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Granulomatous Meningencephalomyelitis (GME) in dogs…. What is it? And how much will it cost?

OK, let’s just start off by acknowledging the fact that granulomatous meningencephalomyelitis or granulomatous meningoencephalitis is also known as is probably going to be one of the most difficult medical conditions you’ll ever need to learn how to say (or spell) as a pet owner.

But just because….

Granulomatous meningencephalomyelitis is a complete nightmare to say and spell doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make ever effort to fully understand exactly what this disease is, especially if you have a loved one that been diagnosed with it.

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what or granulomatous meningoencephalitis (AKA GME) is so that we might be able to shed some light on what GME is and provide some insight on what it might be like to own a dog that has been diagnosed with this condition.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

 

What is granulomatous meningoencephalitis or GME in dogs?

GME is an inflammatory autoimmune disease attacks the central nervous system and as a result can impact many other systems of the brain and body. Now it’s important…

To understand that there are three different types of GME that a dog can get.  The three types of GME that can affect your dog are:

  • Focal GME. This means that it is concentrated in one part of the nervous system, and therefor the impact on other systems is less.
  • Multifocal GME. This is when GME has affected the nervous system in many places at once. You may also hear this called disseminated GME or inflammatory reticulosis.
  • Ophthalmic GME. This means that the dog’s eye has been impacted.

Symptoms of GME in dogs

Since there are three different types of GME, the symptoms will vary accordingly. However, some symptoms that may occur include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Involuntary eye movement
  • Depression
  • Infection
  • Sudden blindness (in ophthalmic)

Other symptoms will depend on where GME is occurring.

For example…

If GME lesions are pressing on a particular nerve, the dog might experience numbness or limitations on his/her range of motion. Also, if the blood brain barrier has been damaged, a whole new range of symptoms could occur.

Can cats get GME?

Yes, but it’s extremely rare for a cat to suffer from granulomatous meningoencephalitis

Is a specific dog breed more at risk of GME?

Breed dogs aren’t necessarily more at risk for GME.  That said however, there are some similar diseases that do affect small breed dogs. Diseases such as:

  • Pug encephalitis (Pugs, Maltese, Yorkies, and Chihuahuas are most at risk)
  • And necrotizing leukoencephalitis (Yorkshire terriers are most at risk).

Also, noninfectious meningoencephalitis is similar to GME.

Diagnosis of GME

During the diagnosis process, the veterinarian will look for certain clinical signs, starting with a full examination. From there, if your vet suspects that your dog may be suffering from GME, he or she may then decide to order a serious of test which may include a:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis (extracted from spinal cord through spinal tap)
  • Complete Blood Count (will show an increase in white blood cells)
  • Biopsy of Brain Tissue (if there is a tumor or other lesions)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain or other area where a lesion is suspected
  • Computed Tomography (CT of the brain or another area of the body)
  • Test for irritation of meninges

 

Treatment of GME in dogs

If your dog does have GME then he/she will need treatment.  Unfortunately, though, currently there is no cure.

Therefore…

The primary goal will be to reduce your pet’s symptoms and attempt to get the GME to go into remission and stay there.

That said…

What you’re likely to find is that your vet will most likely prescribe some type of corticosteroid medication along with a daily dose of an immunosuppressive drug or other medications as a first step.

From there…

Your veterinarian may also recommend possibly using radiation therapy as well as surgery depending on the severity of your dog’s case.

Which bring us…

To a great spot in this article to remind all of our readers that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who are passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

So…

If you feel that your dog may be suffering from GME (or any other medical issue for that matter) be sure to have him or her checked out by a professional right away.  Doing so may not only save our dog from having to suffer needlessly, it could also save you a ton of money.

This is because…

One thing that we’ve generally learned here at IndulgeYourPet over the years is that vet bills can often be really expensive and usually the sooner you get your pet to the vet, the more money you can save because having your pet diagnosed and treated early on, can often prevent small problems becoming larger more expensive ones.

For example…

If your dog does have GME, just the diagnosis process can be quite costly. Typically, you’ll have to spend anywhere from $200 (that’s supposing your dog doesn’t have GME or anything else wrong – it was just a scare and you went to the vet) to $3000 or more (if he/she has to get some major medical procedures).

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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