medication and nothing works at all. Have always felt guilty I wonder why the vet never even bought this up.

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    Where are you and what is your dog called? You are right to get a referral and get this checked out. If your dog has sm, the sooner she/he is on pain medication the better. There is a lot of help,
    support and friendly advice here. I see this is your first post so a big welcome to both of you
    Tania and The Three Cavaliers!
    Dotty!- A Sweet Little Tri
    Molly - Pretty Tri Dougall - Gorgeous Blenheim

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    Welcome to the board but sorry to hear about your concerns


    Have a read through the symptoms on here http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/ and see if he is doing anything else. There is also info to print off for your vet. You would need a referral from your vet to go to a neurologist, but it's possible to have just a consultation [the low cost scans are NOT for symptomatic dogs unforutnately]


    I think you need to rule out other causes for scratching as you have been doing but ALL cavalier guardians need to be aware of their health issues, so they are prepared and aware BUT we also need to enjoy our dogs and not become so obsessed that it spoils every day.

    At the international conference on Syringomyelia in 2006 it was stated that incidences of scratching due to SM were an indicator of SEVERE pain so you are right to persevere with trying to get help.
    Nicki and the Cavalier Clan Our photos www.scotlandimagery.com
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    His name is Tommy a 9 yr old male CKC. Out of everything I am reading he hasbeen diagnosed with all three already allergies, ear issues and disk problem.About a month ago I came home from work and he was crying out loud and he has never done that before so we took him to Emergency Vet and they treated it as a pulled muscle in his neck, and gave him meds for the pain. Since it healed I guess they saw no point looking further into it. What really hit me was watching the youtube videos also he does all the things the other dogs were doing. Im moving to Florida within Febuary so I really atleast want to get the MRI now before the move. Are vets usually hesitant in looking into SM?

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    Sadly many vets are still unaware of SM/CM, they may not have many Cavaliers in their practice or any experience with the condition. IF you can print out the stuff from the website and take that in, it will really help [and may help other Cavaliers and their guardians in the future]

    It's hard but really the vet is a partner in the care of your beloved companion, and if they won't do a referral or take your concerns seriously then you may need to think about changing vets.

    Try to keep a diary of Tommy's symptoms, that makes it easier for the vet to objectively assess what is happening.
    Nicki and the Cavalier Clan Our photos www.scotlandimagery.com
    Supporting www.rupertsfund.com and www.cavaliermatters.org

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    Nicki wrote: the low cost scans are NOT for symptomatic dogs

    I wouldn't entirely agree with this. Unless surgery is an option, whether you have a mini scan or a full scan, you still end up simply dealing with the symptoms, not the disease itself. However long your dog's syrinx, there is practically nothing you can do in most cases to make it any shorter or thinner or directly influence the course of the disease. What a mini scan can do, even with a symptomatic dog, is to confirm whether or not your Cavalier actually has SM, since usually at least part of the syrinx will show at the top of the spine, as will herniation and dilated ventricles (not to mention picking up PSOM). This will enable vets and neurologists to stop treating allergies/disks/pulled muscles etc and start seriously treating the symptoms of CM/SM with appropriate medication.

    As Oliver gets older, his symptoms of CM/SM are slowly increasing and my vet has been discussing with neurologists whether he should have a full scan (so far he's just had two mini-scans). Clare Rusbridge commented that although a full scan would be interesting, to see what was happening in an older dog, it would really be better if I saved my money to spend on medication to deal with the symptoms. So perhaps we shouldn't dismiss mini-scans as entirely useless for symptomatic dogs - though obvioulsy circumstances will vary.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate H View Post
    ... What a mini scan can do, even with a symptomatic dog, is to confirm whether or not your Cavalier actually has SM, since usually at least part of the syrinx will show at the top of the spine, as will herniation and dilated ventricles (not to mention picking up PSOM). This will enable vets and neurologists to stop treating allergies/disks/pulled muscles etc and start seriously treating the symptoms of CM/SM with appropriate medication.

    ... Clare Rusbridge commented that although a full scan would be interesting, to see what was happening in an older dog, it would really be better if I saved my money to spend on medication to deal with the symptoms.
    So perhaps we shouldn't dismiss mini-scans as entirely useless for symptomatic dogs - though obvioulsy circumstances will vary.
    I think this is very valuable advice and deserved to be repeated, with emphasis, and so it has.
    Rod Russell

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    The low cost scheme I was referring to - as shown on the Cavalier Club site - states

    Mini scans are not suitable where a dog is showing symptoms as a full scan will need to be performed for diagnostic reasons and appropriate treatment.

    The scheme was organised for breeders to screen their dogs.


    Yes it would be great if low cost mini scans were available for symptomatic dogs - sadly the cost does put many people off if they are not insured, but Clare's comment is so true, thank you for sharing that.


    I think the reasoning in the past has been that if you have a mini scan and then opt for surgery, a further full MRI has to be carried out.
    Nicki and the Cavalier Clan Our photos www.scotlandimagery.com
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    Oliver had both his scans through the Midland Cavalier Club. No questions were ever asked about whether he was showing symptoms or whether it was likely that he would have SM, and the secretary, who organised the scanning days, knew that I wasn't a breeder. When Aled was also scanned, she was also well aware that he was a neutered rescue. I think as long as there is room for your dogs on the day and you belong to the club, they're happy to let any Cavalier owner take advantage of the mini scans. ChesterGates charges 150 for a mini scan (it was 100 when Oliver was scanned for the first time) and 2000 for a full scan! The Midland Club is having some more scanning days in April,and May so I'm going to get Aled done - he was scanned when Oliver was last done, but he was barely 2 then and is now nearly 5, so I'd like to know what (if anything) is happening. Three years ago he had no SM and no herniation, but mildly dilated ventricles, and so far seems to have no symptoms.

    Although the Cavalier Club does say that about mini-scans on their website, it also gives a list of centres that do mini scans, and I would think that if you talked to them and explained any financial difficulties they would recognise that a mini scan is better than no scan at all. And a mini scan plus a session with a neurologist if the scan shows SM is still very much more affordable than a full scan. Anyway, as far as 'no symptomatic dogs' goes, I bet that most of the dogs mini-scanned and showing SM are actually also showing some (unrecognised) symptoms. Certainly Oliver was at the time of his first scan, though both I and my vet woud have sworn that he was asymptomatic. Does such a thing as a dog with asymptomatic SM actually exist - or do we need to learn a lot more about recognising symptoms of pain?

    Oh for a DNA test!

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    I agree Kate,
    There are quite a few centres offering low cost scans, at regular frequency and I'm sure the world wouldn't stop turning if an occasional pet got a mini scan.
    In fact it could be a useful dog for the EBV scheme if it's KC registered.A syrinx is a definitive result and an older dog,even if it scratches or face rubs may still not have SM and could contribute too.
    Do you know if the scans at Chestergates must now go to the BVA panel for reading,incurring the extra 100 on top of the scan or will Geoff continue to interpret them?
    Sins

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