Inflammatory Reticulosis in dogs affects all breeds and all ages but it is more common among middle aged small breeds. This condition or series of conditions can be caused by infectious or non-infectious agents and is also referred to as Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis, or GME.
What is so terribly horrific about this inflammation disease is that there are very few dogs that actually survive it as most will pass within a few days to a few months depending on the severity the attacks. The best hope in most cases will be with supportive care to make your dog as comfortable as you can in their last days.
It is the most common inflammatory disease to dogs nervous system second only to distemper.
Inflammatory Reticulosis in dogs is a chronic inflammation disease that attacks your pet’s brain and spinal cord, as well as the cells that surround them.
It is characterized by several cells being attacked including fibroblasts as well as immune cells.
It is an acute and very progressive disease and the actual cause is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by virus, bacterial, parasite, or fungi infections that affect these critical areas. Some experts believe that it may be the result of several infections attacking at one time and over -running your dog’s immune system.
Some dogs may have what appear to be cancer cells that are associated with lesions, while others do not. For some unknown reason, it also seems to attack female dogs more than males between the ages of one to eight years. This disease is very difficult to watch for and predict as it will attack your dog very rapidly.
Inflammatory Reticulosis has three distinctive forms; ocular, focal, and disseminated.
The ocular form of this disease is the most uncommon form and it can affect one eye or both eyes in your dog and can cause a very sudden loss of vision. This may be a warning sign that can help owners identify this disease as it usually sets in the eyes for several months before it attacks the central nervous system.
The next form of the disease is referred to as focal indicating that it only affects certain parts or areas of the brain based on the symptoms that your dog may be showing. However, once your veterinarian runs tests it is usually discovered that there are several lesions that are located throughout your dog’s brain. However, this is the one form of the disease that can be successfully treated for a longer period of time.
The third form of this disease is referred to as disseminated, which means that it has scattered and spread thought out your pets brain as well as the spinal cord. This is the most rapid developing form of the disease and your pet has virtually no chance of surviving and may have only a few days or weeks left.
There are several symptoms that you can watch for with this vicious disease. The first symptom that will surface may be the only symptom that you can react quickly to and is known as Photophobia. Photophobia is an extreme sensitivity to light of any kind, especially sunlight. The pain in the eyes that your pet is experiencing is the very beginning stages of this disease.
If you can catch this symptom very early and get it treated there may be some hope for your dog. However, it will not be long before the next symptoms set in. Ataxia is almost always the next symptom which is stumbling or a very wobbly gait on the part of your dog. As it advances your dog may also have partial paralysis in their face and as a result start to press their head on objects.
This may appear that they are rubbing and trying to get something off of their head, but it is much more sinister than that. Their head is severely infected and it is hurting much like a migraine in humans. The next set of symptoms may be a sudden circling by your pet followed by seizures as they lose consciousness. The last set of symptoms are usually seizures and in the final stages, comas.
Although most causes of Inflammatory Reticulosis in dogs are idiopathic, meaning they have no known actual cause, there may be some actual causes.
Necrotizing meningoencephalitis is a disease of dog’s nervous system that affects primarily Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, and Pekingese breeds. It is very similar to Inflammatory Reticulosis but has a different clinical course, as well as a presentation of symptoms. Its major difference, however, is that it attacks toy breeds exclusively.
It is also believed that this infection may be caused by bacterial, fungi, parasite or viral infections that have formed a perfect storm like attack against your pet’s immune system and is totally overpowering it.
When these types of infections overpower your dog’s immune system and invade their brain and spinal cords as well as the cells that cover and protect them, your pets immune system goes into an immediate defensive assault by releasing white blood cells.
When this happens and the white blood cells overreact, your dog’s brain swells and causes immediate damage to the nerve cells and as a result bleeding of the brain occurs. When there is bleeding in the brain, damage occurs. It is very rare that any animal survives brain damage.
In most all cases of this infection, treatment will be focused on supportive care to help relieve the symptoms in your pet as there is no actual treatment that can cure this vicious disease.
Treatments will include Corticosteroids to reduce the swelling and inflammation in the brain as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce the fevers and pain that will be associated with this disease.
There is very little chance of your dog surviving Inflammatory Reticulosis and supportive measures will be the only comfort. This will include a lot of rest, as well as very strong nutrition and fluid therapy. The best preemptive measures that you can take is to supplement your dogs immune system as strong as you can, as early as you can, so this perfect storm does not over run your dogs immune system.