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Thread: My 2 yr old Cav is showing signs of Syringomyelia. What should I do?

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    Default My 2 yr old Cav is showing signs of Syringomyelia. What should I do?

    Charlie is almost 2 years old. Recently he's been having head twitches, rubbing his face on the carpet, showing pain around his shoulders and hind legs, moving around in his bed like he can't get comfortable, hiding under beds and tables, scratching neck, laying on cold floors, scratching at pillows and blankets, and then all of a sudden last night he started screaming and yelping like he was in complete agony out of nowhere! There was no indication of where the pain could be coming from. We rushed him to the Emergency Vet Hospital at 2:30am and the vet basically told us that she believes he may have hurt himself while jumping off the bed or going down the steps. She gave him an injection for the pain and sent us home with Tramadol/Hydrochloride 50mgs. Said to give him 1/2 tablet ever 8-12 hours for pain control. I don't think it's his back that hurts bc he plays, runs, jumps, and whips his toys back and forth without showing ANY signs of pain.


    Please help me! I'm desperate for any information I can get regarding the next steps I should take. I want to schedule an MRI immediately. Right now we are temporarily living in Las Vegas. Are there any recommendations of certain doctors I should see, or hospitals I should go to? Charlie is like a child to me and I just want to get him the best help I can. I've read that early detection is best, so I really want to get him an MRI ASAP. Any other recommendations is to what I should do next?? Please help me! Any bit of advice is greatly appreciated.


    Worried sick,
    Ashley

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    Firstly you need to cut and paste this post, go into forums, scroll down and move it into the SM and MVD cavalier section. That will make sure that it is read by people with knowledge of SM.

    It does sound as if you need to get your little dog seen by a neurologist with experience of treating SM as soon as possible. You will find some information on Rod Russell's www.cavalierhealth.org . Rod is a member here, you could also send him a private message. There are a lot of American owners with SM affected dogs here. They should be able to help you.
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
    Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
    Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi

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    Sounds exactly like Bentley. He's had the MRI; the shrynx (sp?) is minimal but he does have PSOM. He's now on Gabapentin and periodically has to take a round of Prednisone but otherwise fairly normal. He does a lot of lying on the cold tile kitchen floor, as well as head rubbing. Thankfully, the yelping has stopped with the meds.

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    Hi Margaret, I keep trying to post under that section but it says that it needs to be approved by moderator. How long does it usually take to show up?

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    I hate to say it but your instincts are so right - Charlie does need to be seen by a neurologist. Screaming fits don't come out of nowhere. If he had hurt his back, he would probably not be wanting to move at all. That's how Oliver always was when his discs were bothering him. I had to pick him up to move him or take him outside to potty. I would look at Rod's list for neurologists in the Las Vegas area who have knowledge of SM and see if they need a referral from a vet. Some do, some don't. Do you have insurance? Probably too late for that now anyway since he was at the emergency vet for this problem already.

    Everything you're describing sounds like CM/SM. I would be proactive and make some calls today to see if you can get Charlie some relief. A good neurologist can diagnose just through an exam and listening to his symptoms. Sometimes they will start the dog on medication before they do an MRI. The relief of pain from gabapentin is somewhat diagnostic for SM. One of mine has SM and had surgery,another was just diagnosed through an exam (no MRI -he's almost 7) and just started on gabapentin and Prilosec and is more comfortable. He still yelps occasionally but not as much, and his scratching and face rubbing have decreased dramatically. Good luck. Let us know how you get on. We want Charlie to feel better.
    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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    You've had some good replies -- I agree with others, that your instincts in this case are almost certainly right and the next step should be to see a neurologist, s an urgent manner. www.cavalerhealth.org has a listing of them that notes those with some known experience of SM.

    I am moving this active discussion to the SM forum and will delete the duplicate posts -- apologies that I didn't see this sooner, and OK your initial posts.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Hi everyone, thank you so much for your responses. I scheduled an MRI tomorrow with a surgeon, and then I'm sending it to a neurologist in Phoenix Arizona to get read. It is very hard to not only find a canine neurologist but especially hard to find one that has a lot of experience/knowledge regarding SM/CM. Luckily, I can just mail the images to the specialist in Arizona. Charlie has Trupanion insurance, thank god.


    I wanted to ask advice on how often cavaliers have these "pain session", (when they start yelping constantly out of nowhere) and then what the best way to help alleviate the pain. The doctor who initially suggested it was "benign back pain" sent us home with Tramadol. Is this something I should be giving him everyday, or only when he shows signs of pain?


    Also, he's not showing any signs of pain or irritation when I touch/apply pressure around his neck and shoulders. But he is scratching his neck and left belly a lot. Is typical for some cavs with SM to not show any irritation when touched around neck and shoulders?

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    So sorry to hear of your concerns for Charlie, Ashley, it is heartbreaking to see our beloved dogs suffering in this way. It is very sensible to have an MRI and consult, the neuro will advise on a program of medication. He will probably need to be on meds permanently, usually Gabapentin to start with, and it's advisable to have a plan in place for emergency pain episodes eg the tramadol.

    It's hard to say what will happen as every dog is different. Hopefully once the pain is better managed, the symptoms will reduce.

    These websites may help with information, also have a read of some of the stories in this forum.

    http://www.cavaliermatters.org/
    http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/
    http://cavalierhealth.org/syringomyelia.htm
    http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/
    Nicki and the Cavalier Clan Our photos www.scotlandimagery.com
    Supporting www.rupertsfund.com and www.cavaliermatters.org

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    Concerning the tenderness/pain around the neck, Bentley has never had a problem with being touched in the head/neck area; in fact, he loves it, almost like getting a massage. I re-read your initial post and remembered that Bentley also had a few episodes of hiding as if in fear. It was a cluster of strange events such as this that finally convinced our vet that my fears had been on track.

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    I do so agree with what Nicki has said. Every affected dog is different, as is their degree of being affected, their reactions to pain and the medications which suit them.

    Assuming that Charlie's MRI scan is positive for syrinx(s) and/or herniation the neuro. will probably start him on about 300 mgs of Gabapentin daily to start with, adding or withdrawing a complex range of medications as and when appropriate. There is no average dog in this equation or such a thing as average range of medications. A little tweaking on both sides and a lot of trial and error should relieve Charlie's symptoms before very long.

    This all sounds like the end of the world, but trust me on this when I say there is so much that can be done to relieve symptoms and of course pain. My boy was diagnosed at 6 years and is now 11 1/2 years old. As with most of the golden oldies he keeps me on my toes in providing tlc at his choice of hotel to live in. He can still wither the younger dogs with a look and often does so. He treats me with the contempt he thinks I deserve as his personal servant. All this and an enormous syrinx, CM and curvature of the spine.
    Warmest wishes
    Flo & the ByFloSin Cavaliers
    Rebel, Winston Alexander,Little Joe & Holly Poppet
    Birmingham, UK

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