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Thread: 6 yr-old Cav with intermittent limping in front leg(s).

  1. #1
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    Default 6 yr-old Cav with intermittent limping in front leg(s).

    Hi all, it's been awhile since I've posted... and I just wanted to make this post because reading others posts about similar experiences has helped me.

    So, my Jelly Bean, now 6 years old is showing what I think to be the first signs of SM. Over the last month he has been limping on his front legs, (one day it seems that it's the right leg, the next it will look more like the left leg). After taking him to the vet last month, and the vet suggesting that it was just something irritating his paw, Jelly seemed to stop limping, and I would regularly check to make sure nothing got caught in his "mitten paws". Unfortunately, now the limping is back and it seems more severe. He mostly limps after getting up from laying down, and he'll limp anywhere from a minute to 10 minutes and then he'll seem normal, (run around in the yard, dance around for treats...). He has always jumped up and down off the couch, and he still continues to do so, seemingly without much pain. Today, I did something that was sort of heart breaking for me, but I felt it would better help me to make sure nothing was caught in his toes... I cut off all the hair around his paws, and trimmed up underneath the paws real good. I can't see any swelling, and although he's always been sensitive with his feet I didn't notice anything unusual when touching his paws.

    Other than the weird front leg lameness, Jelly Bean doesn't appear to show other too many other signs of SM. He is in general restless, but we have been going through a hot spell lately and he always gets like that in the heat.

    I do have another vet appt scheduled tomorrow afternoon, but I'd like some advice on how to get the ball rolling to get a quick diagnosis such that I can get Bean the meds he needs to help stop the pain. I'm thinking the vet will likely start to suspect arthritis, which it could very well be, although I'm sure a lot of you understand the jump I made to SM. Also, if any of you have some helpful literature (I've found a basic description of SM, with key symptoms including the leg weakness) I can give to vet that can help him to better/quicker diagnose this issue that would be wonderful. Thanks, and I'll do my best to keep everything updated so that anyone else experiencing similar issues will be able to follow a slightly easier path.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Jelly Bean- 6yr Blenheim male
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  2. #2
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    www.cavalierhealth.org provides excellent information about all aspects of Cavalier health, well worth a visit.

    Lameness in his right front paw was one of Oliver's early symptoms of CM/SM - he stumbled up kerb stones. Gabapentin stopped it, but oddly enough it reappeared (along with one or two other early symptoms) in the last months of his life, before he was put to sleep for other reasons aged 13 - just to remind us that CM/SM is a progressive disease! Arthritis could be diagnosed by an x-ray; the most reliable diagnosis for CM/SM is of course an MRI scan. However, it can often be enlightening simply to start a mild dose of gabapentin. Gabapentin only acts on neurological pain, so would make no difference to arthritis, but should target a CM/SM limp. You might then want to have Jelly Bean scanned, or simply treat any obvious CM/SM symptoms as they occur. I've just had evidence that trying gabapentin can work, with my rescue Ruby - she has always squinted a lot, and over the last few weeks has hardly fully opened her eyes and was clearly in some pain. About 10 days ago I started (with our vet's approval) giving her 100mg of gabapentin three times a day (the minimum dose) and suddenly today it kicked in and her eyes are wide open and most of the squinting has gone. Gabapentin has few side effects except initial drowsiness (it zonked Ruby out for an hour after every dose! But she seems to be through that stage now), so it might be worth talking to your vet about trying it on Jelly Bean.

    I'm sorry if I've missed the time for your next vet appointment - we only got back from a camping holiday on Tuesday and I'm still catching up on thinngs!

    Kate and Ruby

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  4. #3
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    Slight update- not sure that this means too much... but the vet took x-rays and nothing appeared broken. During the exam the vet tested the movement range of both of his front legs and found that it was only his front right that appeared sensitive to movement/touch. There might be a touch of arthritis as seen in the x-rays, but it wasn't extensive/obvious. JB was prescribed Rimadyl, a basic anti-inflammatory. With the limited time that has passed ~16 hrs he seems more relaxed, still a bit limpy, particularly after he gets up from laying down. I'm to wait a few more days and if there isn't any more improvement, I have a referral for an orthopedic vet. I still am concerned that this issue could be more neurological, but the vet also tested Jelly for neck sensitivity and he didn't react to any of it. Of course this doesn't necessarily mean anything, but I do have hope that maybe this leg issue is actually just an injury.

    Unfortunately, we got some other bad news. The vet detected a heart murmur, Grade 3, localized to only one side (I can't remember which side he said, but I think this makes sense for MVD). As JB is 6 now, I don't think this is unusual. We've seen the vet recently and it hasn't been detected previously. I'm scheduled to see a Cardiologist in the morning, so I'll know more about this then.

    The best thing I can say is JB seemed more like himself yesterday after taking the Rimadyl, more cuddly and less restless. He seemed to sleep more soundly, as I don't recall him wandering about the bed as much.

    Will keep everything updated.
    If the Rimadyl seems to not really have an effect over the next couple of days I'll contact the vet again and see if he'd be willing to try a Gabapentin for a bit to see if we could narrow it down to a neurological issue prior to going to the orthopedic vet.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Jelly Bean- 6yr Blenheim male
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  5. #4
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    I hope JB improves.....its heart breaking when they're not well.
    Let us know what your cardiologist says...

    Best wishes
    Mel x
    Mel
    Mumma to Leonardo (Leo to his friends)
    Waiting at the bridge


  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by meljoy View Post
    I hope JB improves.....its heart breaking when they're not well.
    Let us know what your cardiologist says...

    Best wishes
    Mel x
    What is the latest findings?
    Last edited by janetfdoss; 15th November 2016 at 02:15 PM.

  7. #6
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    Well after the visit to the cardiologist, the Grade 3 heart murmur was confirmed. It's at Stage B2, which was a bit alarming to the vet, as I had seen my normal vet 2 other times this year and the heart murmur wasn't detected. So for it to have progressed this far this quickly was concerning. His heart is only slightly enlarged on the left side, however the backflow through the mitral valve was more significant than it sounded. In any case, I'm obviously concerned, but based upon my readings I'm aware that things progress for each dog individually, and there is no way to know for sure when it will progress to CHF. I taught myself how to monitor his breathing, and so far we are 20 or less breaths per minute, so at least there doesn't seem to be too much leakage to the lungs yet.

    On a positive note, his limping has almost gone away completely. Only time it came back was when he got restless and I took him for a little walk. After a bit more lazing around on the long weekend, he's back to walking better.

    Anyway, I definitely appreciate your advice and concern. These dogs aren't pets to us they are family, and it sucks to know they are suffering.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Jelly Bean- 6yr Blenheim male
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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