First, thank you so much for all the information in this forum. Laci is a 2.5 y/o Blenheim (gorgeous!) who came home to us in February. She was bred by a breeder in the US and sold to another breeder for breeding purposes but never had a litter. In December she had an issue and had to be spayed. In February I made a cold call to the breeder asking for an adult female. The breeder was not actively trying to get rid of Laci. She showed me puppies but it was love at first sight with Laci. She also had her examined by her vet and gave me a 2 year health gurantee. I may be naive but I don't believe the breeder knew she had any issues.
Looking back, Laci probably showed symptoms from day one but I didn't recognize it. She has always been a head rubber/scratcher. She never liked to be pet on her head, cringed when we tried to put the leash on her and never wanted to be picked up. About 2 weeks ago she started yelping. First when I tried to pick her up. Another time when I rubbed her sides and the episode that sent me racing to the vet (I rubbed her tummy). Thinking back there were other episodes that were vocalized (but not as bad) and other times when she didn't vocalize but I now know she was probably in pain. She also cringes for no reason. I used to think she was so timid that she scared herself. Now I think it was probably pain.
My vet has her on medication (since last Friday) and she is doing much better (although she did run off today when she was outside for potty--she has never done that so I'll have to be more careful now that she is better).
The big thing I can see about her getting better is in her eyes. I didn't know it but her eyes have been horribly blood-shot. I didn't think she even had whites of her eyes but I can see them now and her iris is actually a beautiful medium brown--I can see the pupil now. Does anyone else notice bloodshot eyes during bad times? Should I rely on that as an indicator that she may be having trouble? I want to catch it before she vocalizes.
Next--as I mentioned I have only had her since February and have never owned a Cavalier (haven't had a dog in over 20 years). I was very surprised at the amount she sheds. Has anyone noticed their baby sheds more when they are in pain? She doesn't have bald spots but when I brush (every other day at least) I pull out 4-5 huge brushes full of hair. She tolerates grooming very well.
Little background on her diagnosis and treatment...I did not get the MRI and my vet recommended against surgery. She is on Dermamaxx. I do not have insurance but I don't think plans in the US cover SM. I notified the breeder I bought her from and the breeder who bred her. They are both very ethical and reputable. The lady I bought Laci from offered me a new dog but I don't want Laci to have to share us--especially now. My vet suspects Laci only started showing symptoms after she came home because she had a lot more freedom to move around.
So--any thoughts would be greatly appreciated and thank you again. The night she had her worst yelping episode, I googled "sensitive arm pits cavaliers" and found this thread. I probably wouldn't have known about SM until she got much worse. I thank you all and Laci thanks you.