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."
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.