Sunday, 9 October 2016

Granulomatous meningoencephalitis

Granulomatous meningoencephalitis – not a condition that rolls off the tongue. But in small breed female dogs between 6 months and 10 years of age, it is actually more common than it sounds which is why is it shortened to GME. It is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and can affect a dog in a variety of ways depending on which part of the nervous system is affected. It also tends to show its symptoms very rapidly. 

Hattie’s Mum came home the other week to find her collapsed. A rush to the local vets resulted in a recommendation to Fitzpatrick Referrals (the Supervet) where the condition was diagnosed as “inflammatory disease of the nervous system of unidentified aetiology but most likely to be GEM” and treated with chemotherapy and prednisone. 

A couple of days after the chemo- and steroid therapy started to work, Hattie was getting better but her mobility was an issue, particularly along the right hand side and her front leg was displaying considerable paralysis. She was given some physiotherapy exercises and her Mum was advised that this needed to be continued daily. Which is where I came in. A round about referral from the Supervet via a recommendation from Paws, Play and Stay. 

I went over to visit Hattie at her home and, although she was bouncy and active, she was clearly ataxic as though she didn’t really know where her right limbs were. She bounded happily to greet me but decided that it was easier to talk to me sitting down, which is where I sat with her. She absolutely loved her massage immediately falling asleep purring – mind you, Mum is a massage therapist so she has had some Mum Therapy already. 

As you can see in the picture, her right front leg is held at an angle and she tends to knuckle with that paw. She does know where it is as, when I held it, she would press against me. And when we placed it correctly she would walk with it but then ‘forgot’ it was there. 

With Hattie, the aim was all about rehabilitation and devising exercises she can do which will help her relearn where her right legs are so that she starts to use them again. Hattie loves her food, even more so now that she is on steroid medication. At the moment, she can’t afford to put on too much weight. An exercise routine for her had to be constructed that her Mum could do without using treats. Fortunately, we’ve got quite a portfolio of active exercises and it was a case of going through the ones which would benefit her condition and could be performed treat-less. We came up with about half a dozen. It doesn’t sound a lot, but these exercises, when performed with care and consideration, can be quite fun and not a chore for the dog and a little goes a long way toward rebuilding lasting rehabilitation. Add to that mix a few appropriate massage techniques and her muscles and joints should start to show some progress. 

Hopefully, when I return, she will be less wobbly and starting to walk with more confidence. 

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