I have people ask sometimes how I knew Ella needed an MRI. I also have people ask questions about there dog does this is it SM. I just know about Ella. I think I have said the hard thing is diagnosing SM is expensive and even if the MRI does not show anything it doesn't mean that will not change. I think people should always notice what's going on with their dog.
I think when it comes to the point to get an MRI, there is something going on. That doesn't mean it's SM. I got my vet to refer me to a neurologist. The neurologist should look at the dog and they will help you determine that step. I know Ella yelped in pain when he squeezed her neck or something. Do not try that because I have no idea what he did. I thought since Ella never yelped in pain then it could not be bad. Some dogs yelp, some scratch it is all so complicated and since dogs can't talk you just have to start noticing the other ways they communicate. Ella would take a long time getting comfortable. If you look at all the things instead of one symptom it is helpful.
I wish I could make things easy but those two websites are a place to start.
Ella was diagnosed with Syringomyelia and taught me more in her short life about how to live life to the fullest, love with all your heart, and learn from each other.