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Thread: Possible SM - opinions please.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    North London
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    Default Possible SM - opinions please.

    So Ziggy is an 8 year old blenheim with a heart murmour grade 3. He's only been with me for 1 year and prior to that he was with my Mum for 2 years. He's been acting a little funny recently and the SM symptom videos I've seen seem very familiar. Here's my recordings of how he was a month ago:

    Since then, I've seen a noticeable deterioration. Most walks he does the air scratch c shape thing and sometimes in the evenings he seems really uncomfortable, accompanied by a binge of face rubbing and scratching the air.

    My questions are:

    - How confident would you be that a dog has CM if it displays all of these / the usual symptoms.
    - Can a dog with a grade 3 murmour have an MRI (I don't think he can be put under general anaesthetic with his heart).
    - Can you get an insurance worthy diagnosis without an MRI?
    - How much do the drugs cost per month?

    Hope you guys can help. I don't mind if he acts a little odd in his later years, but I definitely don't want him being in any sort of pain.
    Last edited by Butters; 31st July 2014 at 10:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Coventry UK
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    Ziggy's symptoms certainly sound worth investigating. If he has no symptoms of his heart murmur, a grade 3 shouldn't prevent him having a general anaesthetic., as long as there are no other complicating conditions. If you prefer not to MRI, putting a dog onto gabapentin can often indicate the presence of CM/SM. This is because gabapentin specifically targets neurological pain; it won't do anything for other pain, like arthritis for example. So if it improves the symptoms, this is a very good indicator of CM/SM. It would be well worth getting a referral from your vet to a neurologist who is experienced with CM/SM - they will often be able to diagnose CM/SM from examining the dog. It also means that you have an expert and a date to present to your insurers, and a specialist at the end of the phone for advice.

    Hope that helps,

    Kate, Oliver and Aled (who both have CM/SM)

    Fortunately, the basic drugs for CM/SM are not expensive: the usual starting level is gabapentin 100mg 2 or 3 times a day, and a diuretic such as cimetidine (Zitac). Neither of these are very expensive, especially if you ask your vet for prescriptions for them and buy gabapentin from local pharmacies or online and Zitac online. You can claim on your insurance for the prescriptions. I get 2 months supply of gabapentin from a local pharmacy for around 14; my insurers treat CM/SM as a chronic condition and only take off the excess once a year. I send in a claim every 2 or 3 months when the drug costs mount up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Chicago area
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    My 7 year old is being treated with Gabapentin and Omeprazole for presumed CM/SM based on a neurological exam only, no MRI. I trust the neurologist completely as he did SM surgery on one of my other dogs 6 years ago and she will turn 12 in two weeks and is doing really well!! The scratching, face rubbing and yelping that were Oz's main symptoms have decreased dramatically since starting on gabapentin - they haven't gone away totally, but he's much more comfortable. I would try to get Ziggy in for a comprehensive neuro exam preferably with someone who is familiar with CM/SM in cavaliers and might be willing to make the diagnosis without an MRI if that's what you prefer. I'm sure someone who lives near you could give you a good referral. I'm sorry you have this worry on top of his heart symptoms. Unfortunately they often go hand in hand in this breed.
    Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)
    In loving memory: Oliver (blenheim) 2001-2015; Riley (black & tan) 2002-2017


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