The Chihuahua Club of America Health Related Issues Committee has issued the following Health Alert:
Syringomyelia (SM) has been discovered in show lines in the US as of 2006. Eng. AM CH. Deerus Flashmoon at Ballybroke tested positive for SM.
Registered Name: Eng. AM CH. Deerus Flashmoon
Breed: Chihuahua Long Coat
AKC: TR 50640901
Date of Birth: November 11, 2002
Breeder: Denise Russell
Sire: Crosshouse Marico For Ballybroke
Dam: Birchams Phoebemoon At Deeruss
Owner: Graham Foote
SM is a serious health condition which has been found in toy breeds. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Brussels Griffons, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, all have dogs affected with SM. It is possible for SM affected dogs to pass this serious condition to their offspring. The only accurate way to diagnose SM is with an MRI. If you have the above mentioned dog in your pedigree or if your dog exhibits symptoms of SM, please visit your veterinarian and see if he/she suggests an MRI to determine if your dog has SM.
The Chihuahua Club of America Chihuahua Health Related Issues Committee has contacted several vets in different parts of the US that are willing to work with our club in giving reduced cost MRI's.
Fort Wayne, Indiana $495.00 +required $75.00 blood work fee Advanced Animal Imaging offers Cavalier breeders a $495.00 mini-scan MRI per dog, which includes a consultation, reading of the scan, and anesthesia. Pre-screening bloodwork is required prior to anesthesia and is available for $75.00 at the Indian Creek Veterinary Hospital in the same building. The clinic follows Dr. Rusbridge's SM MRI screening protocol. Contact the clinic at telephone 260-434-1555 to make appointments. Advanced Animal Imaging is located at 5902 Homestead Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46814
What is Syringomyelia?
The following is taken from the website cavalierhealth.org
Syringomyelia (SM) is an extremely serious condition in which fluid-filled cavities develop within the spinal cord near the brain. It is also known as "neck scratcher's disease", because one of its common signs is scratching in the air near the neck.
The back half of the cavalier King Charles spaniel's skull typically may be too small to accommodate all of the brain's cerebellum, which may also be too large, and so it squeezes through the foramen magnum – the hole at the back of the skull – partially blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) down the spinal cord. The variable pressure created by the abnormal flow of CSF is believed to create the SM cavities – called syrinx – in the spinal cord.
SM is rare in most breeds but has become very widespread in cavalier King Charles spaniels. The number of diagnosed cases in cavaliers has increased dramatically since 2000. Researchers estimate that up to 95% of CKCSs have Chiari-like malformation (CM or CLM) – also known as caudal occipital malformation syndrome (COMS) or occipital hypoplasia (OH), the skull bone malformation present in all cases and believed to be at least part of the cause of syringomyelia – and that more than 50% of cavaliers have SM. The severity and extent of syringomyelia also appear to get worse in each succeeding generation of cavaliers. It is worldwide in scope and not limited to any country, breeding line, or kennel, and experts report that it is believed to be inherited in the cavalier.
SM seldom can be detected in young puppies, as symptoms of it usually are not evident before the age of six months or years later.
Pain is the most important clinical sign of the disorder. Symptoms may vary widely among different dogs, but the earliest sign often is that the dog feels a hypersensitivity in its neck area, causing an uncontrollable urge to scratch at its neck and shoulders. Then usually follows severe pain around its head, neck, and shoulders, causing it yelp or scream. As the disease progresses, it destroys portions of the cavalier's spinal cord, and is so painful that the affected dog may contort its neck and even sleep and eat only with its head held high. The dog's legs may become progressively weaker, so that walking becomes increasingly difficult. Some dogs deteriorate to the point of paralysis.
The only accurate way of diagnosing the disease is through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning, an extremely costly procedure. The MRI allows the veterinary neurologist to study the spine for the presence of any abnormality which might obstruct the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. Accurate MRI results require that the dog be anesthetized. Clinic charges for MRI examinations of canines have been known to vary from a rare discounted rate of $900.00 to over $2,000.00.*
*See clinic prices above.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 04:37