Granulomatous meningoencephalitis in dogs

Granulomatous meningoencephalitis in dogs

What is Granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME)?

Granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME) is a disease where the central nervous system of the dog becomes inflamed. There are many different types of Granulomatous meningoencephalitis, including the chronic Pug Dog Encephalitis.

Granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME) is more common toy breeds than in other breeds, and female dogs are more commonly affected than male dogs. A majority of the dogs diagnosed with Granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME) are young or middle aged.

Types of Granulomatous meningoencephalitis

Focal Granulomatous meningoencephalitis
In a dog with focal Granulomatous meningoencephalitis, the disease causes the formation of a granuloma, normally in the cerebrum or cerebellopontine angle of the dog. The symptoms of focal Granulomatous meningoencephalitis can be acute or gradually develop over the course of several months, depending on where exactly the granuloma is located.

Disseminated Granulomatous meningoencephalitis
When Granulomatous meningoencephalitis spreads throughout the central nervous system of the dog, it is called disseminated Granulomatous meningoencephalitis. (Earlier, this condition was commonly referred to as Inflammatory Reticulosis.) In a dog suffering from disseminated Granulomatous meningoencephalitis, mononuclear cells and neutrophils will accumulate around the blood vessels of the central nervous system. Common symptoms of disseminated Granulomatous meningoencephalitis in a dog are depression, problems with coordinating movement, head tilt, nystagmus, and seizures. Meningitis can set in and cause fever and neck pain.

Ocular Granulomatous meningoencephalitis
Ocular Granulomatous meningoencephalitis is a very rare form of Granulomatous meningoencephalitis that causes sudden blindness in dogs. The blindness is the result of optic neuritis, and the disease will affect both eyes. Some dogs will also develop retinal detachment, uveitis, and glaucoma.

Pug Dog Encephalitis

Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is a chronic form of Granulomatous meningoencephalitis that may be inherited in Pugs, Yorkshire terriers and Maltese dogs. Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus can also suffer from Pug Dog Encephalitis. Pug Dog encephalitis is different from other forms of Granulomatous meningoencephalitis since it causes much more tissue breakdown and tests will show more increased eosinophils. Pug Dog Encephalitis is also known as necrotizing meningoencephalitis.

When pugs and maltese dogs are affected, they will normally develop extensive necrosis and inflammation of the subcortical white matter and the grey matter of the cerebrum. Two common early symptom of Pug Dog Encephalitis in pugs and maltese dogs are seizures and dementia. As the disease progresses, the dog can start circling around, it can keep its head tilted, and nystagmus can occur.

When Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus develop Pug Dog Encephalitis, the disease will only affect the white matter and the symptoms will be due to brainstem and central vestibular problems. Due to this, Pug Dog Disease is sometimes referred to as necrotizing leukoencephalitis when it affects these breeds.

Regardless of which breed that comes down with Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE), treatment will consist of corticosteroids. Corticosteroids can relieve the symptoms, but most dogs with Pug Dog Encephalitis will eventually die from the disease.

Granulomatous meningoencephalitis treatment for all dog breeds

When Granulomatous meningoencephalitis has been diagnosed, the veterinarian can administer immunosuppressive drugs such as Azathioprine, Cyclophosphamide, or Corticosteroids. Cytosine arabinoside, cyclosporine, and Procarbazine have also been used to successfully treat Granulomatous meningoencephalitis in dogs.

When it comes to focal GME, radiation therapy is known to cause long periods of remission.

Medical treatment and/or radiation therapy can decrease the symptoms, but most dogs with Granulomatous meningoencephalitis will eventually die from the disease.

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