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Thread: Worried about my 7 month old puppy

  1. #1
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    Default Worried about my 7 month old puppy

    Sorry for repeated the thread but I realised that it is better to post here since it is more topic related.

    Hi all,


    I am a ckcs owner from Malta. My little baby is just 7 months of age and i love her to bits. My baby's name is Bliss! Bliss always had a habit of biting her hind quarters. As time went by she also started to scratch and sometimes she also yelped and turned towards her hindquarters. This yelping only lasted for a split of a second. I have watched videos of cavalier affected from syringomelia and although my bliss' symptoms are not as severe as those watched in videos it is still very similar.

    I am very worried my first vet told me she had full anal glands and he emptied them for her. The second vet said she has an allergy. He checked for lux patella and hip dysplasia and they are fine. Now I tried another vet and told me that probably she has SM deducing this from the symptoms I described.

    Please note in my country we have no MRI and we have no neurologists + the insurance is not very good. Therefore I cannot be sure if it is sm or not and surgery is not possible


    Yesterday I visited a new vet and he does not think that this condition is rare like most vets think in Malta. However he still does not have the machinery to test for it. He gave me rimadyl for when she is in pain, however her pain does not lost for more than a second so I don't know when I should give it to her.

    Is there someone who can help me out there? I am very lost !

  2. #2
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    Hi Bernice, sorry you are having concerns about Bliss and SM. It does sound like your vets are eliminating other conditions which can also present the symptoms you are describing. The only sure way to diagnose CM/SM is by MRI scan and most dogs symptoms can be managed with medication. Clearly something is irritating Bliss for her to cry out and I would certainly monitor this, in the first instance try to video the scratching episodes and gather evidence of any unusual behavior to show to your vet. With CM/SM every dog is individual, some have many symptoms and others may only present a few. It is also possible that symptoms can be present in a young pup, you said the yelping lasts for a split second but what about the scratching? I know with Kookie (he has CM) he had symptoms from 16 weeks, usually he would have episodes of pain but the scratching was excessive and he would cry out sometimes when I picked him up. Trust your instinct as you know your girl best and if you feel it necessary discuss with your vet if there are any vet neurologists who could examine Bliss and perhaps trial medication.
    Catherine & Kookie

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    I'm sorry that you're worried about Bliss (cute name). Probably the best thing to do is to download the treatment algorithm for SM and take it to your vet and work up a treatment plan for her. http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/Treatment...%20simple).pdf Gabapentin (neurontin) is the first line drug in the treatment CM/SM. Generally if you see a decrease in her scratching after starting Gabapentin, that's often diagnostic for CM/SM. I wish you the best.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

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    I would agree with Bev - if Bliss seems to be in pain, start her on gabapentin and if this reduces the pain (and it usually works very quickly), this is a pretty good indication of the presence of Chiari malformation and possibly also a syrinx. Gabapentin is a neurological pain control which doesn't work on, for example, muscular pain. It is not a pain killer, so it's no use just giving it when Bliss shows signs of pain, it needs to be given several times a day as 'blanket coverage'. The usual starting dose is 100mg twice a day, though most dogs seem to do better on three times a day. Clare Rusbridge's treatments plan that Bev mentioned will help you and your vet to plan the best medication for Bliss; even if you could have CM/SM confirmed with a scan, you are still going to just treat the symptoms, unless surgery was indicated and that is not always the right thing for every dog. It is also usual to start giving a diuretic such as cimetedine (Zitac) or omeprazole to reduce the accumulation of cerebral-spinal fluid in the brain. Many, if not most, Cavaliers with CM/SM are well controlled with medication, though as the disease is progressive the medication needs to be reviewed regularly and dosage adjusted or a different drug used. Gabapentin is a widely-used human drug (I take it myself for a completely different disease!), so it should not be too difficult to get in Malta. If you are not insured, you may find it cheaper to buy through an online pharmacy; fortunately neither gabapentin nor Zitac are very expensive.

    Best of luck,

    Kate, Oliver (aged 12 with CM/SM) and Aled (aged 6 with CM/SM)

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    Sorry I couldn't write more yesterday but my computer was acting up. I would have loved to have said all that Kate said, but she just said it all so beautifully right now. So thank you Kate for saying what I couldn't say yesterday.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  7. #6
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    Thanks for your help,

    The thing is that her yelp usually lasts for only a split of a second and there where cases when she yelped twice in a week and other cases where she did not help at all. What I noticed is that when she yelps she immediately turns to her hindquarters.

    With regards to her scratching, she usually scratches for few seconds and when I call her to come and play, she stops immediately. I took a couple of videos of her scratching. However the situation in Malta is very difficult the vets are not well informed of cm and sm and they don't know the difference between them.

    I have a query... so it is best to start on gabapetin? and can you tell me the dose for a 7 month old puppy. And if symptoms reduce it would be indicative of her having sm? so that I tell the vet about it.

  8. #7
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    If you print the treatment plan for CM/SM, I think Bev gave you the link but here it is below,

    http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/Treatment...%20simple).pdf

    It tells you how many mg Gabapentin per kg dog weight, if the symptoms improve then it can be indicative of CM/SM.
    Catherine & Kookie

  9. #8
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    It might be helpful to email Clare Rusbridge (neuro.vet@btinternet.com or neurovet@virginmedia.com - not sure which one she uses) and ask her where your nearest neurologist is - there may be one on the nearest mainland, for example, that you could email or even phone and have a chat, tell him/her about Bliss's symptoms and get some expert advice. They could then discuss treatment with your local vet.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Thanks a lot for your help.

  11. #10
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    Thanks I contacted Dr. Rusbridge however I haven't heard anything from her, maybe it is the Christmas period. Lately she did not yelp, however she did 3 very short air-scratches during the last 4 days which is worrying me a lot! On the whole she never seemed to be in pain.

    However since in Malta we do not have a neurologists i feel really lost!

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