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Episodes of circling in distress


New member
Hi I’m new here so please forgive any faux pas like maybe posting in the wrong thread
My six year old tri girl Sadie has had numerous problems starting with both knees fully luxated
Got the surgery a few months ago on her worse side and for a while it seems she had a new lease on life- however, in the past couple weeks she showed signs of possible injury (we thought she jumped on moms couch wrong a couple times - at home I have doggy steps). Vets think her neck is very sore along with her legs. Been giving her the 3 prescriptions 2 and 3 times daily depending on med, and on schedule. However, every single morning she goes into this pacing / circling / moving nonstop but extremely slowly haunched with neck down for at least one hour. It’s been as long as almost 3 hours. And most days it returns for a slightly shorter duration in afternoon or early evening. She pants while doing this and almost seems to be in a trance! She circles to me repeatedly where I gently stroke her and speak lovingly. I’ve already taken her to 3 different vets and no real answers just pain management. Can anyone help???????
Hi and welcome, apologies for the delay in approving your post and am so sorry you are going through this worrying situation. I suspect your cavalier possibly is showing signs of syringomyelia. Ask for a referral to a neurologist, ideally... there's very good information that's easy to understand on www.cavaliermatters.org (check the menu up at the top to find relevant sections). Also refer your vet to leading expert Dr Clare Rusbridge's website which has a plethora of information for specialists, vets and pet owners including a treatment algorithm. Either way though I think this sounds like a specialist issue and to me, it sounds neurological not orthopedic. I've owned many cavaliers with SM and generally it can be managed with medications -- you might trial gabapentin from your vet and see if that helps, often the response is almost immediate. While a neurologist will generally want to do an MRI, this can be costly and the condition is actually so common that many neurologists simply choose to trial gabapentin to see if there's a response. Personally I feel that an MRI isn't necessary unless an owner wishes to consider surgery or really wants detail of what is going. If you have insurance then of course an MRI is an easier choice). Now sure where you are based but www.cavalierhealth.org has a section of qualified vet neurologists familiar with CM/SM in cavaliers.

NB: a neurologist may feel there are other possible causes for the circling and may want to do a scan on that basis of uncertainty. Please let us know what you hear back. There's also much info on SM and posts from people with affected cavaliers in the SM section of this board, though links may be outdated now. (I'm slowly working on bringing things up to date)