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

OK, let’s start by acknowledging the fact that granulomatous meningencephalomyelitis or granulomatous meningoencephalitis is also known as is probably going to be one of the most challenging 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 magic doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ever make an effort to fully understand exactly what this disease is, especially if you have a loved one ever diagnosed with it.

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet wanted to take a moment and discuss precisely what 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?

GME is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system and can impact many other brain and body systems. Now, it’s essential to understand that a dog can get three different types of GME. The three kinds of GME that can affect your dog are:

  • Focal GME. This means that it is concentrated in one part of the nervous system, so the impact on other systems is less.
  • Multifocal GME. This is when GME has affected the nervous system in many places simultaneously. 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

The symptoms will vary accordingly since there are three different types of GME. However, some signs 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 in their range of motion. Also, if the blood-brain barrier has been damaged, a new range of symptoms could occur.

Can cats get GME?

Yes, but it’s 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, some similar diseases 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

The veterinarian will look for clinical signs during the diagnosis, starting with a complete examination. From there, if your vet suspects that your dog may be suffering from GME, they may then decide to order a series of tests, which may include a:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis (extracted from the spinal cord through a spinal tap).
  • Complete Blood Count (will show an increase in white blood cells).
  • Biopsy of Brain Tissue (if 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 body area).
  • Test for irritation of meninges.

Treatment of GME in dogs

If your dog does have GME, then it 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 into remission and stay there.

That said…

You’re likely to find that your vet will prescribe some corticosteroid medication and a daily dose of an immunosuppressive drug or other remedies as a first step. From there, your veterinarian may also recommend possibly using radiation therapy and surgery, depending on the severity of your dog’s case.

Which brings us…

It is a great spot in this article to remind all our readers that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them. So, if you feel your dog may be suffering from GME (or any other medical issue), be sure to have them checked out immediately by a professional. Doing so may not only save our dog from suffering needlessly, but 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 costly, 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 minor problems becoming larger more expensive ones.

For example…

If your dog does have GME, the diagnosis process can be pretty 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 they have to get some significant medical procedures).

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

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable 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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