‘GME’ – Big disease that can affect small breed dogs
Recently, I lost my dog to a disease called GME.
Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis or GME is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Very few people know anything about the condition. The exact cause of this disease is unknown.
GME commonly affects some (not all) small breed dogs. For example Maltese, Yorkies, and Poodles are all susceptible to the condition. However, large breed dogs can also be affected. The disease is found to be most common in the middle age years (Boo was a 6-year-old Maltese) but it can occur from age six months to ten years. GME cannot be detected from any of the routine veterinarian tests like blood work, fecal and urinalysis. Many dogs that are diagnosed with the disease have a life expectancy of 1 year or less. Dogs who do manage to hang on only do so with uncomfortable and expensive treatments that can range from daily steroids shots to radiation. There is currently no vaccination for GME.
Some of the common symptoms of GME are:
_ Altered mental status
_ Head pressing
_ Stumbling with a nearly normal gait
Pet parents should always be vigilant for any signs of illness in their pets. However, if your dog experiences any of the symptoms above, get them to their primary care physician or the nearest animal emergency room ASAP!
I first noticed there was a problem with Boo when he started acting a little stiff, and his tail was constantly tucked. He was immediately taken to his primary care veterinarian when one morning, he yelped in pain when my other dog went near the left side of his face. After an examination, his doctor determined that his symptoms were possibly due to a herniated disc in his neck. However, after a couple of days, his condition rapidly deteriorated. He was then taken to a highly recommended veterinarian surgical center. By this time, his breathing had become labored and he could not stand without falling to his left side. After an examination, the doctor at the surgical center, suspected that the cause of his symptoms may be neurological and not a herniated disc.
She suspected Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis, this was the first time I’d heard of this disease. I had just started doing more research on it when she called to tell me that he had vomited one last time and passed away.
Unfortunately, it is too late for Boo but I share his story to raise awareness of this little known and often fatal disease.