Hello All of you Dear new Friends!
I am very new to the forum and am very excited to have signed up. I was hoping to discuss with someone my Mel's upcoming MRI and frankly looking for some emotional support as my dear friend goes through this. Over the past year I have taken Mel to six vets as a result of a "crying spell" he has every 3-4 months and we are now going to get an MRI at a University to check for SM. I was hoping someone could chime in and tell me their experience with this disease is similar to ours? Below I will list his symptoms and what his crying spells are like. I have around 30 videos and meticulous notes on the outbreaks so if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Also I also welcome any and all suggestions that you have tried for treatment. Does anyone use non-steroid treatments? Mel REALLY reacts poorly to steroids and I typically avoid them. I am not sure that I would medicate him at this stage, I'll discuss it with our neurologist, but I do like to plan.

SYMPTOMS: Mel cries quite literally ALL night and all day. NO ONE sleeps. He does this for approximately 2-4 days every 3-4 months. (My vet thinks the outbreaks MAY be related to changing seasons, do any of you have this?) He does, however eat, drink, play, and exercise without hesitation or qualm. He also has normal stools. In fact he frequently initiates play and asks for walks. If he is distracted he MAY cry less, but he will still cry. If he gets excited (for food or a toy) he will cry more and louder. His ears are sometimes pulled back in stress, but mostly he just walks around normally and screams. He seems to have excess energy the FIRST day of "cries." After that, we are all tired. Mel year-round has a spot we can scratch and he will ALWAYS kick, walk away, and sometimes wine a little. He does roll on his back in a strange way (I do have a video of this) while playing with toys. He ALWAYS rolls on the toy so I am not sure if it's a symptom or if he is being silly.
HOW WE REACT: Because Mel is clearly trying to tell me something I do treat him with more care and delicacy during these fits. He cries less if he is sleeping at an upwards angle on my chest, covered in a blanket with classical music on. Sometimes I can even give him some precious hours of sleep... Boy, does my butt fall asleep though. LOL
I feel like I am walking a fine line between helping him to "focus" on what he is feeling vs making him feel loved and listened to. My husband just sort of acts like everything is normal, and goes through our exercise, play, eating routine as normal.

How do/would all of you react? Do your dogs cry out but not show their normal signs of pain? I know that dogs can be hard to read in terms of pain or emotion, but I work from home and Mel and I have our own language. To be sure, though, during these times Mel doesn't communicate with me as he normally does. He is DEFINITELY distracted and seems to have a harder time tuning-in to me. This might be the worst part because I can't help him as much and I feel like I've lost a part of him. I hate it so much.
I suppose this is the first time I didn't know precisely what is best for him, and that is such a strange feeling.

Mel LOVES chasing Leaves...