Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Thread: 8mth Old Showing Symptoms - Lost, Please Help - In USA, from UK

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    7
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 8mth Old Showing Symptoms - Lost, Please Help - In USA, from UK

    Hi all,


    I’m really worried about my darling pup’ Leo. He is 8 months old and I have noticed he displays some possible symptoms of SM. I am from the UK, purchased the puppy here in the US though, and am living in Chicago for the next six months. I am shocked by how much more MRIs are here and at 26 years old I will have to do it at least partly on finance unless I can wait to be bac in the UK in Aug/Sept/Oct.
    He has luxating pattelas in both his legs. I got him checked at the vets as I suspected so from symptoms and they confirmed grade 1 in the right leg and grade 1-2 in the left.

    His breeder is AKC registered and I have spoken to her – they said they have never had a Cav with SM nor luxating patellars or heard from a buyer that it developed in one of their puppies. They seem to genuinely care and offered, “I know it’s not want you want to hear but we can give you a replacement free if worst comes to worst.” I didn’t want to hear that tbh and it sent me to tears but I understand they meant good.

    The two symptoms he displays that rang the alarm bells for me re:

    Particularly he does these two:

    - Scratches his kneck and head, not too rigorously or long (at most 10 secs but usually just a couple) – this happens a few times through the day definitely. I have also seen him do the phantom air scratching while walking – not often but I’ve seen it on occasions.

    - He yawns quite a lot but he is just a pup and needs his sleep, licks his lips too but I wouldn’t say he does either ‘’excessively’’. He does the head shake and body shake sometimes, like they do when they’re wet but he does it dry sometimes.

    After he is bathed/showered he does the following two a lot, though it could be just because he is wet and freaked out:

    "Digging or pushing. Some dogs begin to dig obsessively at carpets or sofas. They may run along the length of a sofa pushing themselves against it. Again, this behavior is normal in many dogs; with SM dogs, the activity is frantic."

    "Head rubbing
    Some dogs start to rub their head from side to side on the floor as if their heads hurt, doing this excessively (NB: normal dogs will do this with pleasure, often before rolling on the floor). They sometimes 'mush' their face against the floor. In severe cases dogs have rubbed their faces raw on the floor. An affected dog often follows a scratching session by rubbing its face against the floor. "

    Also, when he gets a chew toy he wish shake it and his head franticly like he is trying to kill the life out of it. I think/thought this is just normal puppy behaviour though.

    He hasn’t yelped other than maybe once or twice in the last six months because he has injured himself. I don’t think he has ever expressed pain other than after a typical puppy accident, like a bump or something.

    I have seen him chase his tail a couple of times in a row but only on the one occasion (earlier this week).

    He seems happy as pie. He did an 8 hour flight last week and was an angel, no bother on it. I love him to BITS. We have built such a tight bond in the last six months that we have been best amigos. Yesterday though he seemed a bit erratic, I thought it was boredom and took him for a walk which seemed to help. I think he was making slight groans once or twice last night in his sleep. Hard to say if they were anything more than sleepy puppy noises.

    UPDATE: In last 24 hours I have noticed him sneezing frequently. Perhaps allergies or cold maybe.

    I am really worried but I can be a bit neurotic. I mentioned SM to the vet yesterday when taking him to have his lux patellar confirmed but he didn't know what I meant by the acronym and I forgot the full term for it. It was only last night/today when I was reading more about the luxating pattelars that I looked into it more and realised he has so many signs.

    I have updated my vet what I meant by SM and why I thought it. I assume he will call later but clearly it will need a specialist.
    Key questions I have are:
    - Who should speak to? I feel lost and alone on this here in the US. There are seemingly wider and more affordable options back in the UK.

    - Do I need an MRI scan? Would there be much benefit doing it now as oppose to waiting, bearing in mind the cost? Or should I just monitor him and see if any signs become more persistent or worrying until I am home?

    - Should I consider getting pet insurance before I have him examined for this? I have not mentioned it to my UK vet or had him checked for it in any way.

    - Is there anything else I need to do at this stage?

    I will stick by him no matter what and make sure that he has the best life possible, whether he has SM or not.
    Thank you for any help. This forum has provided so much support to so many people which is admirable.

    Zac
    Last edited by ZacAndLeo; 12th April 2013 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Updating info

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Yorktown, Virginia USA
    Posts
    1,426
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Leo is so cute! No wonder you are so in love with him.

    I cannot answer all your questions I have not been a cavalier owner long myself and have not seen firsthand any health problems (touch wood) however I CAN tell you we all worry about our cavaliers like you do. Its kind of like living with a time bomb, I personally knew all about these issues and choose a cavalier anyway. Its a balance of worry and enjoy. Honestly, what you describe could be symptoms of anything from normal puppy, to too much bathing, to SM/CM, to glue ear or even Fly Catcher Syndrome........you need a vet who knows and understands these conditions tho.

    Oh and YES I think almost every pet owner should have pet insurance, unless you have an endless bank account or something. I do think you might pay more and/or the knee problem might never be covered or limited coverage but either way get a policy ASAP.

