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Thread: Results of owners' questionnaires on pain in CM/SM cavaliers

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    Default Results of owners' questionnaires on pain in CM/SM cavaliers

    UK researchers report results of questionnaires on neuropathic pain in CM/SM-affected cavaliers. http://bit.ly/MZXza9
    Rod Russell

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    Well Duh.

    Only adds to the research already known that CM/SM is painful.....yes being in pain does effect your life. I'm glad for the ongoing info. The more research and real science done the better maybe it will mean the people who still need to know this will re-think???????? The whole problem is just so sad.

    Melissa

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    Quote Originally Posted by MomObvious View Post
    Well Duh.

    Only adds to the research already known that CM/SM is painful.....yes being in pain does effect your life. I'm glad for the ongoing info. The more research and real science done the better maybe it will mean the people who still need to know this will re-think???????? The whole problem is just so sad.

    Melissa
    This type of information serves more than just confirming the obvious. Many cavalier owners, I think, do not realize when their dogs are suffering neuropathic pain, because the symptoms of that pain are not so obvious. This study evidences other behaviors that really are due to pain, even though they may appear not to be painful.

    The bottom line, I think, is that owners who are ignorant of the symptoms of neuropathic pain, and therefore minimize or ignore the pain their CM or CM/SM dogs are experiencing, are doing their dogs a major dis-service. If 95% of cavaliers really do have CM and 70% of them really do have CM/SM, then the dogs' odd behaviors (which may not appear to the owners to be associated with pain) really are caused by CM and SM pain. And those dogs deserve to be medicated.
    Rod Russell

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    Quote Originally Posted by RodRussell View Post
    This type of information serves more than just confirming the obvious. Many cavalier owners, I think, do not realize when their dogs are suffering neuropathic pain, because the symptoms of that pain are not so obvious. This study evidences other behaviors that really are due to pain, even though they may appear not to be painful.

    The bottom line, I think, is that owners who are ignorant of the symptoms of neuropathic pain, and therefore minimize or ignore the pain their CM or CM/SM dogs are experiencing, are doing their dogs a major dis-service. If 95% of cavaliers really do have CM and 70% of them really do have CM/SM, then the dogs' odd behaviors (which may not appear to the owners to be associated with pain) really are caused by CM and SM pain. And those dogs deserve to be medicated.
    Rod... I agree w/ what you are saying. I am sure that is the case w/ many Cavalier owners.
    Many don't even know about all this CM/SM before buying..because it isn't really talked about. That's the honest truth.
    Sure..they may realize the MVD risks...but not everything else.
    But can I add something? Dogs in general "do not" always show how they are feeling. It's just part of their instinctive nature to hide any weakness. We have owned many dogs through the years. I can't tell you how many times it wasn't until too late that we knew something was wrong. Every dog we have lost was due to cancer..a massive tumor that we knew "nothing" about because they HID their symptoms so well.
    So guess I am saying it isn't always the owners fault. We have always been very responsible when it comes to Vet visits. It's just that when you "think" your dog is OK..most owners do not have random tests done & spend $$ if they don't feel the need to.
    That obviously isn't what a Cavalier owner should do..but hope that makes sense.
    *Diane ~ Mom to~
    Wrigley ( Cavalier) Zeb ( Labrador) & Jake ( Labradoodle)

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    Good point Rod, bring more awareness to current owners too.

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    Thanks for posting that Rod. The more I watch my own two dogs with CM/SM, the more I'm convinced that there is no such thing as a totally asymptomatic dog with the disease - we just haven't learnt to recognise all the signs of neuropathic pain. And far too many owners still think of head rubbing, for example, as a cute Cavalier characteristic, and humans squint in strong light so why shouldn't dogs do it as well? Except that most other breeds don't head rub, and dog's eyes aren't the same as ours.

    And I would differ from Diane about dogs hiding pain: firstly because I don't think dogs think like that, they don't say 'I have something seriously wrong with me but in order not to distress my owners or make life difficult for myself I am going to hide any pain I feel' - hiding implies a deliberate decision; secondly, from my experience of cancer, both for myself and for a number of friends, some cancers are simply not painful - or not recognised as painful - until they are considerably advanced, which is why they are so difficult to diagnose and treat; and thirdly, both for dogs and humans, having other things to do can enable us to ignore pain, not necessarily deliberately pushing it to the back of our minds, but being so busy and absorbed in other things that we don't think about it. As far as I know, Oliver never shows any signs of a headache when he is running round the park off-lead with his head down enjoying all the smells. His headaches come into consciousness when he is lying down dozing, with nothing to distract him.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate H View Post
    Thanks for posting that Rod. The more I watch my own two dogs with CM/SM, the more I'm convinced that there is no such thing as a totally asymptomatic dog with the disease - we just haven't learnt to recognise all the signs of neuropathic pain. And far too many owners still think of head rubbing, for example, as a cute Cavalier characteristic, and humans squint in strong light so why shouldn't dogs do it as well? Except that most other breeds don't head rub, and dog's eyes aren't the same as ours.

