Pug Dog Encephalitis Symptoms

Pug dog encephalitis, or PDE, is a brain disease that affects pug dogs. Vets think that this condition is genetic, since it often strikes dogs who are closely related to one another. The illness progresses quickly, and cannot be cured. Let's learn more about pug dog encephalitis.

Causes and Risk Factors for Pug Dog Encephalitis

Vets don't really understand what causes pug dog encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that typically strikes pug dogs between two and three years of age. Only pug dogs get this disease, and vets think it must be genetic, because it often occurs in litter mates and closely related animals. Recent research suggest that pug dog encephalitis may be autoimmune in nature. 

Female pugs are more likely than males to succumb to this disease. Most pugs who come down with pug down encephalitis are two to three years of age, though it has been reported in dogs as young as six months of age, and in middle-aged animals as well.

Pug dog encephalitis is always fatal. Once symptoms appear, dogs with this disease have only months left.

Symptoms of Pug Dog Encephalitis

The primary symptom of pug dog encephalitis is seizures. Seizures may occur every few days or weeks, or more frequently, depending on the rate at which the disease is progressing.

In between episodes of seizure, the dog will exhibit other symptoms of the disease, including:

  • depression
  • disorientation
  • lack of coordination
  • confusion

Pug dogs with encephalitis may also stagger, appear to be blind, have trouble walking, walk in circles, or press their heads against furniture, walls, or other solid surfaces.

Pug dog encephalitis can strike rapidly, and may often kill the dog when it does.

Diagnosing Pug Dog Encephalitis

Your vet will need a complete medical history and physical exam to diagnose pug dog encephalitis. If you happen to know that other dogs in your pug's immediate family have succumbed to this disease, tell your vet.

MRIs and spinal taps can help your vet make a diagnosis. Because so little is known about this disease, your vet may ask you to donate your dog's remains to veterinary science after he has died. You can help further the cause of veterinary research into this disease by allowing your vet to take CAT scans and MRIs while your dog is still alive.

Treating Pug Dog Encephalitis

While pug dog encephalitis is always deadly, treatment can help manage your dog's symptoms during the final weeks of his life. Anti-convulsants can help control the seizures associated with pug dog encephalitis. Anti-inflammatory drugs, often corticosteroids, can help to reduce the inflammation in your dog's brain to make him more comfortable. Many owners choose to put their dogs to sleep when they receive a diagnosis of pug dog encephalitis. 

You cannot prevent pug dog encephalitis, as it is probably genetic in origin. Dogs with this disease should never be bred. If your dog develops pug dog encephalitis, inform the breeder from whom you purchased the dog, and, if possible, inform the other owners who may have purchased puppies from the same litter.