Myasthenia Gravis and its difficult diagnosis

I just wanted to post some info about the disease Myasthenia Gravis and its relationship to arthritis medication side effects as my vet was unable to diagnose it the disease before it was too late. I'm sorry that this post is so long but if one person identifies any symptoms maybe they can take preventative measures.

It's a rare neuromuscular auto-immune disease and I was told that it takes 2 weeks just to get bloodwork back to identify it.

We just lost our dog, Newman, Feb 7th after he just turned 13. He had been on arthritis medications for around 2.5 years. He started with Rimadyl first and when that medication was becoming ineffective our vet switched him to Deramaxx about 1.5 years ago. The Deramaxx worked great except that it is harsh on the stomach and esophagus. After about 8 months on Deramaxx our dog was prescribed Sucralfate and Pepcid AC to protect his insides as he was occasionally vomitting. I was to treat him "as needed" on this medication.

About 2 weeks ago he started vomitting again, very inconsistently so I thought it was due to the Deramaxx side effects. I was treating him with his regular gastro meds but they didn't seem to have the same effect as before. He was also not eating much of his food that last week but he's gone through periods of not eating before so that didn't signal any flags. He was also having a little more trouble getting up stairs where we would have to occasionally carry him up. I thought this was due to him just getting older plus the harsh winter on his old joints. Still didn't seem that unusual. I decided to make a regular appointment with the vet to see if we needed to change meds or something.

Well we went to the vet and she said his liver felt enlarged and wanted to keep him for a couple of hours for bloodwork and xrays of the liver. After coming home without him that afternoon I was completely crushed thinking he had liver cancer or something like that. I got a call a couple hours later saying that his bloodwork was great for a dog his age and his liver enzymes were slightly up and to cut back on his arthritis meds to let his stomach calm down because she thought that maybe he had an ulcer and gave me more meds to treat his gastro track. So I had relief that he was going to be fine....only temporarily.

I brought him home that evening he just started vomitting foam. I thought that his ulcer was out of control and that he just needed to settle down from being at the vet. He would settle down and then drink or eat and then keep vomitting. He slept through the night but when I gave him a little water in the morning he vomitted consistently for a couple of hours. I took him back to the vet and she agreed that he did in fact have an ulcer and that she would give him meds & fluids via IV and to call back that night. So once again I had relief when I called and they told me he was eating & drinking and not vomitting anymore and doing fine. They told me to call about 9am to see how he was doing and to pick him up.

I call the next morning exactly at 9am because I just want to bring my dog home as soon as possible. The vet then floors me by telling me that she heard Newman coughing that morning and she wants to xray him to see if he has pneumonia as she thinks he aspirated his vomit. She also tells me that even though he was up and walking an hour previously, that his back legs were shaking and he was having trouble so she suspected that he had Myasthenia Gravis that was attacking his muscles and it was causing the muscles in his esophagus to not work properly which is why he aspirated his vomit. She wanted to start treating him with the medications for it even though the bloodwork takes 2 weeks to come back.

When we went to visit him an hour later he was laying on his side, barely able to lift his head up and laboring to breathe. Things just went downhill from there and several hours later he was basically drowning in fluids because of the pneumonia and his esophagus not functioning so we had to make that toughest of all decision to put him down because he probably was going to stop breathing during the night.

Apparently this disease has been appearing a bit more frequently whether it's due to some auto-immune deficiency or whether diagnosing it is more aggressive. It tends to attack older big dogs later in life.

I guess I just wanted to put this out there because I was completely blindsided hearing that he had this disease and some of the symptoms were evident even though I thought they were related to his other aging problems. If I had the slightest idea that it was anything other I would have pushed to the very least get his esophagus x-rayed because that is an obvious symptom that this disease is present. I am hoping that I can somehow forgive myself for not thinking that anything else was wrong.

The disease is treatable but a lot of care is needed to prevent aspiration pneumonia.

Here is a link for more info and other side effects, treatments and meds -
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I read this post many hours ago and had left it on my screen.... I kept trying to reply to it, but each time I try I am at a loss for words.

