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What is Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis (GME) In Dogs?


Question: What is Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis (GME) In Dogs?
The acronym GME stands for Granulomatous MeningoEncephalomyelitis, a disease of the brain and spinal cord. Read this FAQ to learn about common symptoms and prognosis for this disease.
Answer: Overview
The term granulomatous means a chronic inflammation that is characterized by several types of cells; including fibroblasts and immune cells. The term Meningoencephalomyelitis means an inflammation of the brain, spinal cord, and the membranes that surround them (the meninges). This disease can affect most types and ages of dogs, but is seen most commonly in middle-aged small breeds. At this time, the cause (etiology) is unknown.

Clinical Signs
Signs seen vary with the patient, but may include:

  • ataxia (stumbling, wobbly gait)
  • blindness or vision problems
  • facial paralysis
  • depressed attitude
  • head pressing
  • circling
  • seizures

Diagnosis is made by ruling out other diseases, since the only way to definitively diagnose this disease is by examining brain or spinal cord tissue under a microscope (not practical). Analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is helpful in diagnosing this condition, as are clinical signs, blood and urine tests and medical imaging to help complete the data.

Treatment with corticosteriods may help with some of the signs seen. Treatment is also aimed at supportive care, which is control of seizures, administering IV fluids, nutritional support, etc.

Prognosis is generally poor for this disease, and survival rates can vary from days to a few months after diagnosis.

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