Skip to Content

GME: A Deadly Condition You Probably Never Heard Of

Share this post!

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Learn More

Have you heard of Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis, more commonly known as GME? I hadn’t until recently. And I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about dogs.

veterinarian with medical mask on checking out a fawn colored chihuahua

There is also an even more severe from of this called Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis or NME.

What it is in layman’s terms is an autoimmune disorder that affects mostly small dogs. Which is why we as Chi parents need to be aware of this. It can be deadly.

Margaret’s Story of Cricket

Rich, Margaret, and Cricket Ditty

I first learned about this issue through one of our Facebook group members Margaret Ditty. She has a precious little Chihuahua named Cricket who has had very rough time of it since she developed GME and NME.

Margaret and her husband Rich have spent thousands trying to get help for their little girl. It’s been a long tough road for the Ditty’s and I admire their dedication to their fur baby Cricket.

Cricket the Chihuahua

Causes of GME

GME is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. It usually won’t develop in older dogs over the age of 8.

Most vets will tell you that they really don’t know the cause of GME but there are some that believe it is caused by repeated vaccination.

Did you know that the same amount of a vaccine given to a 120 pound dog is often given to a 5 pound dog? That is just crazy!

Since I am not a doctor, I will let you watch Dr. Becker here in this video explain about this condition:

Symptoms of GME (your dog may have some of these symptoms or all of them)

  • Head Pressing: The dog will press their head against things
  • Weakness in legs
  • Behavior changes
  • Circling
  • Seizures
  • Blindness
  • Drowsiness
  • Head tilting
  • Unsteady walk or gait

It is imperative that you get your dog in to see your veterinarian right away if you suspect GME or are seeing these symptoms in your dog. Without treatment, dogs can die within a day or so after the symptoms start.

How GME is Diagnosed

A basic blood panel and urinalysis and a spinal tap (done under anesthesia) is required. Also sometimes a MRI is needed.

Treatments for GME

Depending on what areas are affected, treatment may consist of:

  • Corticosteroids (prednisone)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy (if the GME is localized)
  • In severe cases, hospitalization will be required

Dr. Becker also believes in some alternative therapies to  speed up the healing process. She had a consultation with Margaret Ditty and gave her some ideas of what she could do to help Cricket and she also gave Margaret permission to share the call. You can listen to it here:

How to Prevent GME

While some dogs just seem to predisposed to this condition, repeated vaccinations seem to bring it on or make it much worse.

So before your dog’s next vaccinations, you might want to have your vet do a titer test to see if your dog still has the antibodies for the disease your dog would be vaccinated against. If there are antibodies present, there is no need for the vaccine.

While the titer test can be expensive, Dr. Becker believes you should call around and find a vet who will do the test at a cheaper price. You can read more about the titer test here.

You can also find a holistic veterinarian here.

Margaret also suggests that you should be prepared for this or any other pet emergency in advance by getting pet insurance while your pet is healthy and applying for Care credit which is used specifically for veterinary bills and doesn’t have to be paid back right away.

That way if an emergency should arise, you can use the Care credit until you are reimbursed from the insurance plan. Then you would pay the Care credit bill.

Of course, it would also be a good idea to start an emergency savings fund and save the money yourself.

I want to thank Margaret and Rich Ditty and Dr. Becker for providing me with much of the information for this article. I pray that it helps save doggy lives. As Margaret says “Educate, Encourage and Share”.

Click to find about other chihuahua health problems.

Cathy signature Chi


Friday 8th of December 2023

I'm a dog Mommie of a baby boy with GME. Always looking to educate myself as much as I can on the disease because I want to be completely prepared.

At about 6 months old, we had our regular groomers come and had him groomed. The very next day he was hunched up with his head down and screaming. Rushed him to our regular vet and off the bat she suspected GME but they don't have the equipment to test for it - so she prescribed prednisone and another pain medication that I can't recall right now. On her suggestion, we made an appointment with a specialist and he stayed overnight to get a spinal tap and undergo a compound involving chemotherapy. After that it was about four months on prednisone with us having to slowly lessen the dosage after the third month to see if he could come off the meds - as he was doing a lot better.

Right now he's in remission, but I'm so paranoid over him as that's all it is, remission with that looming threat.

But right now, I have a beautiful, healthy, happy baby. I truly hope that he will never have to experience it again.

His specialist actually told us that he shouldn't be vaccinated because of his condition, as he could have a relapse. I always worry that we can't vaccinate him - because other diseases also terrify me. But I had no idea that vaccinations could be an onset initial cause for the disease.

Thank you for this article, it is very informative.

Cathy Bendzunas

Friday 8th of December 2023

You are welcome Daniella and I pray your little guy remains healthy. I'm glad your vet isn't pushing for vaccinations.


Wednesday 28th of April 2021

Hi Cathy... my dog was diagnosed with GME about 2 months ago...he is on Atopica 2x a day, Prednisone 10mg 1 x a day and for anxiety and pain a Trazadone/gabapentin cocktail when needed. I just took him to a holistic vet who suggested Ozone therapy as another option. Do you think it could be beneficial?


Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

@Dave, I have had great results with CBD oil for our 16 yr old chihuahua. We use .25 ml twice a day. Use If you have holistic vet ask about stopping meds if possible. Also very important, cannot stress need for real clean food. Dr. Harveys and Honest Kitchen are great.


Wednesday 28th of April 2021

I'm not a vet but I'd give it a try.

Lizelle Labuschagne

Saturday 20th of March 2021

Hi there. My dog was diagnosed with gme yesterday. I am from south africa. Apparently there has not been alot of gme cases this side. What do you guys think are the chances that gme is linked to distemper? My dog is 9 years old. Do you guys think it is fair to let her live with this on medication every day? I am trying very hard to understand this disease/disorder.


Saturday 20th of March 2021

I have never heard of it being linked to distemper but who knows. This condition doesn't seem to be researched much in the veterinary community so we don't know a lot about it. If she were my dog, I would keep her on the meds as long as they worked and she has a decent quality of wife.

Angela Parry

Saturday 13th of June 2020

My Rocco has been quivering quite a lot with his jaw , is that something to be concerned about ?


Saturday 13th of June 2020

It could be Angela. I'd mention it to your vet.


Friday 21st of February 2020

Hi everyone , My 3 year old Pom /German spitz was recently diagnosed with GME so I’ve been doing some reading and came across this article and read people’s comments and just wanted to share this with those that think over vaccination is one of the causes of GME, my dog has only been vaccinated or I should say immunized once for rabies and all the core vaccines. I do not believe in vaccination over and over, but here I am with a dog that has GME and keep in mind that I had him since he was 1 day old. I’m saying this because yes over vaccinating our pets causes so many potential health risks to them but in this case I can’t say I wasn’t educated enough and not knowing better I got him sick . He eats a very healthy clean diet . I don’t use tick or flea or heart-warm medication on him either . Who knows why he got this disease but he did so all I can do is treat it and hope for the best.


Saturday 22nd of February 2020

Good luck Sara. I hope he gets better. Over vaccination isn't the only cause of GME but it does seem to be one of the main causes. And any vaccination can do it. It can happen after the first set of vaccines.