Canine Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis: GME in Dogs

Canine Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis, or GME, as it's commonly known in veterinary community, is a condition that affects your pet's neurological system. Because there are a wide range of different symptoms for this condition, and it's difficult to classify in some ways, it is oftentimes written off as a disease that is typically terminal and progressive and that oftentimes imitates cancer in some ways. However, these descriptions are not entirely accurate for a variety of reasons. Read on for a brief overview of what Canine Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis is and how it can affect your dog.

Canine Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis Overview

The general mechanism which causes GME in your pet is an inflammation of healthy tissue. This occurs when certain immune system cells are accidentally set to target those healthy cells. By releasing chemicals that cause the destruction of the healthy cells around them, the immune cells function as they normally would when attempting to eliminate a foreign invader from the body. However, because they are actually attacking healthy cells, the result is cellular damage and inflammation.

This disease most typically affects small or medium sized dogs in the middle stages of life or later. It's not well understood what brings about the influx of immune system cells into healthy tissues, or exactly how this effect leads to the symptoms of GME.

Symptoms of Canine Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis

Some of the most common symptoms of GME involve changes to your pet's behavior and other subtle neurological signs. Because of these subtle symptoms, it's important that you be as familiar as possible with your pet's healthy and normal behavior. This will ensure that you'll be able to address the disease as quickly as possible. The primary symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Seizures
  • Unusual gait
  • Tilting of the neck
  • Neck pain
  • Loss of vision
  • Lethargy
  • Facial abnormalities

If you detect any of these symptoms, it's a good idea to take your pet in to the veterinarian for an examination as quickly as possible.

Other Information for Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis

In order to diagnose the disease, your vet will begin by making a full physical examination of your pet. To be sure that the condition is caused by GME, however, a blood test, urinalysis, and, in many cases, a spinal tap will be helpful. The spinal tap in particular allows the veterinarian to test for the presence of abnormal immune system cells in the spinal fluid.

Treating GME is a difficult business. The primary treatment option is corticosteroids, which suppress the functionality of the immune system so that it doesn't continue to cause the symptoms of the disease. However, this causes a number of other potential problems. With a weakened immune system, your pet will be much more susceptible to a variety of other conditions and issues instead. Therefore, if your pet suffers from Canine Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis, it's a good idea to speak with your vet to be sure that you are taking the proper measures necessary to keep his health up.