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Thread: Anyone else have these sm symtoms?

  1. #1
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    Default Anyone else have these sm symtoms?

    Hi
    My cavy is 9 years old and was diagnosed with a mild sm a couple of years ago.
    She has never scratched or shown any sign of pain, however she was diagnosed when i saw her have a small seizure which then left her legs very wobbly and couldn't jump like she did previous.
    My vet did a mri scan and the sm was picked up.
    Since then, her movement inproved back to normal, but today she is back at the vets as last night i noticed she couldnt walk properly again and jump.
    It is like her right side isnt working properly. At the moment she takes frusomide 2 x aday and gabapentin 3 x aday.
    I was wondering if anyone else experiences these same problems with there cavy.
    She has never scratched like alot of cavys with sm it just seems to affect her balance and movement.
    Also does the medication stop working over time ?
    Will update with what my vet says.
    Thanks sally

  2. #2
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    Hi Sally–some quick answers–yes, medications typically stop working as well over time and the dose needs to be increased or the medications changed around; this should really be done with a neurologist, not a vet, as vets really have very little idea how to manage this on their own, and most of the medications are actually used for humans and not for dogs. On the scratching–some neurologists say that fewer than half of Cavaliers with this condition scratch. Scratching does tend to be an automatic reaction to certain kinds of discomfort or pain. Most neurologists now feel that scratching is a sign of significant discomfort or of pain itself, and should not be dismissed as “only scratching”. But as you have seen yourself, not all dogs scratch with the condition so it isn't the definitive indicator of whether a dog has SM or how severe the condition is.

    The kind of thing you are seeing with wobbly legs and pain (not being able to jump is generally a sign of pain -- it hurts if she tries to move certain ways so she avoids it) is common with the condition. The fact that it is happening to one side probably indicates a lopsided syrinx that is putting pressure to one side of the nervous system but not the other.

    In your situation, I would really ask for a referral to a neurologist rather than work with the vet. You want to make sure that she is as comfortable as possible, and is on the right mix of medications.

    Just by comparison–I have had to regularly change the dose and the mix of medications over the 8 years that my Cavalier has been treated for SM. As it's a progressive disease, it could definitely be more symptomatic and more difficult for your cavalier now.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    My dog's problems with SM have always been with balance and movement and never with scratching. Riley was diagnosed over 4 years ago. Her vestibular system has been very badly damaged by SM. Before her surgery, she was having what I thought were multiple mini-seizures, but which her neurologist now calls vestibular events, she could not (and still can't) jump, she sometimes needed to lean against walls to walk, her legs would just sometimes collapse on her, she would do the whole body shake and knock her self over, she would circle in the backyard before relieving herself and would fall over, and on and on. Her balance since the surgery and daily prednisone is 100% better. Still not perfect, but so much better. I agree with Karlin. Go to a neurologist. Let us know what happens. It's a long hard road. But you want your dog comfortable. Good luck.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

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    Hi
    Just thought i would just thank you to karlin and Bev for your quick response.
    Karlin my vet is the one who did my cavys mri scan and diagnosed sm, so i am thinking she must be more qualified than a vet to do the mri scanning.
    She has put her on prednisolone 2x aday for 5 days than 1x aday for a week than take her back.
    And within 24 hours all her symptoms have gone and she is totally back to herself apart from she wants to eat constantly.
    She is walking and jumping about just the same so i must say predisolone although it has alot of bad press it can really work.
    Also she checked her heart as is always done when i take her, and at 9 years old her heart is still clear.
    So i am very grateful for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sally28 View Post
    Hi
    Just thought i would just thank you to karlin and Bev for your quick response.
    Karlin my vet is the one who did my cavys mri scan and diagnosed sm, so i am thinking she must be more qualified than a vet to do the mri scanning.
    She has put her on prednisolone 2x aday for 5 days than 1x aday for a week than take her back.
    And within 24 hours all her symptoms have gone and she is totally back to herself apart from she wants to eat constantly.
    She is walking and jumping about just the same so i must say predisolone although it has alot of bad press it can really work.
    Also she checked her heart as is always done when i take her, and at 9 years old her heart is still clear.
    So i am very grateful for that.
    So glad to hear her heart is still checking out good. That is wonderful *
    Our Wrigley is not quite a year old yet. ( will be next month)..and all his tests have came back fine. I have had NO experience w/ SM...but we have had many dogs thru the years.
    Can I just add this comment? I realize you have the MRI results that show the syrinx's (sp?) ..but is it possible too that what you are seeing in your Cavalier could also just be due to her age? 9 years is old for a Cavalier.
    Maybe the weakness ( in part) is due to possible arthritis & not entirely SM related? Just a thought
    The prednisone is probably what is giving her an increase in appetite. ( It does so in humans...so just assume it might in dogs as well) Prednisone can do wonders if taken properly (short term ). I was on it ( and nuerontin a/k/a gabepentin) for over 7 years ( due to Lupus)...but it was necessary. The benefits outweighed the risks for me...so it did help. I am glad your girl is feeling better !!
    *Diane ~ Mom to~
    Wrigley ( Cavalier) Zeb ( Labrador) & Jake ( Labradoodle)

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