You have nothing for which to forgive yourself, you did everything that you could.

I'm so sorry for Newman's and your suffering.
Thanks Ron for your thoughts and I know I am beating myself up with the "what ifs". We had 13 super years together and I don't know how invasive I would have let the doctors be even if they caught it a few days earlier.

The good thing that has come out of all of this is that I found your forum and it has really helped with the healing process. I especially like reading all of your stories about Jake & Winston. Wow what a fun life for them being able to go on a real life "road trip" in your RV.

I anticipate another OES in our very near future. I'm self-employed, and my husband works outside our home, so the house here is just a bit too empty now, even with our 2 cats running around.
I had a standard poodle that I loved so much. One day, when I was having one of my many migraines (which are real beasts), he came up looking very shakey. I looked in his eyes and knew he was so sick. I got up and rushed him to the vet. She immediately decided he had found a bone and it was doing damage. I don't know why I went along with this diagnosis. I told her he never had a bone, ever.
Well, she operates and finds yellow bile in his blood. His liver isn't functioning. She checks around and finds he has the smallest kidney for as large a dog as he was.
Turns out he had this birth defect where his kidney had not kept up with his growth. He died at 4 years, usually they die around 3. He had been urinating more a few days before, but I had found out I was pregnant and put off taking him to the vet.
I felt very guilty, even though I know he would have died anyway. Do not know why I felt such guilt, but it is the reason I looked for the OES list when we first got Abbi. I wanted to know just what could go wrong.
Thanks for adding to our knowledge base. I am so sorry for your loss, but I think the fact you are thinking of getting another buddy is VERY healthy.
You don't need to feel guilty, you did the best you could.
Thanks for your kind words.

I guess it's easy to feel guilt because it's such a helpless situation. If only our pups could talk and tell us where they are hurting...
I was just sitting at my computer looking up info on MG, and I came across your letter. I had a 3/12 year old English Mastiff named Sasha, who was my baby. Well about a two months ago, we took her to the vet with what was diagnosed as a UTI. After she took all of her medications she seemed to be well again. Three weeks ago, the signs of her UTI came back along with extreme weekness in her rear legs. Well, back to the vets for E-rays,blood work, and urine testing. Same diagnosis,so we brought her back home. In two days she could barely stand up, and was falling. We took her to a vet who was recommended to us, he took one look at her, and thats when we became aware of MG. Sadly she was in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks and she just kept going downhill, even on the medications. We had to have her put to sleep two days ago. I too feel so incredibly guilty for not getting her the help that she needed sooner, and she may have had a better chance. She was the best dog that anyone could ask for , and we will miss her dearly!
Thanks you for sharing your story about Sasha.
Please accept our sympathy on your loss of Sasha due
to MG. Its a heartbreaking disease. You took excellent
care of her, but it can take over quickly....
When you are ready perhaps another English Mastiff
will be sharing your home.....

My Moms best friends husband has MG and it
has been increasingly difficult for them.

Glad you found the forum, please keep in touch.........
Very sorry to hear about your loss of Sasha. Please don't beat yourself up about the diagnosis. You did everything you could to get her the right treatment and you cared for her the whole time. It is very difficult to detect and I was told getting the bloodwork back to confirm the disease takes about 2 weeks to get the results in.

I believe because our guy was such a senior that from the time that the first symptoms really starting getting bad, he was gone within 24 hours. I'm sorry to hear that it lasted for a few weeks for you guys. My vet says that once a senior gets some type of illness or infection that they have a very difficult time getting better. I understand that caring for dogs living with MG is also a very difficult thing. They run a huge risk of getting some of their food or vomit into their lungs and usually die from aspiration pneumonia because of it.

