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Thread: Worried my puppy has SM

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  1. #1
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    Default Worried my puppy has SM

    I pm'd Rory on the Cavalier Connection board last night about my fears my 9 month old puppy may have SM. I received a ton of good information from her and decided to seek out other opinions as well.

    He scratches frequently at his head and neck, particularly on the left side. He does it whether he's wearing a collar or harness. He also scratches his belly, right where the harness straps are. Though he scratches often he’s never yelped and I’ve never noticed him scratching while I’m walking him on a leash. For the last several months I've also noticed his front legs tremble when he sits down on his bottom. Not a huge motion but I equate it to if he were trying to balance on only one leg. We had his patellas checked and he has no problem with them. Lately he's been chasing his tail a lot and sometimes chews on his ears. I haven’t noticed him biting or licking his paws.

    I've read a lot about the disease and don't know if I'm overreacting. We saw a cardiologist this weekend at a health clinic and he recommended we see a neurologist (especially since I said his legs tremble). We have an appointment with him in two weeks for an initial consultation. The cardiologist said the neurologist has several Cavaliers in his practice, which reassures me.

    Thank you all for your help.

    Whitney

  2. #2
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    Hi Whitney,
    You're in the right spot in terms of getting all the info and research you can. Don't ever feel you're over-reacting. This breed needs a diligent, proactive owner. I too have concerns about my dog, who we are having MRId next month, so yes, I know what you mean when you describe how some symtoms are there, not all of the time, so it does make you feel like you're over reacting or being paranoid. The symptoms are sometimes so random, especially when you start talking to others. Not all SM dogs scratch, but I know what you're talking about with the leg tremors because I've seen this in Abbey too and her knees have even been xrayed and are totally normal.
    You're doing the right thing by moving forward with testing, then you'll have answers and will be able to make a decision on how to get Spencer the help he needs.
    Feel free to contact me whenever you need to, support is a huge piece to this disease.
    Jen, Abbey (Tri Cavalier) & Gus (White Min. Schnauzer)

  3. #3
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    I'm glad I was able to help answer some of your questions. I think at this point the next step is w/ the neurologist (although ruling out an ear infection first would be good!) to see what the neurologist says.

    I will be thinking of you and Spencer and Rory sends lots of sloppy puppy kisses!!
    Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
    --Roger Caras

  4. #4
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    Whitney how did Spencer's appt go? How's he doing?
    Jen, Abbey (Tri Cavalier) & Gus (White Min. Schnauzer)

  5. #5
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    Hi Jen,

    I had to postpone until right after Thanksgiving as I have been traveling for work. Has Abbey had her MRI yet?

    Take care,

    Whitney

  6. #6
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    Hi Whitney,
    Abbey will be MRId mid-month, we're anxious to find out what's going on.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.
    Jen, Abbey (Tri Cavalier) & Gus (White Min. Schnauzer)

  7. #7
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    I'll be thinking about you both. It can be hard waiting for the day to come but I do think it helps enormously to know what if anything, you are dealing with, rather than live in uncertainty. A new range of choices and issues then arise if you get a positive diagnosis but I think it is valuable (and so important) to be able to take steps in the awareness of what the dog is experiencing.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  8. #8
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    Jen, has Abbey had her MRI yet? I agree with Karlin, the uncertainty is much worse than actually knowing if they have SM or not.

    We've learned to live with it and make allowances for Maxx etc, whereas before we used to get upset when he was scratching as we felt so helpless. Now we have got Frusemide that he has daily and Norocarp (Generic Rimadyl) for when he has pain episodes. He seems more than comfortable and still runs around like a puppy some days

  9. #9
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    My little Lily born August 21st does all of the things you guys are talking about. I just noticed the leg tremor. It is when she has her weight shifted to one side while sitting, the other leg trembles a little. Or it could be that she is shifting her weight because the other leg is painful. She is constantly chasing her tail, and chewing the tip when she catches it. She scratches her neck, ears, top of head, also her side. She is biting at her paws and front legs as well. I would not have thought anything about all of this had I not read about SM. I would think it was just puppy behavior. I mentioned SM to my Vets this week and they did not know much about it, sorry to say. I mentioned the scratching and my Vet didn't seem too concerned. I was told on the site that it normally does not show up in a puppy as young as Lily, and I don't know if I am being paranoid. I also notice her hind legs are very clumsy sometimes when she is walking, but again she's just a puppy. My husband tells me I am crazy and there is nothing wrong with her, but I just have a bad feeling. Please let me know about your MRI results.
    Sharon,
    Mom to Bleinham Cavaliers Lily, 5 years old, and Alfie, 8 year old puppy mill rescue.
    At the Bridge, Chloe, Lhasa Apso.

  10. #10
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    I have to admit Amber does many of these things- though I haven't noticed trembling, scratching isn't excessive, and most importantly, there's no unjustified yelping. Does Lily stop chewing/licking her paws if you give her something else to chew? I find Amber wants to chew anything and everything, and if she hasn't got anything else, she'll chew her own body- but she stops as soon as I produce something else and she is definitely teething- she's lost at least one tooth so far.
    Holly - 7years
    Amber- 3 years

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