    And I would differ from Diane about dogs hiding pain: firstly because I don't think dogs think like that, they don't say 'I have something seriously wrong with me but in order not to distress my owners or make life difficult for myself I am going to hide any pain I feel' - hiding implies a deliberate decision; secondly, from my experience of cancer, both for myself and for a number of friends, some cancers are simply not painful - or not recognised as painful - until they are considerably advanced, which is why they are so difficult to diagnose and treat; and thirdly, both for dogs and humans, having other things to do can enable us to ignore pain, not necessarily deliberately pushing it to the back of our minds, but being so busy and absorbed in other things that we don't think about it. As far as I know, Oliver never shows any signs of a headache when he is running round the park off-lead with his head down enjoying all the smells. His headaches come into consciousness when he is lying down dozing, with nothing to distract him.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled
    Kate... First of all... the more I read about all the dogs ( including yours) that have this disease..the more my heart hurts. I cannot tell you how sorry I am that you and your pup are dealing with this.
    I'm sure you are probably right in saying that there is probably no such thing as a Cavalier diagnosed w/ CM/SM that is asymptomatic. And you're also right in that we as humans tend to miss things that our beloved pets do that may be indications there is a problem going on.
    You are also right saying that dogs DO NOT think like us. They have an entirely different thought process.
    ( Yep) ~They are not worrying whether they are distressing us. It is just a born "instinct" that most dogs WILL try to hide pain as much as possible. It isn't a decision they have made in their minds...INSTINCT is different than CHOICE.
    Dogs ( even though they are now domesticated) are programmed for "survival". It goes back to the fact they originated as pack animals. You don't have to agree w/ me..but it is true. They know that the weak are singled out.
    Some signs of pain are obvious..some are not. Some symptoms they may able to hide..others not so much.
    I believe they know waaay before we do that something is wrong.

    Neuropathic pain I am very familiar with. I experienced it myself for MANY years. I know there are varying degrees as with anything..but it is extremely painful. From a human perspective....very hard to deal with let alone try and hide.


    I am sorry you have dealt w/ cancer. I have loved ones and friends who have dealt w/ it. Some conquered it..and some sadly did not. And I agree w/ you..perhaps the cancer itself may be painless...but what it does to a body is not.
    Some cancers grow slowly...some are very aggressive.
    So to say that just because our dogs had cancer they must not of been in pain until the very end?
    ..I cannot agree w/ you there.
    They had to of been in pain...but they didn't show it. With our Rottweiller...her tumor was so large in her abdomen it had pushed most of her organs clear up into her chest. From the size of it..it had to of been there a very long time. I never noticed because she was such a muscular dog...but her stomach was rock hard for YEARS. It had to of been VERY uncomfortable. Yet she was one tough dog and never let on.
    The very day our Golden retriever died..he was still retrieving that morning. He always seemed out of breath but we attributed it to the fact he was 12 yrs. old. We were wrong. He finally collapsed in the living room. We rushed him to the Vet & after almost a thousand dollars worth of tests..we were told he had cancerous tumors throughout his body...and one was obstructing his lungs. He "couldn't" of felt good..but you would never of known it. We lost him 7 mo.'s ago.
    I honestly feel STUPID for not noticing...but fact is..both these dogs HID it very well.

    So my opinion dogs have one up on us humans in the fact they can distract themselves from their pain to some extent..and try to go about life as usual. At least until they come to a point..> they no longer can.
    For the majority of us humans... we do not do that.
    *Diane ~ Mom to~
    Wrigley ( Cavalier) Zeb ( Labrador) & Jake ( Labradoodle)

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    I will just add that Dr Marino's team in the US did a study where they filmed dogs with CCTV I think -- dogs that showed lots of symptoms when no people were around, basically acted more normally when their owners came to visit them or other people came in. Hiding pain is a survival instinct.

    With SM dogs -- I think there's a serious level of missing symptoms by people who 1) aren't around their dogs during a workday and miss many of the ongoing signs; 2) have multiple dogs; 3) keep their dogs mostly out in the garden or kennelled (breeders are often a combination of 2 and 3 and I know from personal experience how breeders -- even health focused breeders -- can miss signs of problems even in dogs they care for deeply which are quickly obvious to new owners); 4) mistake symptoms for quirks -- often cute quirks or breed quirks. They are only the latter in the most tragic way ; 5) ignore or argue themselves out of noticing symptoms or increasing symptoms because they can't deal with the implications/don't want to have a dog with SM.