Once again I'm very sorry for your loss, please find comfort in this forum where others may not understand how much Sasha was your baby.
My dog recently died of myasthenia gravis as well. Her name was Sasha and she was a Great Pyrenees. She died one day before her seventh birthday. It really shocked me how quickly MG attacked her body. She seemed perfectly healthy one day, but died within a week after being admitted to an animal hospital. We recently received her test results back on MG and her blood levels were so high her vet said she had no chance whatsoever of surviving. If we had known this, we wouldn't have put her through surgury to remove a thymoma or have made her spend the last days of her life in the hospital. It is so sad that the test takes 2 weeks for results. If we had known this, we would have spent every last minute of her life with her. She went from being so healthy to not being able to stand up. Although she aspirated 3 times, she was able to recover. The morning before she died, when we called the vet, they said she was doing much better. We had planned on going out to visit her the next day. Sadly, we received a call at 10am that Sasha had went into cardiac arrest and was not responding to anything. For the past 9 days, I have been tremendously sad. Although we had only adopted her 3 years ago, she had grown to be such a big part of our family and we loved her so very much. It still seems unreal to me that she is gone. I keep thinking I'm going to see her when I walk downstairs in the morning or that she'll come to the patio door when I open it to go outside. She was taken from us so suddenly and I never really got a chance to say goodbye to her or to tell her one final time that I loved her.
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Sasha. I wish I knew more about Myasthenia Gravis and it's effects. I know that there has been DNA testing with specific breeds to try and pin point some auto-immune diseases. Hopefully, they will be able to make some progress, even though this will not take away your pain. Once again, I am so sad for your loss, it is so hard to lose a furry family member.

I hope you can find comfort in this forum and maybe you can post some photos of Sasha. People here are wonderful, and it doesn't matter if you have a sheepdog or not.
Thank you all for sharing these painful stories. None of us are vets, but sharing this information gives us a better chance of catching problems with our beloved animals earlier so perhaps their lives and life quality can be enhanced.

I have a 4 year old Bichon, Hope Ann, I have taken her to six different vets over the last 7 months. One night she started dragging her back leg. The first vet said she probably just pulled a muscle and not to worry. Didn't get better took her back and insisted something was wrong. Told me she had arthritis really bad and should be put down. Didn't believe them. Took her to another vet, said she had Anaplasmosis (a form of Lyme disease). Gave her meds never got better. Another vet and blood tests no lyme disease. Took her to a doctor who is also a pet acupuncturist. Said she had healing fractured spine. Took her to another vet. Did a Penn Hip test and said she had "loose hips" and needed to have both hips replaced. Now they are testing her for MG and Lupus. She cannot walk in the evening or after laying down for a long time. Does not seem to be in a great deal of pain. Just looks at her rear like why is this not working for me. She hides a lot and has lost weight and generally just looks sad. Her rear seems to be getting smaller cause she can't run and play anymore. Anybody out there who could offer some advice would be gret
What an nightmare you have been through! I admire your perseverence. Have you taken her to a neurologist? My dog has had intermittant mobility problems and we've also been through the ringer with multiple, conflicting diagnoses from all sorts of experts. The neurologists we've seen have been pretty good at identifying issues that are outside of the scope of the regular Vet, oncology, and the orthopedics. I would definitely recommend that you find a neurologist if you haven't seen one already. Good luck!
Hi all,
Firstly, so very sorry to hear of all your losses. I am afraid my dog is 'suspected' of having MG as well. She has lost alot of mobility. It started off as just a 'stiff hip' that we brushed off as age/arthritis. We moved to Central America and gave her Revolution and some vaccinations before we left (due to international flight and customs rules). I have since found out that Jack Russels are prone to MG genetically. I have also found out that vaccinations aggravate MG immensely. Being in Central America, modern medicine is hard to find for vets (for humans, they are really advanced), so unfortunately, they have been unable to confirm her condition yet. However, she recently developed a lump in her lymph node (which we feared was lymphoma). The vet said she had no temperature, no infection, no bacteria and thought it was the MG causing the immune system to 'flare up'. I have researched the options available to canine MG and Lymphoma cases and none of them looked like the 'way out' I would choose for my little jaz. I have tried many natural remedies, but the thing that has kept her going for these 8 months is a RAW food diet (join yahoo groups rawfeeding if you want more info). At the very least, it is giving her body the pure and natural nutrients she needs to battle the disease as best she can, while giving me the time and opportunity to research her wellness. The best solution I have found after 8 months is CLASSIC homeopathy (no other kind is as effective). If anyone out there has a dog suffering from MG, I highly recommend hiring a classically trained homeopath. You can find one online through the yahoo groups. I wish all of you and your animals, the strength and perseverance required to take on the battle. Be strong for your little ones! Love to all.
My almost 3 year old yellow lab Tommy may have myasthenia gravis. the test results are supposed to come in tomorrow, and we have been waiting anxiously for a week now to hear news on our poor boy. he's been having problems for a while and after seeing a specialist thinking he may have had a problem with his hips, we have determined that there is nothing orthopedic wrong with him. i really just hope we find out soon what is wrong with him so he can get back to his old self again!
Tommy's Mommy wrote:
My almost 3 year old yellow lab Tommy may have myasthenia gravis. the test results are supposed to come in tomorrow, and we have been waiting anxiously for a week now to hear news on our poor boy. he's been having problems for a while and after seeing a specialist thinking he may have had a problem with his hips, we have determined that there is nothing orthopedic wrong with him. i really just hope we find out soon what is wrong with him so he can get back to his old self again!

