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Thread: Thistle had several pain episodes this weekend

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Thistle had several pain episodes this weekend

    Since getting Thistle back in November she has not been her usual self, although she hasn't been suffering (outwardly). She would run and play with Guinness but not nearly as much as she used to play, and she has been more distant with me. I was hoping it was just part of readjusting to being back with us after 5 months apart.

    Saturday afternoon she sat bolt upright in the middle of napping and just started screaming. That only lasted a few seconds. Then again on Sunday during a nap. She is completely naked while in the house, so no collar or harness to bother her. Last night she had another attack around 1:30 am, this one lasted about 10 minutes, and then she was clearly distraught but not screaming for several hours afterwards. I barely slept at all (she slept about 2-3 hours, and otherwise was so uncomfortable that she was pacing around and barking at things.

    I thought to get a video, so I've uploaded it to YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdV1bjzDCfE
    This was the 1:30 fit, the video is only of part of her panicking.

    I have contacted a vet here about getting immediate attention for her, but otherwise is there anything I can do to make her more comfortable?

    From the vet I asked for a cortisone shot to get her comfortable immediately while starting cimitidine or omeprazole.

    The other thing I'm thinking it could be is a disc/spinal injury if someone dropped her or she had a fall while she was out of my care for the last 5 months. So we'll probably start with an X-ray, and a work up before going for an MRI.

    Even though I always knew this could happen, it's so upsetting to see my little girl so distressed, and it just came up so quickly. She's been reserved, but not showing pain. I feel so terrible for her.

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    I'm so sorry for her and you too. I know you were without her for a longtime and I'm sure missed her very much. I hope you get this figured out and get Thistle out of pain quickly. Let us know.
    Melissa
    "If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
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    The video is heartbreaking to watch. My guess would be CM/SM related only because that's not how my Oliver related whenever he's had disc related problems. He just wouldn't move at all. But then again every dog is different. I'm so sorry. I hope you have a good vet. It's so distressing to think that something happened while she was out of your care also. Please let us know what the vet says.
    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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    We were able to get an appointment, and I'm really happy with the vet I found online.

    After getting kissed hello by Thistle (the appropriate way to greet everyone), and watching her walk around happily, she said Thistle seemed perfectly normal. Fortunately I had the video. She gave her a thorough once over for skin irritations etc. Proprioception test (Thistle failed to fix her left side- right side was normal). She felt around, watched Thistle walk some more. She gave her a cortisone shot, which sent Thistle screaming in pain (it's for the best though), and referred us to a neurologist.

    The vet has seen syringomyelia before, but said Thistle seems very mild compared to the ones she's seen. She definitely agreed Thistle was in a lot of pain and that should be addressed immediately, and that the pain seems to be neurological.

    No pills for now, the shot should keep her comfortable for a while, and hopefully we will be meeting with the neurologist later this week.

    We're home now and Thistle's resting, This is the calmest her breathing has been since I started noticing her symptoms.

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    And LoveMyCavs, thanks for the advice. I don't know how disc pain would present differently from syringomyelia, so it's nice to hear from someone with experience.

    I am suspecting SM/CM as well, the scratching, trying to run away from the pain...she's really a classic presentation of symptoms.

    I'm hoping we're catching this early. Although I don't know how anyone could ignore something so obviously distressing until the disease is more advanced.

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    Oh no; I am so sorry to hear this. You are doing all the right things -- look for some immediate relief (I'd probably ask for low dose steroids and/or some other actual painkiller like tramadol, but your vet may well make that suggestions for the level of pain -- the pain, whatever the cause, is what needs to be addressed); then try to figure out the source by starting with an xray. That might reveal disk problems, but often an MRI is stil needed for a definite disk diagnosis.

    I really hope you can quickly get the pain under control, and then you will be able to move forward with far less of the immediate stress of having a painful dog. The distress of that definitely makes the situation so much more stressful.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
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    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Sorry to hear that Thistle is having pain. It does sound like you are taking all the right steps to figure this out. Hopefully, you can get this under control quickly.
    Joyce - Proudly owned & loved by

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    I have sent the vet a link to Clare Rusbridge's website, and a second link specifically to the the treatment algorithm. Being from the US, I have been conditioned to never ask for pain killers (seriously, I shattered my arm a few years ago, and wouldn't ask for them from the ER doctor for fear of "looking like a druggie"- my brother is a drug addict and will break his hand just to get the painkillers. This was a monthly occurrence for a while).

    Europeans don't seem to have that stigma, especially not the low doses a small dog like Thistle would be prescribed, but vets in the US are still only now transitioning to treating pain. I'm to call tomorrow with an update, and at that point I can ask for Tramadol (or something else, not all the drugs are the same here- no Benadryl, for one thing).

    It will be essential to keep something in the house for when she's having a hard day though.

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    That video is very distressing to watch. Thistle was in a lot of pain.

    I have a Japanese Chin with disk problems and I have also had few SM cavaliers. It looked very like SM pain to me.
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Margaret C View Post
    That video is very distressing to watch. Thistle was in a lot of pain.

    I have a Japanese Chin with disk problems and I have also had few SM cavaliers. It looked very like SM pain to me.
    This was the first time (this weekend, the 3 rd and worst episode was filmed) she's never done this at all, and for her to be so painful was really unexpected. I was afraid to touch her for fear of making it worse.

    She tried to play it off at the vet giving kisses and prancing around, so it was very important that I had the video.

    Another question, her proprioception was off on the left side (she also is scratching the left side in the video), her front limb was much worse than the hind. But her pupil dilation is normal in both eyes. Is that typical?

    At first blush it seemed odd, but if you think about a syrinx (or even CM) would only affect structures lower than the level of the lesion (similar to paraplegic/quadriplegic injuries). Since the optic and oculomotor nerves arise from the mid-brain they would not be affected. So theoretically only structures from brainstem/cerebellum and back should be affected by CM/SM.

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