15th October 2013, 07:10 PM
Signs of SM since bringing home. :(
My Max has been showing signs of SM since I brought him home at 9 weeks. I am having a vet visit next week where they (I'm praying) may find incidences of skin allergies and/or anal gland issues. He has been scratching his neck with front paw and back paw multiple times per day. The scratching sessions don't last more than 15-20 seconds but it is quite often. He also bites his back paws and tail. However, what worries me most is that once in a while, he will yelp and immediately look to his tail. My vet initially told me that i was being ultra-conscious because I have read so much about it and but will help rule out anything else next week. I'm so devasted because he is so young and I've already fallen so in love with him.
I'm glad I have this board to come to.
15th October 2013, 11:29 PM
Hi Pam: I know how worrying this can be but your vet has given you good advice; meanwhile, you are right to want to check things out carefully. Given that many of the things you are seeing are common dog behaviours and especially puppy behaviours, I'd try not to worry until you have him thoroughly checked out, especially as I believe he is still quite young (?) and it would be fairly rare to see SM symptoms at 9 weeks, though sadly it is possible. Have you had Max in at all to the vet since you started to see things you feel are suspicious? Puppies can very commonly can arrive with fleas, rabbit mites ( Cheyletiella) and/or earmites. Has he been checked and/or treated for any of these? The other possibility would be some reaction to some food ingredient or another type of allergy. Foot chewing is common as is ear scratching for allergies.
The difficulty is that these things can possibly be SM as well. They can also be caused by PSOM (like glue ear in children), which is a common finding in cavaliers on MRIs done for SM. CM (the skull malformation that is thought to lead in some dogs to SM) can also cause a range of the same symptoms as SM.
I was sure my Jaspar had SM due to his scratching when under a year old and spent much time feeling great despair about it. When I eventually had him and his half brother MRId (who had no symptoms at all and was my 'normal' control dog to compare with Jaspar) at just over age 1 it turned out Jaspar was totally clear for SM, had only very minor CM but had PSOM. Meanwhile Leo had a significant syrinx which in a year's time, was causing him symptoms. Leo is now 10 and has been successfully managed on medications for almost 9 years. They were re-MRId at age 5 and Jaspar was still clear for SM while Leo had, as expected, progressed. I wasted a lot of worry on something that never happened. I have three CKCS now with SM and all are fairly old dogs (8 through 10); all manage well, two are not on medications beyond cimetidine. So there are many possibilities, and many outcomes.
All cavalier owners need to be very conscious of the risks of CM/SM in the breed and you are right to be vigilant but try as much as you can not to torture yourself with worry when the cause might be benign and easily treated. If it is SM, then the next steps are now fairly clearly defined and there are a range of options and of course, there's much support and experience here for anyone managing a cavalier with CM/SM.
Let us know how your vet visit goes and what your vet thinks.
In memory: Lucy
Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com
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16th October 2013, 08:23 AM
Hi there Pam
Karlin has given wonderful advice. She always does I'm sending you nothing but positive vibes and support.
I'm not sure if you knew about SM before getting your sweet puppy or if you have another dog with it, or if you've just researched like me and ended up here. Either way, I wish I had known about SM when we brought Shiloh home at 10 weeks. Chances are, the vet will find something else that is causing Max his scratching and yelping. Like Karlin said, puppy behavior can include all of those things you mention. With that said, Shiloh started showing symptoms as soon as we brought her home but we didn't know anything about SM, and therefore had no idea she had symptoms. We just knew something was wrong. Shiloh has scooted almost every day since we bought her, and her early signs of pain were yelping for no reason and going after her tail. She would cry when she scooted also. Looking back I guess she was itchy too, but we were clueless. We took her to her vet of course, and for the first year they kept saying anal glands. (Which cavaliers can certainly have issues with the glands). The second year it was allergies. Long story short, here we are and she turns 2 next week and she has a very severe case of SM. That's what it was all along, but it took a lot of money and frustration before I found out about SM and what it can do to a dog.
I say none of this to scare you at all. I only say this to let you know that if your dog continues to show signs over time, or seems to get worse in any way, or if you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, PLEASE insist that they at least rule it out. If we had been able to get an early diagnosis and treatment for Shiloh, I feel confident that she could have had a much better quality of life. Unfortunately, in her case, the damage has been done and we are currently doing whatever we can just to make her comfortable.
Chances are Max is a healthy little pup with a full life ahead of him for you to enjoy! Try not to worry too much Like Karlin has said, puppies can have all kinds of behaviors. You are absolutely doing the right thing by getting to the vet with little Max. Hopefully it will give you peace of mind that things are okay I'll be thinking of you and Max and I applaud you for being diligent. And like I said, if you have a feeling that something is wrong, do whatever you have to do to rule out SM. Do not take no for an answer. At the end of the day, whether they rule it out or rule it in, it is better for Max, and YOU, if they do this early on. The worst that can happen is that they say he's perfectly healthy. Then you can rest easy Actually that would be the BEST that could happen! Let us know what they say! And if you have any questions you're in the right place!
16th October 2013, 11:36 AM
I think every informed cavalier owner balances worry with enjoy when it comes to our dogs health. I also believe in that "Mommy gut" feeling and would make a vet appointment to have him checked out anytime it happens. Let us know what the vet says.
