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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29743
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My dog is not doing well. He is scratching his face

Customer Question

Hello. My dog is not doing well. He is scratching his face and ear (already been treated for possible ear infection), rubbing his head against furniture and the floor a lot, is limping in the front left leg (was prescribed medication for inflammation and this is not helping), is starting to sometimes have trouble standing and walking, and will not sleep without his head propped up. He also seems to be in pain and usually walks with his head down.
My dog is a 9 year old cavalier King Charles spaniel. He has had some of these problems on and off for years. It now has gotten worse.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
The symptoms you've reported are worrisome for a Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia in the CKCS. These symptoms will worsen over the years. In essence, I would expect to find instability where Rodney's spine attachés to his head and the spinal cord itself is likely to be diseased and contain cysts (syringomyelia). These disorders are difficult to confirm without MRI and so confirmation would entail having Rodney see a specialist veterinary neurologist who is best equipped to perform such advanced imaging. Therapy would be predicated upon the findings in the MRI.
The prognosis for these dogs is necessarily guarded to poor because antiinflammatory medications tend to be less and less effective as time passes. Surgical intervention may be of value but understandably circumspect if only because of the invasive nature of such surgery as well as the significant cost involved.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.