28th February 2012, 07:04 PM
Diagnosed with Spondylosis
Our cavalier Rosie has been diagnosed with spondylosis. She is nearly four years old and on the X-ray it is visible on four sections of her spine, two have already bridged and the other two are forming bridges.
Her main symptoms are difficulty jumping and going up stairs.
The vet has given us metacam and is going to refer us to Geoff Skerritt at Chestergates. I wondered if anyone had a dog with the same problem?
28th February 2012, 07:58 PM
My Oliver has spondylosis in three vertebrae. When he first developed it 3 years ago and had trouble with his back legs, he was given 4 weeks crate rest and then gradually got back into regular walks. Since then it never seems to have bothered him at all and he walks for miles. Recently, he has not been able to jump, but we're not sure whether this is his spondylosis reappearing or a symptom of his SM. He still walks a mile or two most days, albeit with a stilted gait, and doesn't seem to have any great pain (not in his back legs anyway - it's more that his muscles don't work properly to give him the push off for jumping, so probably SM rather than spondylosis). Fortunately we live in a bungalow!
Steps will help Rosie to get up on beds, settees, chairs etc (assuming that like most Cavaliers she is allowed on them!). I have two sets of three shallow steps (one for the settee, one for the bed); they're click-together plastic covered with a faux sheepskin cover that you can remove and wash and Oliver manages them easily, because he can just walk up them with no pressure on his back legs or spine. I got mine from Hyperdrug - £16.99 each in their sale, so I suppose normally around £20. You may be able to find other ones on the internet.
Oliver was also given metacam - it's great as a painkiller, but the temptation for the dog is that they think that now the pain has gone they can do what they like and try to do too much. so they need watching!
Oliver developed his spondylosis at exactly the same time that he started showing symptoms of his SM (which made things a bit complicated!) and Chestergates helped with both.
Kate, Oliver and Aled
28th February 2012, 10:01 PM
Kate thanks for the information. Rosie has had no trouble going walks, but over the last couple of months we noticed that she would walk slowly up the stairs some days (not all) and would ask to be lifted on the chairs/bed. She also seemed more lethargic than normal and stopped playing with her toys.
I guess its possible that Rosie also has SM so hopefully Chestergates will do an MRI.
The vet did mention that stem cell therapy is having some success in treating spondylosis but I'm not sure if that is even available in the UK.
29th February 2012, 10:23 AM
The vet also recommended that we give her glucosamine/chondroitin supplement and change her diet to Purina Joint Mobility dog food. Do you have any thoughts on that?
29th February 2012, 10:41 AM
My impression with Oliver is that dogs are very aware when they have pain and avoid doing things to make it worse. Oliver, for example, has probably had some level of headache all his life, long before his SM was actually diagnosed. Since I had him at a year old he has never played with other dogs, and if another dog looks likely to jump on him (even my other Cavalier Aled) he swerves away - presumably because being knocked over isn't much fun if you've already got a headache. He generally doesn't play with toys indoors, perhaps because this could involve bumping into furniture when chasing (though he adores retrieving his dumbell in a controlled space). And now he doesn't attempt to jump up on anything (can manage a cautious jump down) - like your Rosie he waits to be helped - whereas before he would rush up high sand dunes and climb rocks on the beach. It does make life easier for me, dealing with a sensible dog!
Kate, Oliver and Aled
PS Just seen your latest post. Don't know much about supplemenst, as Oliver doesn't take anything for his spondylosis - except that having fed them on regular Burns, I now feed them Burns Active, which is intended for working dogs and contains glucosamine (and is also VAT-free, which is an added bonus!).
Last edited by Kate H; 29th February 2012 at 10:56 AM.
7th March 2012, 04:32 PM
Rosie is doing well on Metacam and the Seraquin supplement. Whilst she isn't completely back to normal, she has been playing with her toys again and has regained good mobility and can jump. She is seeing Geoff Skerritt at Chestergates tomorrow so we will find out if she has CM/SM/PSOM next.
8th March 2012, 02:40 PM
Rosie has just had her MRI and is completely clear of SM is grade 1 CM and has no PSOM. Geoff Skerritt thinks at this stage that she may have an issue with one of her discs as he believes its unlikely that Spondylosis would cause her pain.
Last edited by pcfarrar; 8th March 2012 at 02:46 PM.
8th March 2012, 03:06 PM
That is such good news about her MRI What a relief for you, and a very good result for a four-year-old. Disc problems are very common in Cavaliers, so hope Geoff Skerritt can help.
Kate, Oliver and Aled
8th March 2012, 07:11 PM
The unusual thing was that after doing the MRI Geoff found no evidence of spondylosis. All he saw was a very minor disc issue which he said was nothing to worry about. He said the CM was almost none existent and he didn't believe she would ever get SM. Her hips and knees are also fine, so the cause of her problem will remain a mystery.
Originally Posted by Kate H
8th March 2012, 07:19 PM
Mild CM can cause the same sort of symptoms as SM. Also I didn't think Geoff is actually using the formal grading scheme so that's interesting (he didn't comment or grade CM at all in the past (I've done 6 MIs with him over time). I do know he gave one of my dogs a 'mild' CM diagnosis (verbally, not on the cert) that wasn't viewed as mild by another neurologist -- but his reading should be more standardised if he is using the BVA/KC grading scheme.
If the issues don't go away, you might want to try approaching this as painful CM and see if medications for that help. Or get a second opinion from someone like Clare Rusbridge, and proceed from there.
In memory: Lucy