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Thread: My little one (<6 mos) showing signs of SM...Heartbroken

  1. #1
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    Default My little one (<6 mos) showing signs of SM...Heartbroken

    First I would like to say that I am new to this forum but have already read the countless stories cavalier owners have wrote. Dagny, Winston, Toby and each one along with the many others has made me shed a tear. I was so happy to have read the success stories and was crushed at every heartbreaking story written. Nobody really understands what these little pups bring to the table unless they have one. I love mine dearly.

    Well, about 5 days ago (Saturday) I let me little one out play in backyard. A few minutes after i heard him shriek in pain, loud, ear piercing. I run to open the door and he runs inside, yelping, tail between legs and runs directly for my dark closet on top of my laundry (he loves it there) shaking in horror. I take him out and close the door and he runs into his crate which he hasn't been in for about 3 months now. I close the crate and he jumps on top of it. I am completely terrified thinking he might have been bitten by a snake so i jump in my car in my pajamas and rush him to emergency clinic which is 45 minutes away. They give him a look over, take his vitals, find nothing, hes wagging his tail, everything seems OK, I breathe a big breath of relief.

    Sunday rolls around and he starts snapping his head backward to bite his backside. Tries left, tries right, falls on floor trying, starts whimpering a bit, and it stops. I have never seen this before and I start thinking he might have gotten bit by something, possibly a bee and he is just worried it will sting him again.

    Monday is here, and i get off work and come home to see my little one. He is happy as can be to see me, he eats his meal right up when i give it to him and then jumps on bed and starts really trying to get his butt. He scratches his neck and face a very tiny bit also. He starts crying, looking around dazed, i get nervous and take him to the vet. Get to the vet, find out his anal glands were completely full, so a draining takes place. The vet comes out and tells me about COMS and that what he is doing might fit it. I never heard of this before and don't want to think it is that. We think it might be allergies due to the anal glands not draining and him trying to bite back there because it hurts, so she prescribes Temaril P for the itching and allergies, which also contains Prednisone.

    I get home and research this issue and all of a sudden i notice that he is scractchig his face with his hind leg, very rarely but he is doing it. He is still trying to get at his butt by snapping back and is just starting to fly bite. I am devastated. I am thinking omg, he has this. I get depressed and sad and don't want to do anything. He started running in circles a bit chasing his tail and it's like every symptom is coming out in him. The first time i walked him it seemed as if he was confused, walking back and forth, peeing on the street instead of the grass, constantly shaking his whole body like he has water on it. The sadness gets a bit deeper for me.

    I started him on his meds that night and it seemed to work. Less scratching (there was already very minimal), less snapping back and less fly biting (very minimal too). No whimpering, his walks were good, and his playtime was harder than ever. He was going at it full speed almost beating me up during our play time. I was happy. Tuesday and Wednesday more of the same. Slight looking back at his butt, but not snapping, a little bit of confusion sometimes and to my relief, actually trying to bite flies that were buzzing around. I have not left his side since Monday after getting home from work.

    I know it is not diagnosed or confirmed, but some signs were there. The meds seem to make it better and dread the day i have to start tapering them off. I don't want to see him in pain. I contacted about 4 neurologists, actually talked to two of them and will be seeing one when he is off the meds. Could i be jumping the gun here? Could he have had a seizure or stroke of some sort that Saturday and these are residual effects? I have so many questions and I know the only way is to give him an MRI.

    Again, symptoms are snapping back to bite his butt, both sides. Very minimal ear/head scratching usually on left side, slight confusion and very very slight fly biting. His walks are good, he does not hop or anything while on lead, nor does he dig his head into the floor or lick and chew at his paws. He does roll around on the ground, but only in the morning and it seems as if he having the time of his life when he does it. Like a wake up and lets go play daddy roll.

    I was so relieved to find this site and have a source of information like this where people actually care. I will start being more active and maybe even put a pic up of the little guy. I thank you all for reading this and anxiously await to read what you all have to say.
    Last edited by mjv305; 23rd August 2013 at 07:14 AM.

  2. #2
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    Breathe! I know he's your baby but you are doing a really good job on making sure he is comfortable and happy.

    I think there is a strong possibility that the anal gland are the problem. I think the scratching or trying to get to his butt is a result of a sore bottom. Some ear/head scratching is perfectly normal. Personally, I would simply treat him as the vet suggested for allergies/anal gland problem. I do think its a little odd that a 6 month old puppy would be having anal gland problems in the first place. There can be a few reasons for this and I would explore those first. For now its just a wait and see which I think is alright because he is currently on some type of pain meds.

    I know a bunch of dogs that DO end up with diagnosed SM or CM were first misdiagnosed with allergies however the additional issue with the glands make me think (or hopeful) it is NOT SM/CM. I think its great that you have a neurologist in mind but I would put off going for NOW and see how it goes. IF your pup finishes all his meds. then the signs of pain continue THAT is when I would make the appointment.

