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Thread: Fly Catcher's Syndrome?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Fly Catcher's Syndrome?

    Something awful has overcome my otherwise healthy 10 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, completely out of the blue.

    Louie woke up on Wednesday morning like he does every other morning. I took him out to do his business and he came inside, sat on the floor mat and started swatting at an imaginary fly, tossing his head from side to side, eyes wild. As the day went on, he did it more and more, and by evening he was hiding under a cabinet in the foyer- very unusual for him as he is normally a fearless, happy and hyper puppy. When he was out of 'hiding', he'd continuously "fly swat", and nip at his lower back & chase his tail. He was only somewhat comfortable when sleeping, otherwise he's had an anxious and paranoid look on his face like something is tormenting him.

    We took him to the vet on Thursday morning, who automatically came to the conclusion that it was more than likely Chiari Malformation or SM. Louie was sent home with Gabapentin and Omeprazole, which we started him on that night. He was MRI'd that evening, and results yesterday showed a very mild case of CM, not enough to cause sudden onset of this behaviour. We did not see any changes in him after giving Gabapentin.

    The vet then said it is more likely to be Meningitis, and sent us off to a neurologist for a consultation yesterday. The neuro observed Louie for some time and said he had some symptoms of Meningitis, but not all. Its hard to tell if he's in pain because he's walking and running around fine, but is quickly distracted by the imaginary fly. A spinal tap would confirm if its Meningitis, so they performed the spinal tap, which showed "some inflammation" (in the vets words). She sent him home with a prednisone shot, and a bottle of 5mg tablets of prednisone that we started him on this morning, in addition to the Gabapentin and Omeprazole. The neuro said to expect him to improve by Sunday.

    I hope that this is indeed Meningitis that will be cured with his current prescribed treatment, but the more research I do, the more signs point to a severe case of Fly Catcher's Syndrome--sudden onset, if thats possible! Has anyone heard of a case like this? Any suggestions for treatment? Gabapentin is an anti- convulsant, so I think epilepsy is ruled out, and if he doesn't respond to the steroid then that will probably rule out Meningitis. Another suggestion online is SSRI's, but i'm not sure if there has been any success with these. Getting desperate here and going broke! Any help is appreciated!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Melbourne Australia. semi rurally

    Re: Fly Catcher's Syndrome?

    One. i would be interrupting the behavioral loop, to prevent habit. Just looking to the future, where you could see your dog cured, yet still repeating the behaviours now out of habit.

    SSRI's can work for compulsive behaviours, but this sounds pathological in its orygen, whereas SSRI's generally work better with non pathological triggered behaviours, ie habits, anxiety.

    It does sound like fly catchers syndrome. But i have NEVER heard of this being rapid onset.

    that's a useless response, to what must be a very anxious and stressed dog owner.
    Keep us posted how she does.
    Fingers crossed for Meningitis and steroidal tx

  4. #3
    Senior Member So Cavalier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Re: Fly Catcher's Syndrome?

    Here is some info on flycatchers.

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