We will keep you and Tommy in our thoughts and prayers.
Please keep us updated on his tests/evaluations. There is
a lot of hugs and support here for you. :ghug:
Hello to all, it's so disheartening to hear all of these horror stories of Myasthenia Gravis.

Just over a year ago, I took my dog, Sana, to the dog park and on the way home she started coughing and threw up foam in my car. She only threw up once but the coughing continued so I immediately took her to the vet and we noticed during her exam, that her left pupil was much larger than her right. The vet didn't think anything of it but because she was coughing she thought she might have kennel cough and possibly picked it up from a dog at the dog park. She decided to do a chest x-ray just to be on the safe side and noticed that not only did Sana have aspiration pneumonia but she also had a condition called Megaesophagus, in which the esophagus is entirely too enlarged to function properly and caused her to aspirate her food. Because of the megaesophagus she wanted to do some blood work for a rare autoimmune condition called Myasthenia Gravis, in which Megaesphagus is a clinical symptom. She informed me that the results would take about 2 - 3 weeks to get results, so we started treating Sana for an infection (pneumonia) with some antibiotics. After about a week or so, Sana's cough stopped, so I thought she was better. I took her for a walk the next day and noticed that as soon as we got home she pretty much just fell down out of exhaustion, which she had never done before. I called the vet to tell her about what happened and she told me to keep an eye on it, which I did.

Then Thanksgiving rolled around. I went back home to my parents for the holidays and the day after Thanksgiving, Sana could not get up and was dragging herself across the floor. It was horrible to see my beloved dog unable to walk and I could see the hurt in her eyes. She seemed scared and didn't know what was wrong with her. All of the local verternarian offices were closed, so I made the decision to take her to the vet because not only could she not walk, but she wasn't eating or drinking and seemed very sick. When I got her there, they told me that she was severely dehydrated and needed IVs. I informed to oncall vet of the condition that was suspected and he contacted my vet back home and the agreement was made to start Sana on a medication called Pyridostigmine.

Sana had to stay overnight in the Emergency Room, but seemed healthy and happy when I picked her up the next night. She got better and we made it back home to have some follow up X-Rays done. By this time, Sana's bloodwork results had come back and sure enough, Sana was a positive Myasthenic, with a level that I believe was about 4 times that of a normal dog. Her aspiration pneumonia was gone and we continued Sana on her Pyridostigmine. After a few months she seemed great! The vet recommended stopping the medication in order to avoid her becoming immune to the medication. We stopped the medication in February, I believe, and Sana continued on her healthy path. We did another blood test in May and her level was slighty elevated, still showing that she was a Myasthenic, but she wasn't having any problems, so we avoided the medication. Sana really only seemed to have problems when she was overly active, and at those times, we would give her 1/2 - 1 pill a day and her symptoms would go away.

We did more blood work in August, and her levels were completely normal showing that Sana was negative for MG. Great! We've continued X-Rays just to be on the safe side.