    I can be obsessed about Fletcher's health at times too. If I see him scratch his ear I make a mental and watch him for an hour or so VERY closely. If Fletcher doesn't finish every bite of his dinner I always think its because he ate something he shouldn't have and has an unset tummy. For me its about the same as watching your newborn baby breathe at night just to be sure.
    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

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    Hi My Leo does this when his anal glands are playing up. He has had an abscess twice and this caused him great pain. watch your little one closely, if you're worried maybe get a neurological opinion....if it is CM/SM you'll get the right treatment if its not it will put your mind at rest. Good luck XX
    Mel
    Momma to Leonardo (Leo to his friends)

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    Well, he was having diarrhea from the meds, well, atleast i think it was the meds. I made him chicken and rice last night and it seems his little tummy is getting better. Also, i have noticed a twitch in his lower back.. When i notice the twitch i see him snap backwards. Any idea what the twitch could be?

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    Cavaliers are also prone to disk problems in their back, which might explain the yelping and the obvious discomfort at his rear end, but as others have said, infected anal glands can also be very uncomfortable. One of the real problems with CM/SM is that almost anything can be a symptom - but can also be a symptom of something entirely different. Give the anal glands time to recover (you could try adding a little bran to his food, which helps the anal glands to function properly), then see if any of the odd behaviour continues, and if it does, then take him to a neurologis - or if you think it might be a disk/back problem, get him x-rayed.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjv305 View Post
    Well, he was having diarrhea from the meds, well, atleast i think it was the meds. I made him chicken and rice last night and it seems his little tummy is getting better. Also, i have noticed a twitch in his lower back.. When i notice the twitch i see him snap backwards. Any idea what the twitch could be?
    Try plain canned pumpkin for an upset tummy. Adds the fiber, works like a charm.
    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

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    So he is eating and i can say that is about the only normal thing he is doing. Hes pretty lethargic, always trying to lay down. He was with another dog tonight and he had really no interest of playing; he didn't even really play with me today. He keeps looking back at his butt area and fly biting. No scratching, no paw chewing or head burying. Could it be the Temaril P? Could it be his anal glands? Should I take him back to the vet?

  8. #8
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    I'm so sorry you are going through this.

    If you have a lethargic dog, that generally indicates an urgent trip to the vet. However in this case, I'd ring first to see if they believe the dose of the meds you are giving could cause lethargy (they could -- antihistimines can cause drowsiness). Any good vets will answer questions like this by phone rather than have a client make a trip in to be told the same thing.

    Some of what you describe could be very normal behaviour -- eg a little bit of scratching is typical of any dog. Also scratching is not even seen in about half of dogs with CM/SM. Generally you are looking for a cluster of behaviours or specific things that have no other obvious cause.

    Your vet sounds clued in and like they are taking this step by step. They are (properly) checking for other possible causes of the behaviour before referring you to a neurologist. Be aware though that the meds you are giving would also relieve symptoms of CM/SM (generally the term we use here rather than COMS).

    It's important not to panic over signs that could indicate any range of things and to explore possibilities. I also would say that without seeing this behaviour it is very hard to tell whether some of this is just normal puppy behaviour (eg the occasional scratching, the shaking off outside -- my dogs do this all the time -- and puppies also easily get spooked by things as I know with two giant-breed 6 month pups at the moment!). It can be easy to get overly worried about normal behaviour.

    That flipping around and biting sometimes indicates flea allergies by the way so your vet is right to be checking these things first. That biting at hindquarters is not all that common for an SM dog, especially as an early sign.

    Fly catching can be something entirely separate -- none of my (3) SM dogs do this. But a lot of cavaliers have obsessive compulsive behaviours like tail chasing and fly catching. BUT tail chasing is **very normal** behaviour in young puppies. Generally you don;t want to encourage it but my big pyrenean puppies sometimes tail chase too! My SM-free dog Jaspar tail chased a lot as a puppy -- never as an adult though.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Thank you all so much. It is very comforting knowing I have you all here to help me through this. You really have no idea how much so.

    I am starting to relax a bit and just watching him and noting his every behavior. I started mixing in his normal blue/bil jac mix I make for him with his chicken and rice. He hasn't had a serious bowel movement in about 2 days now. I'm sure he is going to explode soon. He did have a small one that was firm so it may be looking good. The meds are starting to be tapered off today switching for the 2/day to 1/day. I hope he does well with the lower dose. I miss my energetic fun puppy and hope to have him back soon.

    I am going to continue to keep him on his meds until its done and then I will see where his is at that point. He is on Trifexis so I don't know how it could be a flea allergy. He chased his tail for a couple days and then really hasn't dont it since. I thought it was cute when he did it and didn't make much of it.

    It looks like when he flips his head back that he is in a bit of pain so i'm thinking it is his anal glands. I hope it is atleast. His fly catching doesn't happen too much, but he does it. Trying to determine if it is like a small seizure when it happens or if it follows or precedes when he tries to bite his butt.

    Thank you all so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Generally you are looking for a cluster of behaviours or specific things that have no other obvious cause.
    Meaning if he is doing all these things and he doesn't have allergies, anal gland problems, obsessive compulsive behavior it could be time to worry?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjv305 View Post
    Meaning if he is doing all these things and he doesn't have allergies, anal gland problems, obsessive compulsive behavior it could be time to worry?
    Yep, well go into action. I think it is a good idea to keep a list of local specialists, as a "just in case" or "when". For most owners we balance worrying/ obsessing about health problems and enjoying our dogs. Its IS VERY important to know about these issues and watch for them.
    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

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