What are Generalized Inflammatory Muscle Diseases?
Generalized inflammatory muscle diseases in dogs is a painful and debilitating disorder which affects the many muscles of the dog’s body. This disease can be from the direct cause of white blood cells filtering into the tissues of the muscles or negative changes within the skin. It can also have other more severe causes, such as cancerous tumors.
There are many tests that will determine the exact cause of the generalized inflammatory muscle disease in your dog, and once this is known, you will have a greater idea of your dog’s prognosis. It is crucial to get your dog to the veterinarian if he exhibits any symptoms related to this disorder.
Generalized inflammatory muscle diseases in dogs are disorders where the skeletal muscles are simultaneously inflamed and painful.
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Symptoms of Generalized Inflammatory Muscle Diseases in Dogs
There are many negative changes in the pet’s overall behavior and demeanor. The symptoms are easily distinguished from any normal behaviors. Symptoms include:
- A stiff walk and gait
- Swelling of the muscles
- Weakness of the muscles
- Pain in the muscles
- Unwillingness to walk or run
- Gagging or regurgitation
- Possible lesions on the skin
- Enlarged esophagus
There are two main types of inflammatory muscle diseases in dogs. Both of them are similar in nature but do have a few key differences.
- Polymyositis, a generalized muscle disorder that affects the skeletal muscles of the dog with no skin inflammation or lesions
- Dermatomyositis, a generalized muscle disorder that affects the skeletal muscles of the dog with skin lesions that can contain pus and infection.
Causes of Generalized Inflammatory Muscle Diseases in Dogs
Inflammatory muscle diseases in dogs, both polymyositis and dermatomyositis, have various causes that have been researched. Research is still being conducted, but clinicians and researchers are aware of the findings and what indeed causes this disorder. Causes can include:
- Infections in which are immune-mediated
- Medications or drugs
- Specific types of cancer
Diagnosis of Generalized Inflammatory Muscle Diseases in Dogs
Once you see your dog behaving differently due to symptoms, it is important that you notify your veterinarian and make an appointment. Once you tell the veterinarian the symptoms, you will be asked about the history of the dog’s health if your veterinarian does not have this on file. The veterinarian will want to perform a complete physical examination. This examination will involve a blood test, urine test, a biochemistry profile, and necessary tests to evaluate levels of the creatine kinase enzyme, which is found in the muscles, brain, and tissues. A sample of the muscle will also be taken and sent to a pathologist for more in-depth analysis.
If the dog is having regurgitation, an imaging method of the esophagus will be performed to check for abnormalities, such as a tumor or growth.
Treatment of Generalized Inflammatory Muscle Diseases in Dogs
An abnormally active immune system may be an underlying cause of this disorder. If this is the case, prednisone or other corticosteroids will be prescribed to suppress it. Other methods of treatment are as follows:
If ulcers or any skin wounds are present as a result of this disorder, treatment will be given to prevent any further worsening of these wounds and to prevent harsh bed sores from forming.
Therapy, suggested by the veterinarian in terms of specific types, can help keep the dog mobile and increase the muscle strength of your companion. This is usually started when the inflammation begins to decrease. It can also be successful for any heart muscle failure.
Soft food or liquids may have to be given if the dog’s esophagus is damaged or inflamed. An elevated food bowl may have to be in place, and in severe cases a feeding tube will have to be used to give the dog the nutrition he needs while he heals.
Once the pathology report is complete on the muscle sample taken during the diagnostic phase, surgery may have to occur to remove any tumors. Also, the placement of the feeding tube (if needed) will require minor surgery.
Recovery of Generalized Inflammatory Muscle Diseases in Dogs
During recovery, therapy will be integrated to increase the strength and elasticity of the muscles so they may improve in their function. If your dog required any surgical intervention, the veterinarian will communicate with you as to what you need to do to help him recover at home. This includes the use of a feeding tube if needed.
The veterinarian will help you develop a schedule for feeding times and how to help your dog resist any bed sores, and will be in contact with you on a regular basis while your dog is in recovery and management.
Dogs with generalized inflammatory muscle diseases have a good chance of surviving and returning to much better health. Unfortunately, if the underlying cause is cancer, the prognosis is not good at this time.
Generalized Inflammatory Muscle Diseases Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Developed muscle sensitivity, literally overnight, usually in the upper body area, cannot lay down easily, sits in a hunched over manner, and just walks around at night. Deramax used and within hour he is back to normal but only lasts 12 hours. Symptoms manifest themselves within 1 hr of eating. Vet puzzled.
This sounds like a puzzling question: the only two things I can think about is when Buddy lowers his head to eat from his bowl he pinches a nerve which in turn causes pain in his neck and shoulder region, try raising his food and water bowl to head height; another cause may be due to food causing a reaction in his muscles after eating, whilst not documented much in animals, there are reports in human medicine that some food will trigger muscle pain in susceptible individuals, try moving his diet to a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice to see if there is any improvement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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I have a female black lab. For the past 8 or 9 months she's had a limp in one of her arms. Some days it looks like the left, and some days it looks like the right is causing her pain. I can't figure out which one. At this very moment, I do not have the means to get her to a vet - and I'm just wondering if this could be arthritis or something more serious. She can't last very long during walks, she is very slow and has to take breaks.
Sometimes limping can be difficult to determine which limb is affected; usually the limb which is pulled up the most and causes the body to move up higher when it is raised is the affected limb. It may be arthritis or muscle damage; you could try giving some baby aspirin at a dose of 10mg/kg or 5mg/lb to see if notice any improvement along with glucosamine tablets too, also crate rest and other movement restriction may help too. Once you are able, take Midnight to see a Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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