Well around the same time, just before Thanksgiving, I noticed Sana's pupil's were different sizes, again, and she had a slight cough every once in awhile. I took her in for chest X-Rays, normal. Vet said to keep an eye on her. Well, then Sana started throwing up again, took her back into the vet, this was about 4 or 5 days after I had JUST taken her in, and sure enough she had aspiration pneumonia AGAIN. We decided to start the Pyridostigmine immediately and do blood tests again. Sana was on antibiotics again, vet called, positive Myasthenic yet again. We just went back in today and her chest X-Rays were normal again!

So in Sana's case, TO ME, althought the vet might not agree, her eyes have been the indicator. It's the first thing in her line of symptoms that seems to flare up. Her line of symptoms seem to be: differing size of pupils, cough, aspiration pneumonia, leg tremors.

We're hoping that she doesn't go Myasthenic again, but who knows! Apparently it's not common to see dogs go from positive to negative and back to positive again. It's been very difficult dealing with a dog with MG, and frustrating at times as well. I couldn't tell you how many bottles of carpet cleaner I've gone through, and I've spent THOUSANDS of dollars treating her with medications, running blood work, and doing X-Rays. Luckily our vet has been extremely kind and doesn't charge and exam fee most of the time, because she is the one wanting to see Sana, as this is a very uncommon condition.

We're so grateful that our vet caught this as soon as she did, especially after reading all of these horror stories. I hope that this information might help someone at some point in time. I wish the best to all of those in the same boat as us, and my grievances go out to all of you who have lost a pet to MG.

K. Deputy
I feel so sad for all you guys. Its so hard to lose our beloved dogs and to have doubts about the decisions we made in their final days only makes it harder.

I just want to say two things.

First I know two people who have died from MG and it took both of them months of doctors visits to get a correct diagnosis.

And second they were both able to tell their doctors about all their symptoms. It is more difficult for our vets and us as owners, as our dogs cannot tell us how they are feeling.

You all loved your dogs and did the best you could for them. Remember the happy times as much as you can.
My Lab, Bella, was diagnosed in August with MG, she developed all the basic signs and then got aspirated pnuemonia. For 6 months, she has been great, she spent 1.5 weeks in the hospital, regaining strength, and eating and breathing well, we really believed she was over the bad hump of this disease, but last week, my husband had to travel with work, and I started to notice her face was drooping, she started to drool again and then the leg tremors. I have called my vet almost everyday, so now, we are going in tomorrow because I want to be proactive with this and not wait until it gets too bad. This disease has really stumped me, I do research all day long to try to understand how I can help her and thus far, all the ideas seem to be the same which really means, they have no real answers for us. Its really hard to watch you beloved pet suffer thru this, but I am so grateful for a forum to read and understand a little bit more....
I'm sorry to hear all your stories of loved pets being diagnosed with the above disease. I just wanted to add that our Silky was diagnosed with MG in 2000. We had a truly wonderful vet who listened, advised and helped us at every turn. We went through the early stages of higher pitched barking, legs going out from under him and then the (seemingly never ending) vomiting of mostly mucous. Our vet had recently read an article and wasted no time in getting blood work done, however did thing that it may be MG.

Our dog was immediately put onto Mestinon to help the transmission of signals to the muscles and nerves, and also cortisone, however over the next couple of months we were in and out of the vet with pneumonia from him inhaling his mucous. We then went onto a cycle of antibiotic courses, where our dog would get better on the antibiotics but go flat within a day or so of going off them.

We strongly suggested to our vet, who in the end agreed, that the dog be permanently put on antiobiotics as well as the Mestinon.

It's been hard work and you really need to have patience with the vomiting, but now, nine years later we still have our beloved dog with us. He is 14.5 years old.