"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."
16th October 2013, 02:52 PM
Karlin, Dre and Melissa
Thank you all for your advice, encouragement and support. Max is now 14 weeks but yes, stlll quite young for symptoms. He will be checked next week and I will bring up every single symptom. I found this site before I brought Max home and learned so much that I could be overworrying but also could be just catching it early.
I am praying for the best and I will most certainly update you as soon as I have seen the vet. She is a family friend and although I know she won't intentionally steer me wrong, she told me she has never seen a case of SM before...anyhoo. I won't stop until I am satisfied.
Dre _ I am so sorry to her about Shiloh. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you. My thoughts are with you.
I feel very supported and fortunate to have found you all.
It means alot to me.
Updates to come....
16th October 2013, 03:40 PM
So sorry you have this worry so early in Max's life. You got great information from everyone, but I will give you a bit you didn't ask about. BEFORE going to the vet and asking about SM, get insurance. One that covers genetic and inherited illness otherwise, the insurance will consider it preexisting and may not cover you. Also, if possible, try to get a video of Max with the behaviors you are concerned about. It will help the vet to see and determine what may be going on.
Though what you describe may be SM, it is more than likely that you just have normal puppy behavior. Try not to worry too much, but I know that's easier said than done.
Joyce - Proudly owned & loved by
BellaMia (Aug. 30, 2012) My Beautiful Red Headed Baby Girl
Sydney (April 16, 2000~April 4, 2012) Always and Forever In My Heart
18th October 2013, 07:54 AM
Thanks for the support Big hugs from one Cav mom to another
I absolutely second EVERYTHING Joyce said. Get insurance, before you take him, with coverage for genetic illness. (Hoping and assuming of course that you wont need it for anything serious And take videos if you can. It absolutely helps to have videos. Even if its one 10 second clip that shows what he does. You can always explain how often the behavior happens. Puppies tend to act perfectly healthy and excited at the vet Don't count on Max to yelp on cue LOL. Shiloh never did! Lol. And just know that it's okay to feel like you're being over protective. It's better to be aware and on top of it and be wrong, than to look back and wish you had been more over protective I would give anything to have known the info you do so early on. High five to you! Good luck!
30th October 2013, 08:19 PM
Hi everyone -
Sorry for the late update. And to all who recommended getting insurance, THANKFULLY I did and the wait period ended a couple of weeks ago. But...just in case, I did not mention SM to the vet yet, I just gave her all his symptoms. She didn't even make record of anything but the anal glands. She said that the scratching is very common to puppies and especially Max because he is growing at a very fast rate. His anal glands were slightly impacted and I've noticed less snapping back although he is scooting again. So...I'm still going to watch and worry to a lesser degree. If I continue to see a ton of scratching and he starts to snap back and yelp again, I will definitely take him to the vet and mention SM because I will be sure that the insurance won't tell me its pre-existing now.
Thanks to everyone. I am so glad to be here on this board.
14th November 2013, 08:44 AM
Please take him back to the vet if you can. Shiloh had scooting as her only symptom in the beginning. They would do the glands, and when they were full it seemed like a no-brainer. But she didn't stop scooting. It would start all over again. Then when the glands wouldn't be full, they would just tell us ..."your dog has gland problems...." We went back and forth for a year.
Please, please trust me on this. If Max is still scooting, even a little, after his glands have been done, then you have to ask them to at least consider SM. If the syrinx is in the lower spine, it will cause horrible pain in the anal area, as apposed to the more common neck area. With SM, they will show signs of pain while scooting, where a dog that just has full glands may scoot, but doesn't yelp or whimper. (At least our other dog never has, but maybe I'm wrong...?) Keep an eye out for the yelping and chasing his bum and back legs. Yelping in pain is NOT normal for a healthy pup, but it took me a very long time to figure that out And an even longer time to convince my vet.
Like I said before, if it really is just glands and no SM, then finding out as soon as possible is better for him either way. Please do not let it go like I did. If there is even a chance he has SM, you want to know early. That way he can have treatment and a normal life. We waited too long, and Shiloh's case is severe. Not all cavaliers have severe symptoms, but unfortunately hers are. We are putting Shiloh down on Saturday
I'm sorry for being so upfront and I don't want you to worry. But reading your update felt like I was reading my own story. I don't mean to be hyper sensitive, but after all we've been through, and our heartbreaking outcome, I just don't want others to suffer like she has
If he has episodes of any symptoms, take as many videos as you can so the vet can see his history. They will help And even if you feel silly because the videos are short or seem like "normal doggy" behavior, the chronological videos may eventually lead you to a diagnosis. Sometimes it takes a while for the puzzle pieces to be put together. The videos are the biggest piece. All of that said, I want nothing more than to be 100% wrong. I am sending you all the love in the world and hope Max is A-OK Again, I'm sorry if I'm making you worry or being too forward. I'm not a doctor and I don't know everything, only my own experience. But I feel it's important to let people know the early signs. Our Shiloh had pain from the day we got her at 10 weeks. So it can happen early. High fives to you for being so proactive! You are a great mom!