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Cavalier screaming in pain.

Species: Dog
Breed: Japanese chin
Age: 6-12 months
Hi there, since last Thursday my puppy having very strange moment and I went to my local vet twice already and got full body exam and the blood testing, but everything is clean and the vets do not know what's wrong with her.

So here we go.

My puppy screams while she is in sleep or just started waking up...

She seems like in sharpe pain and get jumped, and screams like someone is hitting her with baseball racket.

She just do that without any movement and no sign then also, with slight movement around her makes her scream again.

But she seems fine while she is awake and it was hard to replicate her symptoms in the vet office, and seems like the vets did not believe my puppy is not in a pain or also said it will just go away...

I wish she can talk and tell me what's going on with her... And the vets can't find anything wrong so, i am just tipping my toes, and feels helpless.

I do not think she is weak or in bad spirited and she is eating well and drinking well.

But it is not definitely she is having nightmare, when she is sleeping in my arms I can feel, her whole body get tensed and crunched...

I hope u can help me out what possibly coz this and fix...

Many thanks

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear that Sugar is having these problems!

I have had a couple of cases like this where a dog suddenly started screaming, yet the physical exam is ok. It's very frustrating when all of our tests come out normal and we can't tell the owners what is going on!

While I won't be able to say for sure what is going on I have a few thoughts for you.

Do you know if your vet checked her anal glands? Sometimes if a dog has full glands they can suddenly get random pains that can definitely cause a scream. While most dogs with anal gland problems will scoot on the ground or be looking at their hind end, not all do. It's worthwhile to have your vet empty them.

Next, it's possible that she has a problem with one of the discs in her back or neck. Again, usually we will detect some back pain on physical exam but it is possible that there is some intermittent nerve pain affecting her.

It's also possible that she is having some abdominal cramping. Has she had a change in food or any new treats lately? This could cause an increase in gas.

Sometimes seizures can cause unusual things like this but what you are describing does not sound like a seizure.

After writing all of this, something in the back of my mind told me to research pain and cavalier king charles spaniels. You may want to ask your vet about a condition called Caudal Occipital Malformation Syndrome, or also called Chiari Malformation, or also syringomyelia. This condition is more common in Cavaliers (but is still quite an uncommon condition). It can cause neurological problems, back pain, neck pain and just general muscle pain. It happens because of a problem with a blockage of spinal fluid in the spinal cord and brain. You can find more information on this condition here: Syringomyelia in Cavaliers.

If this were my case I would likely be trying her on some anti-inflammatory medication for a few weeks to see if that makes a difference (mostly in case this is a back issue).

I really hope she is feeling better soon!

Dr. Marie

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks Dr.Marie!

I just looked at Youtube videos how to clean them up anal glands and learned to squeeze… and I did it myself now. I was not too sure, if I could do that, but, seems like I did make it. my vet did that a few month ago, when I brought her up to the vet bcoz, she was dragging her bottom on the floor. this time she did not do that... but I never know... I hope this is it!

And for the back or neck issue... not just the X-ray was fine… the vet said that, her back discs have all the regular gaps and does not seems coz any problem. of coz, two of vets pressed each discs several times to check them out, and they said it is all good… also, they turned her neck to side by side really hard… I thought they would break her neck, but, my puppy did not even make any noise on that. so, I hope this is not it...

and hum.... hum… I did gave her the new treat the day she started to scream. I did mention to my vets, but, ignored… and made me to think, it would be too crazy by this dog treat my dog can scream like that? then, I had to switch off thinking about that tiny treat I gave her… but also, I feel like, two days later when I did not give her the treat, my puppy steams less then if I give her more treat then the screaming coming back… I thought that was my paranoia, but, maybe u r right! I will have to go back to her normal diet and eliminate all the extra stuff from her daily food. and from the X-ray, my vet said there is some gas, but, it would not be much coz the scream... but, maybe!

and my vet said probably not the seizures... my vet also asked me… if she get flipped over by seizure… and the answer is no... and after discussed maybe not the seizures...

and I hope this is not a "Caudal Occipital Malformation Syndrome".

I hope this is just like the anal gland issue and the new treat.... I am gonna see how she will progress on this... then, I might need to find a specialist for the "Caudal Occipital Malformation Syndrome" if she does not improve the symptoms. I really want to find out why? but also really want it to be NOT too major for her...

thanks again and I will update about my sugar.

many thanks

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome! I'd love to hear how things go!

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.