17th December 2013, 08:59 PM
No symptoms, but family history?
I have two little blenheims, brother and sister, who are both healthy and happy at nine months old. When we bought them we saw health checks/certificates for mum and dad that covered MVD, DC/CC, EF etc, but the sire had not had an MRI. We could see his mother's MRI scan and she was a 0a, so we hedged ( ).
Unfortunately, we've now seen his scan result which was CM2/SM2. As far as I understand this means he has SM although we have no idea if he is symptomatic.
What I'm completely unsure of is what this might mean for our pups. They don't seem to be showing any symptoms that we can see - they don't show any sign of pain or discomfort when we rub their necks, they have yelped unexpectedly a few times but normally there's a guilty looking cat near by, if anything the only thing we've noticed is that they occasionally itch, the boy at his ears, the girl likes to lean around and nibble her thigh sometimes. It's not frequent, they might scratch once or twice a day and never for long.
As far as I'm aware there would be little point in taking them for scans at this age - is this right? If it would be beneficial that's what I'll do, but I've been told that the scan results can change whilst they're growing or not be especially conclusive. I have no idea if SM is now a foregone conclusion for them or if there's a chance they could avoid it. Is there someone more knowledgeable out there who could shed some light?
18th December 2013, 09:57 AM
My Leo who is 7 has had MRI and is SM clear but he has a brother who was diagnosed with SM at a young age. Im no expert but it seems to be a lottery.....also some dogs have SM but appear symptom free. Plus it can develop at any time
Some one here will have good advice for you Im sure.
If you're worried do get your pups checked out.....if you're in Cambridge UK there's the Queens Royal vet hospital that's where Leo saw a neurologist.
Momma to Leonardo (Leo to his friends)
18th December 2013, 10:21 AM
Hello and welcome to the site.
Firstly,I don't see anything suspicious about the behaviour of your puppies,certainly nothing to indicate that you need to have them checked out.
Scanning at a young age is inconclusive,if there is no syrinx at the time of scanning,that's fine,but it would need to be repeated, as SM is a progressive condition.
Your puppies' mother has had an excellent scan,judging by the addition of the letter "a" at the end of the grading,she is over 5 and has a normal central canal.
Under the informal guidelines,any over 5 cavalier who was SM free could be mated to an affected dog and this is still true under the new guidelines,although the criteria have changed slightly.
I take it,an unscanned stud dog was used at the time of mating and has subsequently tested as an SM2.The lack of a letter at the end suggests the scan was graded informally and gives no indication of the age of the dog at the time of the scan.How old was he? If he was over three,and affected with a small syrinx,showing no symptoms,then the mating was within the new guidelines and would have been ok under the old guidelines.If he was under three at the time of scan, an SM2 would imply that he should not have been bred from under new guidelines.
I doubt the dog would have been symptomatic and allowed at stud and used by someone who had gone to the trouble of scanning a bitch.
Scanning is a very blunt tool,your puppies may have inherited a resistance to SM from their dam,there's no way to know.
A scan will tell you the status of the parents but cannot predict with any great accuracy,what the status of the offspring will be,but it allows a breeder to avoid mating two affected parents,thereby increasing the chance of healthy offspring.
It's still a genetic lottery,no guarantees,but at least research indicates that an over 5 clear will increase the chances of better scanning offspring.What you could do,is have both offspring scanned,maybe at two and see how they're doing,under a low cost scheme.
In the meanwhile,try not to worry about the babies,enjoy them,have fun and hopefully,they will remain well and live a long and happy life.
Sharing my sofa with Holly, Ivy,Lilly and Hazy.. and never forgetting our beautiful Daisy who reached the bridge too soon.
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19th December 2013, 12:06 AM
Sins has explained the situation very well. I would add that the general rule seems to be that the earlier CM/SM develops, the more obvious and severe the symptoms, so the fact that your two show no real symptoms at all at their age is a good sign. There is no real point in scanning apparently asymptomatic dogs before they are about 2.5 years old, and then a mini scan will suffice to show the presence or not of the disease. Both of mine have got CM/SM but have never had more than mini scans and from then on we have simply dealt with symptoms as they have arisen. It would be different if the dog was showing serious symptoms, when a full scan might be needed to show the extent of the damage.
I said 'apparently asymptomatic dogs' because personally I don't think there is such a thing as a dog with CM/SM who truly has no symptoms. We may not recognise the symptoms that are there, because CM/SM symptoms can be subtle and cover a very wide spectrum and are very easy to miss. My Oliver was considered asymptomatic when he was diagnosed at the age of 6 - I simply took advantage of the local club's low cost scanning day because he had a family history of CM/SM and I wanted to check him out. But with hindsight, symptoms had been there for several years - we just didn't think of light phobia and being a restless sleeper as connected to CM/SM, whereas now if I had a dog squinting in the sun and moving around several times in the night trying to get comfortable, he'd be in a scanner double quick!
Aled was clear at 2, but diagnosed at 4, so unless you want to scan your two when they are 2 to satisfy your own concerns, I would say leave it for the moment, learn as much as you can about possible symptoms (without getting paranoia!) and if either of them start showing any signs that could be CM/SM, then scan them. It would be different, of course, if you wanted to breed from them, when scanning at 2.5 years is recommended. For all of us, the possibility of CM/SM is bound to lurk at the back of our minds - one of the dubious joys of being a Cavalier owner! - but don't let it spoil your enjoyment of your dogs. Oliver is now 12, and both he and Aled have their CM/SM pretty well controlled with medication and are still a joy to own and lead normal lives. We are lucky that their CM/SM is not severe, it would be even better if they didn't have it at all, but don't let worrying about it take over your life and spoil the pleasure your dogs can give you.
Kate, Oliver and Aled (who have just had a good day out on the train, delivering Christmas presents to friends in Chester!)
29th December 2013, 12:03 AM
Thank you for the replies, much appreciated and very informative! Meljoy, we are in Cambridge UK so thanks for the vet info.
Sins, there was a letter - I didn't realise I'd omitted it. He was a SM2c, was almost two when scanned.
I'll freely admit to a bit of that "paranoia" - for a while even when they were dinky puppies every yelp or itch was met with a certain degree of "oh no what if?" I suppose in part because we had decided we'd like to breed our girl when she was old enough to have a full MOT in the health department, if she was very healthy, to keep a legacy going but also in the hope of developing a good, thoroughly tested line. I've been researching CM/SM for about a year now (we got our pups in June and wanted to be well informed before they arrived) but still feel like I'm playing catch up when it comes to implications in breeding for the future.
We've been very lucky with our rescue girl, who's six with a clear heart and no obvious issues with her health aside from (potentially, our vet couldn't see any signs of pain so didn't investigate further at her most recent checkup) luxating patellas.