Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is a serious brain inflammation condition that is exclusive to pugs. It is always fatal and approximately 1.2% of Pugs die of this condition.
Read on to learn about the causes and symptoms of this condition.
Overview of PDE
Clinically, PDE is described as a necrotizing meningoencephalitis and is invariably fatal. Vets think that this condition is hereditary since it often strikes dogs that are closely related to one another.
It usually affects dogs between 6 months and 7 years. However, the majority of dogs affected are between 9 and 19 months of age.
Additionally, PDE is very difficult to diagnose as most of its symptoms often relate to other central nervous system diseases (CNS). Therefore, in most cases, it is usually diagnosed after the Pug dog dies.
There are actually two classifications of PDE, Rapid Progression and Slow Progression. The disease can last from several days to 6 months or more and usually starts in its acute, rapidly progressing form.
Seizure activity in this classification is usually more frequent although not always. Unlike, the slow-progressive version, the dog does not return to normal, but instead, it normally demonstrates symptomatic characteristics such as having difficulty walking, depression, disorientation, and even bewilderment.
Slow progressive features seizure activity which lasts anywhere from just a few seconds to a few minutes. The seizure activities are sometimes preceded by additional symptoms.
More so, the seizures usually come back in as little as a few days or few weeks. Under this classification, the dog normally will return to normal in between these seizures and demonstrate no symptomatic characteristics related to PDE at all.
Unfortunately, the end result of both classifications is the same. Therefore, whether this condition strikes your dog in the slow-progressive form or the rapid progression form, your pet will eventually die.
What Causes PDE?
Vets think that this condition is hereditary since it often strikes dogs that are closely related to one another, however, the cause of Pug Dog encephalitis is not known.
Because it tends to strike dogs that are closely related, experts suspect that it’s hereditary and autoimmune.
Beware though, this does not mean that if your dog has no relatives with PDE it cannot get PDE. It is also worth noting that female dogs are more likely than males to succumb to this disease.
Symptoms of PDE
In most cases, symptoms of PDE usually progress in a matter of days or weeks and result in sudden death. However, in other cases, your dog can live a while longer but only with the help of proper drugs to control seizures.
The primary symptoms of Pug dog encephalitis include seizures, pacing in circles, lethargy, and loss of muscle coordination.
- Seizures – Seizures occur every few days or weeks or more frequently depending on the rate at which the disease is progressing. However, seizure activity in dogs does not necessarily mean PDE is the cause. This is because dogs can also suffer seizures from exposure to toxic gases or chemicals, epilepsy, and other unknown reasons.
- Pacing in circles – This is a fairly common symptom of PDE. The dog will pace in a circular motion over and over for quite a long time.
- Lethargy and loss of muscle coordination – These two symptoms do but don’t always seizure activity caused by PDE. What’s more, neither of these two symptoms definitely indicates PDE is the cause. Lethargy is a symptom to nearly all illnesses that can strike a Pug dog while the loss of muscle coordination can indicate other problems such as neurological issues.
Other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Disorientation or confusion
- Pressing their heads against the walls, furniture, or other solid surfaces
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Intermittent screaming
- Staring off into space
- Behavioural changes such as agitation or aggression
- Dogs with encephalitis may also appear to be blind, have trouble walking and stagger
Always see your veterinarian immediately if your dog displays any of these signs and symptoms.
How Can You Prevent PDE In Your Pugs?
You cannot prevent encephalitis as it is probably genetic in origin and what causes this disease is still unknown. The only prevention would be not to breed the parents who are the carriers of the disease. Therefore, if your Pug dog develops this condition, ensure you inform the breeder from whom you purchased the dog.
While Pug Dog Encephalitis is always deadly, treatment can help manage the symptoms especially during the final weeks of his life. It is therefore recommended that your dog gets regular vet check-ups, particularly in their early stages of life to make sure this does not become a complication for your pug.