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Myasthenia Gravis in Dogs… What is it? What Causes it? And how can I help my pet?

Like myasthenia gravis in humans, canine myasthenia gravis is a rare neuromuscular disease that causes muscle weakness and mobility problems in dogs. But just because it’s “rare” doesn’t mean that if your dog has it, you’re any less affected by the harmful effects that it can have on you and your dog’s life. If you think your dog might have this disease, you must learn as much as possible about myasthenia gravis in dogs – remember, knowledge is power!

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Nerves send impulses to muscles to make them work. However, when there is a breakdown in this communication, things don’t happen as they should. As a result, the muscles don’t flex as they should, so they become weak. This is what happens with myasthenia gravis w. as we said before, Myasthenia Gravis is a rare disease, which is excellent!   t when it happens, it will change your life and your pup’s.

Who is at risk?

Certain breeds are more at risk than others because they are at risk due to their genes. T is called congenital myasthenia gravis. These breeds include:

However, there is also acquired myasthenia gravi, which can affect any dog. T happens when the immune system has an issue.   In cases like these, antibodies start attacking muscle receptors (acetylcholine receptors), and as a result, they get damaged.   Additionally, dogs who have been diagnosed with thymoma are also more at risk of developing myasthenia gravis as well.

Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis

The main symptom you will see is muscle weakness. Unfortunately, exercise only makes these symptoms worse. It is why rest is usually the best thing for those affected muscles. So, another common symptom that you may encounter is food regurgitation, which can happen due to how the esophagus is affected.

Dogs with myasthenia gravis are very prone to pneumonia.

Diagnosis of myasthenia gravis in dogs

How will your vet diagnose myasthenia gravis in dogs? I  will involve some tests designed to rule out other illnesses and diseases. First, your vet will try to determine if there are any clinical signs of myasthenia gravis. These could include:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBD),
  • Chest X-rays,
  • MRI or CT (to look at the spine),
  • Tensilon test (muscle response).

After doing the tests, your vet should be able to narrow in on myasthenia gravis and then develop a treatment plan.

Treatment Options

The most common treatment is to get on anticholinesterase drugs. These drugs reduce antibodies attacking the muscle receptors, such as a Chr antibody. Another drug that might be prescribed is edophonium chloride. T works by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholinesterase. Pyridostigmine bromide may also be used to help your dog improve muscle strength.

Which brings us to…

We want to remind folks that we at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. Many folks are passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them. If you have myasthenia gravis (or any other health issue), you’ll want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP!


An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, but beyond that, diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle of medical costs!

Treatment Costs

Now, asking how much this will cost may sound taboo. After all, you’d do whatever it takes to help your dog live a healthy life, right? Don’t worry, we understand. Most of us aren’t millionaires or independently wealthy, so… if this will cost thousands of dollars, you must be mentally prepared.


Why not be more than mentally prepared? Be financially ready. We’re not telling you to save thousands of dollars right now for dog treatment. N, we’re talking about purchasing a pet insurance policy for your pet before they become sick!   It may be possible for your pet to be diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, but what about any other pets you may have?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies, please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Colleen A May 19, 2020, 10:46 am

    Can some poisons cause acquired myasthenia gravis in dogs

    • indulgeyourpet June 19, 2020, 4:27 pm


      Like many autoimmune disorders, the exact cause of Myasthenia Gravis in dogs remains somewhat a mystery. Therefore, we would be hesitant to say that an exposure to a particular poison may or may not increase ones dogs risk of developing this condition. That said however, it’s always a good idea to keep any kind of poison away from our furry loved ones regardless of what the consequences may be.

      Sorry we couldn’t be more helpful on this one.


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