    A few ways to find a vet who is better able to care for a cavalier would be to reach out to the regional club of ACKCS http://www.ackcsc.org/ here's a link I know there is a chapter in a big city like Chicago. Also there is a rescue group that operates just in the Chicago area, I am pretty sure they can refer you to a great vet, here is their link https://www.gccavalierrescue.org/. If that doesn't help and you cannot find a SM knowledgeable vet try contacting a neurologist and ask them. Lucky for you there are 2 in the Chicago area here's a link to them http://www.chicagoveterinaryemergency.com I cannot think of any member of this forum who is from Chicago but maybe there is one.


    I do hope I have pointed you in the right direction. But I also do want to offer some plain old support You are NOT alone...and this forum is here to listen to all cavalier stories and help, laugh, enjoy, worry and understand. Please let us know how you and Leo are doing. Keeping in touch and feeling like other cavalier lovers understand should be very helpful.
    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."
    -Roger Caras

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    7
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MomObvious View Post
    Leo is so cute! No wonder you are so in love with him.

    I cannot answer all your questions I have not been a cavalier owner long myself and have not seen firsthand any health problems (touch wood) however I CAN tell you we all worry about our cavaliers like you do. Its kind of like living with a time bomb, I personally knew all about these issues and choose a cavalier anyway. Its a balance of worry and enjoy. Honestly, what you describe could be symptoms of anything from normal puppy, to too much bathing, to SM/CM, to glue ear or even Fly Catcher Syndrome........you need a vet who knows and understands these conditions tho.

    Oh and YES I think almost every pet owner should have pet insurance, unless you have an endless bank account or something. I do think you might pay more and/or the knee problem might never be covered or limited coverage but either way get a policy ASAP.

    A few ways to find a vet who is better able to care for a cavalier would be to reach out to the regional club of ACKCS http://www.ackcsc.org/ here's a link I know there is a chapter in a big city like Chicago. Also there is a rescue group that operates just in the Chicago area, I am pretty sure they can refer you to a great vet, here is their link https://www.gccavalierrescue.org/. If that doesn't help and you cannot find a SM knowledgeable vet try contacting a neurologist and ask them. Lucky for you there are 2 in the Chicago area here's a link to them http://www.chicagoveterinaryemergency.com I cannot think of any member of this forum who is from Chicago but maybe there is one.


    I do hope I have pointed you in the right direction. But I also do want to offer some plain old support You are NOT alone...and this forum is here to listen to all cavalier stories and help, laugh, enjoy, worry and understand. Please let us know how you and Leo are doing. Keeping in touch and feeling like other cavalier lovers understand should be very helpful.
    Thank you so much, Melissa for the thoughtful and valuable response. I am going to investigate these links further today.

    Best wishes,
    Zac

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Coventry UK
    Posts
    1,842
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Pet insurance in the US may not be much help, as both the patellas and the possibility of SM could be considered pre-existing conditions and therefore will not be paid for. But if you are going back to the UK in a few months, I would take out UK insurance as soon as possible.

    With a dog showing possible symptoms, an alternative to an MRI that some vets find helpful is to put the dog on the main drug used to control CM/SM pain, gabapentin. If it makes an almost immediate difference to the possible symptoms, then there is a good chance that you are dealing with CM/SM. Or even without an MRI, a visit to a neurologist if you can afford it would be helpful, because a neuro experienced with the disease can tell a great deal from the possible symptoms even without an MRI.

    I think we all get a bit paranoid about our dogs, but at the same time what seem to be symptoms of SM can be other things, just as what seem to be other problems such as allergies can in fact be SM. It's a very tricky disease! Try and find a vet with experience of CM/SM, think about saving your pennies (cents? dimes?) for an appointment with a neuro - but above all enjoy your Cavalier, they are enchanting at 8 months, all legs and eyes!

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    7
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kate H View Post
    Pet insurance in the US may not be much help, as both the patellas and the possibility of SM could be considered pre-existing conditions and therefore will not be paid for. But if you are going back to the UK in a few months, I would take out UK insurance as soon as possible.

    With a dog showing possible symptoms, an alternative to an MRI that some vets find helpful is to put the dog on the main drug used to control CM/SM pain, gabapentin. If it makes an almost immediate difference to the possible symptoms, then there is a good chance that you are dealing with CM/SM. Or even without an MRI, a visit to a neurologist if you can afford it would be helpful, because a neuro experienced with the disease can tell a great deal from the possible symptoms even without an MRI.

    I think we all get a bit paranoid about our dogs, but at the same time what seem to be symptoms of SM can be other things, just as what seem to be other problems such as allergies can in fact be SM. It's a very tricky disease! Try and find a vet with experience of CM/SM, think about saving your pennies (cents? dimes?) for an appointment with a neuro - but above all enjoy your Cavalier, they are enchanting at 8 months, all legs and eyes!

    Kate, Oliver and Aled
    Thank you Kate for the considerate reply.

    I will definitely take him to a Neuro at some point. Just monitoring him now to see if I should take him here or at home. I would much prefer to do it back at home really.

