Skip to Content

GME: A Deadly Condition You Probably Never Heard Of

Share this post!

I Love My Chi may earn a small commission for purchases made after clicking links on this page.  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.

If you or someone you know has a dog with GME and/or NME and would like support, you can join the Pet Parents Fighting NME & GME “Educate, Encourage, Share”  group here.

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

Flossing Chi
Previous
Flossing Chi
Next
Go Grain Free with CANIDAE® #HealthyPetHappyPet

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 ?

Cathy

Saturday 13th of June 2020

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

Sara

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.

Cathy

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.

Wanda

Thursday 26th of September 2019

My chi the last two years have been having a reaction to her shots like an allergic reaction face swells and her eyes turn red. Is this the same thing?

Cathy

Thursday 26th of September 2019

No, but since she is already showing a sensitivity to the vaccines, she is a prime candidate to getting this. I'd get her a titer test before getting anymore vaccines. She probably has more than enough immunity to the diseases now.

Skip

Sunday 9th of September 2018

Cathy, Thanks for info on GME. This is the first I’ve heard about this. Also I’m not sure if you heard of Lymphangiectasia but this illness in small dogs have become more common lately. One of out Chi’s was diagnosed with it. It’s most common in small dogs but have been found in some large dogs. Getting early treatment you have better chance combatting this illness. We started noticing his backbone and ribs as if he was losing weight. Did ultrasound and found his stomach was losing protein due to leakage and not absorbing all protein. 6 wks of B12 shots, Prednasone, Hill’s prescript high protein low fat low fiber diet. He seems to be holding his own. At periods we do start him with the B12 and pred just to keep his appetite. Just wanted to share this. Also there is an Lymphangiectasia support site on Facebook.

Cathy

Sunday 9th of September 2018

No I haven't heard of Lymphangiectasia before Skip. Thanks for the info.

Best Natural Flea Treatments for Dogs | I Love My Chi

Tuesday 5th of July 2016

[…] learning about GME and how our fur babies are being over medicated, I have been rethinking my flea prevention […]