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Could this be SM?


New member
Hi there
My dog has been yelling as though in severe pain on and off for a month or two. The yelping lasts a few seconds and he often flips around to his back legs.The vet couldn't find anything, has blood taken and urine sample. The other day he couldn't get up for 30min and his back legs were shaking. Again we took him to the vet and they are thinking maybe epilepsy but not sure. Again today he seemed to be having trouble moving and I called him and he got up but yelped loudly. He does rub his face on carpet and along chairs but not excessively. He also collapsed briefly, only a few sec, on a recent walk. Would anyone know what I can do next. Thank you in advance.
Hi Chloe8:

Welcome to the forum; I am sorry that you are having these worries. I don't think this would be epilepsy -- as you rightly guess the yelping indicates pain and if your vet has been unable to find any cause (disk disease, luxating patella), your next step should be to ask for a referral to a vet neurologist. I am not sure where exactly you are based but would appear Australia, in which case if you google vet neurologists in Australia, there are quite a few. You could contact a Brussels Griffon breeder named Lee Pieterse as she is very knowledgeable about SM and supportive of research and could possibly recommend someone to see. Some neurologists there for example have worked on research with cavalier breeders.

For more info on SM, there's general info on www.smcavaliers.com and www.cavaliermatters.org; there's detailed info and lists of neurologists at www.cavalierhealth.org and great info for owners and vets including a treatment algorithm in the SM section of researcher/vet neurologist Dr Clare Rusbridge, here: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/.

If you can get some video on your phone when he is having difficulty that can be very helpful for a neurologist.

If money is really tight you can ask for a clinical exam and to trial the meds on Dr Rusbridge's treatment algorithm, which often are a good diagnostic tool. MRIs are expensive and TBH I don't think always necessary for a symptomatic dog that responds to meds, unless the owner is considering surgery as a treatment option.

There is a cavalier-only condition called episodic falling syndrome but your description doesn't really match EFS.

Hope that helps.
Thank you for your reply. We are in Australia. I will ask about a referral to a neurologist as I really don't think it's epilepsy. I am not a vet of course but you do get to know your dog. Thanks again.
Yes with epilepsy you'd see fitting but probably not these occasional yelps and signs of pain. Let us know what you hear back and do next and please ask any other questions you'd like to. Many of us here have cavaliers with SM (almost all of mine have had it to some degree) and are experienced with managing different types of symptoms.