    My vet has said he knows a few Neuros in Chicago. I would happy to pay for a consulttion but an MRI at $2k when I can get one for £300 in the UK would be wasteful unless essential.

    Thanks very much for the tip re; gabapentin - I will consider that if symptoms persist. Obviously I will research dosage etc.

    He seems a bit better today and the frequent sneezing has made me think there is a possibility it is something else.

    Cavlier's are just the best. There are four on my street here! I really feel like building a loving friendship with a dog is one of the great joys in life!!

    Thanks agai

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Staten Island, NY
    Posts
    297
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I have a tendency to worry too! A couple of thoughts...if you trust your breeder and he/she confirms that they have never bred a pup with SM that is a good thing. Some times itching can be an allergic reaction to food, or dry skin. After a bath, my CKC always nuzzles his head into me -- it's like he is hiding because he doesn't want to be seen all wet. Tail chasing is a normal puppy thing, and dogs do make noises sometimes in their sleep (Bosco snores!). So, before I paid for an MRI (Yes-- very expensive in the US), I would take a deep breath and wait and see. Hope this helps with your anxiety a bit. Please keep us posted.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    7
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thank you for sharing Jo. It's very helpful to hear similar situations.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dublin, Ireland
    Posts
    23,999
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    15

    Default

    You've had some good advice -- I actually would not be that concerned about anything you mention EXCEPT the air scratching which doesn't really occur with any other condition.

    Sadly there is absolutely no way any breeder has not bred a dog with SM -- every breeder who has MRId has found it in their dogs and it is estimated, on clinical samples of dogs with NO symptoms, that at least 70% have it by over age 6-7. The breeder sounds like she cares but also is terribly underinformed on this condition, for someone who is breeding. . Your experience and concern will hopefully encourage her to learn more.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
    Posts
    2,088
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    18

    Default

    Oh I hate that you feel alone here in the US. I will tell you that I am neurotic and have people tell that too me but that's ok because I don't care. Elton is the extremely healthy and acts like a puppy even at 6 1/2. We all worry about our babies. I will say that having a cavalier with CM/SM did make me see some things that are symptoms of CM or SM and I would focus on that when I think there are other issues going on with my adopted cavalier Elton. Elton, however, never have a "pained" look in his eyes. He didn't act or seem like he was in pain. This is a HUGE difference than Ella but Leo IS a puppy so I am not sure if it's the same.

    He DID have an MRI scan and even though he doesn't have SM he has CM (very rare that they don't). CM alone CAN cause pain and symptoms which I knew but now I feel that I missed the other things that should be ruled out first.

    Reading what you said about Leo, I thought this is very similar to Elton (except phantom scratching).

    He does have fly catchers which can be related to other things. There are neurologists that feel it is linked to SM. I went to one that didn't and since it isn't constant he felt he did not need to be on any anti seizure medication because there are really strong. He does the body shake. chases his tail sometimes but it's improved but I think he is a very nervous cavalier. He sneezes A LOT! Sneezing is not a symptom (that I know about) which makes me think there might be an allergy issue. Elton has very red eyes which after I was convinced that the scratching, head rubbing, chasing his tail, was all due to his CM, I finally realized it could be allergies or behavior among other things. One time the head rubbing was actually due to an ear infection that I found out later. He definately runs around and rubs his head etc. after baths. I think this is really normal.


    Leo is a puppy so most of these things, like karlin said, seem to be not that concerning and if its not excessive then I wouldn't worry it is anything serious. However, Karlin has a point about the phantom scratching. I also feel that it never hurts to have a consultation with a neurologist. I did and I don't regret it because even if it was $70, it gave me some piece of mind. It also saved me the cost of multiple visits to a vet and since your vet is not familiar with the condition, it might be worth it. Also, he/she could prescribe medication if he feels he should without having an MRI. Actually, I feel if things are not extremely excessive, an MRI might be better when his is a bit older when you go back to the UK if there is still an issue.

    I recently switched Elton's food and went to a holistic vet and she changed his diet and added some herbs. I am happy to report his fly catching behavior has not happened since and chasing his tail and some other things have improved. I am not saying you have to go that far but maybe you can rule out allergies first?

    There are many other cavalier owners here that live in the US and have dealt with this condition. If they haven't, there are many people that are supportive. Keep us updated on Leo.
    Anne Proud mother of Elton 5 and Angel Ella

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    1,756
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    My black and tan, Riley sees Dr. Podell, a neurologist at http://www.chicagoveterinaryemergency.com/ in Chicago for her SM. He has been absolutely wonderful to us. He diagnosed her within a minute of hearing her symptoms and looking at her walk and watching her behavior. She has seen him now for over 5 years. He has a cavalier and is very familiar with SM. He may be able to help you with Leo just with a diagnostic physical exam. If you can get a video of his air scratching that would be great. You could talk to him about wanting to wait for an MRI until you get back to the UK, but maybe ask him if he feels Leo might be helped by some medication. I have nothing but good things to say about him. He has done surgery on two of my dogs - one for SM and one for cervical disc decompression. 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)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •