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Thread: My 2 1/2 Hunter may have SM

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    Default My 2 1/2 Hunter may have SM

    My Cav Hunter is 2 1/2 and has all the symptoms of SM. We just brought him to the vet last week and blood was negative so off to the neurologist tomorrow. He fly catchers constantly, scratches, shakes his head, digs at the carpet, lies on the tile floor. We are so upset that this is happening; he is on medication for seizures and anxiety. What medication will help and will he live a normal life on medication? He doesn't want to play anymore and it is the saddest thing.

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    I am really sorry to here this about Hunter -- it sounds like you are right to have him checked by a neuro. I suppose one positive element that may come from seeing a neurologist is that perhaps proper meds for SM, if he has it, will take care of what was interpreted as anxiety and seizures? Meds can work well for some dogs and not so well for others and it is very hard to make any predictions for individuals. Surgery seems to have a somewhat better result over time according to one small comparison study, but meds are a legitimate choice as well. It is a very personal choice that depends on many factors. I have a 10year old that was diagnosed at just over 1, still doing fine on meds (though they have needed regular adjusting and increased in strength over time).

    Have you read Clare Rusbridge's information on her website?

    http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/Syringomyelia/

    Many of us here have affected dogs and so feel free to ask all the questions you wish. Three of my five have had SM.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    I'm sorry about Hunter. Getting him to a neurologist is the best thing you can do for him right now. I don't have any first hand experience with SM, but I hope your neurologist can help Hunter get more comfortable. Please let us know the outcome of your appointment. You will get lots of information and support here.
    Joyce - Proudly owned & loved by

    BellaMia (Aug. 30, 2012) My Beautiful Ruby Milo (Jan. 20, 2014) My Handsome Tri
    Sydney (
    April 16, 2000~April 4, 2012) Always and Forever In My Heart

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    Thanks for all your advice; hopefully he gets the meds he needs.

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    I'm sorry you are having this worry, but seeing a neurologist is definitely the right thing to do (though check out that he/she is knowlegeable about CM/SM - some neurologists have other specialisms!). Both my Cavaliers have CM/SM but do pretty well on medication. Oliver is 12 and probably had SM for a number of years before he was diagnosed at age 6. Anyone seeing him would just say he is an older dog, not that he has a serious neurological disease. The same is true of Aled, who is 6 and was diagnosed 2 years ago - he is doing well on the basic medication of gabapentin and cimetadine, though he has another condition which causes him problems. Both of them love their food, their walks, meeting people - in other words, they continue to live normal Cavalier lives!

    It can take several months to get the medication right for a particular dog, and as CM/SM is a progressive disease the drugs will need tweaking from time to time, but generally dogs can lead pretty normal lives. Let us know how you and Hunter get on.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Our rescue Charlie was diagnosed while at his foster Moms. She took him to a neurologist, but didn't have an MRI, which is necessary for a true diagnosis. Charlie is also on gabapentin. It doesn't take away the symptoms but controls them. He doesn't allow the symptoms to bother him. He just goes about his happy little life. It sounds like Hunter may have something more going on.

    Keep us informed.

    Tom A

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    Ok so the neurologist said my dog has anxiety and most likely has SM, he put him on Prozac. He doesn't come out of his crate, won't go on a walk, we have no idea what is going on. He was such a happy puppy.

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    Is Hunter on other meds besides Prozac? If he probably has SM, he should be on a neurological pain control (normally gabapentin) and a cerebral-spinal fluid inhibitor (usually cimetadine or omeprozal). If gabapentin makes an obvious difference, this in itself can be an indication of CM/SM, as it only works on neurological pain, not other sorts of pain. Reluctance to leave his crate and walk may be signs of anxiety but they are also signs of pain, which needs to be brought under control as soon as possible. Though SM seems likely, Cavaliers are also prone to disk problems, which can also be very painful - this might be worth checking out. My Oliver is not one to hide away, but he has always carefully avoided playing with other dogs, which almost certainly means he was worried about feeling pain if he got bowled over or jumped on. You may well find that if you get Hunter's pain under control his anxiety will go, as it's the pain he's worried about. Speaking as a layperson, Prozac seems to me like putting a sticking plaster on a cut and ignoring the underlying infection that is preventing the cut healing. Find out what is making Hunter anxious and deal with that, and pain seems the obvious candidate.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Well, I am no expert and I have zero experience with SM but I agree with Kate completely on this one. Three weeks ago I fell and ended up in the ER were I was diagnosed with a sprang wrist, 3 small fractures in the big bone at the top of my arm near my shoulder, a some muscle damage to my shoulder itself. Needless to say it was PAINFUL and still hurts. I take a regular anti-depressant daily and I have a "rescue" med (Xanax) for panic attacks. Normally, just the daily anti-depressant works great and I rarely take the Xanax- I get what I call "freak out moments" panic attacks for seemingly NO reason like out of NO where. Since all this shoulder pain even on pain meds I have found I'm having more of them and taking more Xanax. I think its normal to be "on edge" dealing with pain. On a side note, I do not like taking the pain meds. I hate the "out of it" feeling so I take over-the-counter pain relievers which are much less effective during the day. I firmly believe the increased anxiety is pain related.

    I hope this info puts some perspective on Hunters problems. I go see my ortho next week for a full MRI, I really would like to start physical therapy as soon as possible even if the fractures are not completely healed because I am worried the "pulled" muscles are in fact torn or something and resting than is NOT a good idea and can cause more problems. Either way its short term and nothing compared to a progressive painful condition like SM.
    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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