I just wanted to give some hope to those who pets are diagnosed with MG. It's not easy but for the better part of the last nine years we have had a happy, loving pet.
I just wanted to thank everyone on this forum for all the input and different routes each took to helping their babies with MG. Our Bella, in 4 short weeks, went from a healthy 9 year old Lab to extremely weak and sick. She passed away on February 11, 2009 and my head is still spinning at how quickly this disease stole her life and the love of our lives from us. My only advice is be consistant with the meds, and the feeding and watch so closely to their symptoms, we tried to be proactive, the pneumonia just took over too quickly and we lost her, so thanks again, and everybody hang in there with your pups-
So terribly sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your beloved Bella. Wishing you peace and loving memories of your girl. :ghug:
I just wanted to say thank you for the kind words, we are still spinning and missing our girl so much, but it means alot to know people, like you are thinking about us!!! Thanks so much-
I have read the posts her on Myasthenia Gravis which are so parallel to what happended to my golden retriever Belle, a 2 1/2 year old. To first explain the local vets normally find it very difficult to diagnose this, I think the buzz word is Megaesophagus (sp).
I am known as "that guy with the golden retriever in Washington NC". What this means, is I have the dog that went on an experimental program with the NCSVet School and Berley Ca Vet school. Belle is the survivor from the original 10 dogs that were placed on it in 2001. Her survival led to the use by humans with MG who were non repsonsive to Mestinon. Well, as she had degraded on heath, aspiration pneumonia, Pancreatitus, general organ failure....she was dying. The local vet had me rush her to the Raleigh Vet School. Because of the dilgent effort of a doctor there, he diagnosed her with MG and put her in intensive care there. They tried to get the mestinon to work without any luck. They had heard of a dog in Canada that was tried on this program that survived for 6 about one year. That was all they promised me and really left me with no real hope but they would try it. After a week in intensive care, she wasn't doing that well until the fourth day with Mycophenolate or Cellcept. This was the magic ingredient to her drugs working. She made it........she got up and started running and acting normal for the first time in month. She was in a wheel chair for about a month since her rear legs stopped working. Well, most of the vets now know about this since it has now been borrowed time of 6 years she got in the deal. The key is a good vet who knows about the disease. Most have no clue, but early diagnosis is critical. Now, where that "guy with the golden in Washington NC" come from, well, since Belle was successful Roche, who makes the cellcept did a clinical trial on humans that was also successfull 2002. Humans now take the same drug as Belle does. I noticed there isn't much on the internet regarding this but I do try to post this information of hope. In 2001 when this all happened all I could see was posts just like these how you had lost your beloved pet. I can tell you it still swells my eyes thinking about how one day this will come to a close as well. So, day by day, all borrowed, she has had a "lucky" life. All because of one doctor, who happend to know about the disease. I am sorry over you loss as I understand, I came real close, like 12 hours, it still strikes close to my heart and my second wife who has helped her stay heathy as well. Russ and Maggie Belle Krainiak
THANK YOU and THANK BELLE for all that has come from your shared ordeal. :hearts:
Webmaster, I have tried to put a profile together but find that even though I am logged on, it will not let me re-enter my password to modify it. Can you find out what is going on? I was going to repond and add a pic to the profile and some update to the story posted here. I think it is value for people here.
Thanks, Russ
I am not aware of any issues with changing your password, or uploading pictures.

To change your password, once you are logged in you click on "Profile" near the top of the page. The system requires you to type it twice; once in each box, and they must match.

To upload your profile picture, there are detailed instructions in this thread:
Scroll down to read the topic headings in bold red letters.

When you're done with either or both tasks on your profile page, to finish the process you must scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Submit.

The photo gallery will hold any number of pictures you wish to post; the instruction for it are on the same link I just gave you.