    I've seen all of these, in breeders and pet owners. In all cases, it is the dogs that suffer as they remain untreated or on too low a level of treatment (with this condition, pain management is exactly that, ongoing management and often needs adjustment.

    I think vets can be particularly bad about recognising SM or listening to owners. Too many are convinced they 'never see it' and therefore refuse to see it or only with the greatest reluctance -- while the dogs suffer. There are vets I no longer used for cavalier rescue or personally because I knew this was their attitude either from things they said to me, or that I heard from others. Meanwhile these same stupid people insist with a laugh that cavaliers are 'wimps' and 'cry babies' and 'drama queens' because they will scream when given injections (needles right into the neck -- right where syrinxes form first and where most SM dogs first exhibit pain). They also too often reject any suggestion from owners that something is going on and that something might be SM, because they get annoyed that people research conditions themselves or find communities that know a condition and can advise -- often with greater expertise than most vets.

    Most dogs do not show symptoms or have odd quirks for no reason.

    There is a difficult line between obsessing over watching for things, and keeping a watchful eye. I think any cavalier owner needs to do the latter, given the breed's health problems -- while also trying to enjoy 'just having a dog' and not sinking into the former, which drains so much pleasure out of cavalier ownership. But the reality for cavalier owners is that these dogs have a lot of serious health problems and two are endemic -- MVD and SM -- meaning the vast majority of us will own dogs with both these things, eventually. We all hope the dogs will have no/few/mild symptoms. Unfortunately the background concern and watchfulness is just something we have to deal with as cavalier owners. There's just no way around it. Many of us only slowly learn to find that dividing line.

    The truly positive, proactive, meaningful thing every cavalier lover can do about this situation of course, is only to buy puppies from properly health testing, protocol-using breeders (or else opt for a rescue dog), and support research (there are many very modest ways to do the latter; this doesn't need big donations from everyone ).
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    I've seen all of these, in breeders and pet owners. In all cases, it is the dogs that suffer as they remain untreated or on too low a level of treatment (with this condition, pain management is exactly that, ongoing management and often needs adjustment.

    I think vets can be particularly bad about recognising SM or listening to owners. Too many are convinced they 'never see it' and therefore refuse to see it or only with the greatest reluctance -- while the dogs suffer. There are vets I no longer used for cavalier rescue or personally because I knew this was their attitude either from things they said to me, or that I heard from others. Meanwhile these same stupid people insist with a laugh that cavaliers are 'wimps' and 'cry babies' and 'drama queens' because they will scream when given injections (needles right into the neck -- right where syrinxes form first and where most SM dogs first exhibit pain). They also too often reject any suggestion from owners that something is going on and that something might be SM, because they get annoyed that people research conditions themselves or find communities that know a condition and can advise -- often with greater expertise than most vets. ...
    As difficult as it is to accept, I think we need to view 95% of the breed as probably having CM and 70% probably having SM, and therefore, the odds are that all of the cavaliers we have in our homes probably have CM/SM or just CM, both of which cause excruciating pain.

    So, we need to assume that odd behaviors may well be evidence of the pain due to these disorders, and do something about it.
    Rod Russell

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    Quote Originally Posted by RodRussell View Post
    As difficult as it is to accept, I think we need to view 95% of the breed as probably having CM and 70% probably having SM, and therefore, the odds are that all of the cavaliers we have in our homes probably have CM/SM or just CM, both of which cause excruciating pain.

    So, we need to assume that odd behaviors may well be evidence of the pain due to these disorders, and do something about it.

    Alright Rod, I can see what you mean but what does that mean for someone who owns a cavalier puppy who parents were not properly health tested?

    Fletcher is 4 months old, I have learned a lot about what to watch for... but what are owners like me, or all owners for that matter to do. Do you suggest I have him scanned? If so, at what age? How often? I use a vet who treats several cavalier's yes some with CM and SM and all eventually heart murmurs, she has no problems I believe sending a cavalier to a specialist IF and WHEN needed. Yes, I will take Fletcher to the vet at the blink of an eye if I ever think he is in ANY pain. As a owner of a young cavalier I believe I have done or am doing all I can for Fletcher....please if you think I am not on the right track let me know.

    Honestly, I know you are super smart in all this science into cavalier health and I'm seeking your advice to go from here. I apologize if these questions appear inappropriate, I'm frustrated and fearful with your opinion, I know you know what you are talking about tho.

    Melissa

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