Chiqa, a 3.5 year old short-haired Chihuahua, arrived at All Pets on emergency basis in early September after a rapid onset of startling neurological symptoms. Suddenly, she was walking in continuous counter-clockwise circles, tilting her head to the left, and suffering from partial paralysis of both legs on her left side. Several laboratory tests were performed to rule out possible cause. Chiqa was hospitalized for her condition later diagnosed as Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis (GME).
GME has been reported all over the world and is thought to cause up to 25% of central nervous system disorders in dogs. Small breed dogs such as terriers and dachshunds (or Chihuahuas like Chiqa) are most susceptible. Females are more commonly affected versus males. A specific cause for this disease is unknown.
(pictured left: Chiqa)
Various areas of the central nervous system such as the brain or spinal cord are affected by inflammatory lesions caused by GME. Symptoms vary based on where lesions are present and may range from seizures and circling to behavior changes.
It was a waiting game to see if Chiqa would revert back to her old self, or if she would be left with any lasting disabilities. Her mom was spoon feeding her multiple times a day, and even sleeping next to her on the floor to avoid the risk of her falling off the bed. Eventually she was able to walk in a somewhat straight line, only slightly leaning to the left. Over the course of several days, and to the joy of us all, Chiqa was able to walk in a straight line and jump into dads arms again!
Pictured: Chiqa (left) and her sister Angelica in matching sweaters.
With a vague prognosis, the goal for many owners with pets diagnosed with GME is to help them live a comfortable life as possible. Chiqa made a remarkable recovery!