Welcome to the community, I look forward to reading your info!
It is terrible seeing all these stories of these dogs dying, but also great that some have been able to survive so long. On September 23rd, my amazing Jack Russell Terrier(JRT), Roxy, died of myasthenia gravis at only 3 years and 10 months. The first symptom was groaning. Roxy always slept with the family, and was always under the covers and snuggling with someone. So, for 2 or 3 nights, she started making funny noises(we literally thought it was funny because she had always been healthy) and we thought maybe she was having funny dreams. We took her to the vet on a Saturday and she must have had some adrenaline pumping from being nervous because she only made 1 little groan from being poked in the back. They did a basic check-up and said that her stomach felt slightly tender and maybe she fell and hurt herself and gave her pain meds and said if she didn't improve, bring her back for more tests. On the way out, I took her for a walk so she would go to the bathroom before getting in the car. She went to the bathroom, but she also spit up a silvery sort of goo, but I was in a hurry, so I made nothing of it and left. Well, sure enough, she didn't improve from the pain meds and she kept spitting up the silvery goo and so we took her back in on Monday. The vet asked us to keep her there so they could run more tests on her. While she was there, a call came from the vet saying she needed to talk about her chest x-rays. So when she was ready to get picked up, the vet spoke and said "I'm glad you kept her here because she wasn't vomiting, she was coughing. From the x-rays, we believe she has an enlarged heart and it is pressing against her trachea, which is causing the cough." So, from the x-rays, it looked like Roxy's insides were 'crowded' so I figured that was because of the heart. They gave Roxy meds that would cause her to spit up any excess fluid normal dogs could keep, but she couldn't have the fluid because she needed all the breathing room(literally) she could get. They also gave her antibiotics and another medicine that I'm not quite sure what it was for. So, that night, Roxy had very labored breathing and seemed as if she would die that night. She couldn't jump up on the couch like she used to be able to, could walk up steps only in the morning after sleeping many hours, and coughed up very frequently; especially after eating or drinking, which we thought was from the meds, but was really because of her myasthenia gravis. Then, on Tuesday night, we had a message from the vet saying that he thought that it may be the esophagus, not the heart, and could be myasthenia gravis. So, our family(thinking the esophagus would be better than the heart) was rejoicing and looking up myasthenia gravis and seeing that if treated in 1-2 weeks after diagnosis(which it was) it could be controlled; but what we didn't know was about the acute form. So, we took Roxy in about 9 A.M. and then, at about 2 P.M., the vet called and said she was doing very badly and that we would most likely have to come in and say good-bye. So, we raced to the vet, and only seconds before we went into the room where she was being, the vet said she had passed away. He then told us about her day. He said that she had begun to collapse and they tried to make her swallow barium(which is a liquid that allows the vet to see chest fluids in an x-ray) but her esophagus was so inflamed that even after 30 minutes of standing her upright to try and get the barium down(5-10 is usually how long it takes) the barium would not go down. So, she had an extremely acute form of myasthenia gravis, which led to megaesophagus, which then led to aspiration pneumonia(inhaling her own body fluids), which eventually caused her death. This all sounds so terrible but about 2 weeks ago, we adopted another JRT(this one's a mix) from the Humane society almost the same age as our beloved Roxy and is bringing us much joy, but nothing will ever replace our dear Roxy.
My condolences to all who lost a beloved pet to Myasthenia Gravis. I have an almost 7 year old Male German Shepherd who was diagnosed with this disease last October.

Our problems began in July of 2011 with regurgitation issues - there was no vomiting (retching) with the liquid that came out. Tucker would just make this terrible noise and then the thick, gooey (usually clear) liquid would come out. Seldom was there any dog food in this. We had several trips to the vet after being up all night with him in pain and kept searching for the answer. We did exploratory surgery in late August and found his spleen to be quite enlarged. It was removed and we hoped that would end the problems, however, we were not that fortunate. The regurgitation continued as well as the trips to the vet and the continued antibiotics. The first part of October after another "all nighter" with him, it was back to the vets. I again went over all the problems he had been having with one of the vets there (there are 5 vets at the clinic I go to and he was always seeing someone different) and we talked about x-rays and a possible scoping of his esophagus. The last question I was asked was "is there retching involved with the vomiting". When I replied "no" the vet decided the first course of action would be to x-ray the esophagus. He could not do this until Thursday but could have another vet do it before then. I said "NO" - we are going to stick to one vet until we get this figured out. On Thursday they did the x-rays and found that Tucker had Megaesophagus and it usually is caused by either a Thyroid problem or Myasthenia Gravis. We sent the blood tests out for both. I got word just over a week later that the Thyroid test came back fine and a few days later the vet called me and told me the MG test had come back positive. Tucker was put on Mestinon - 4 mils a day and I was told to feed him in an upright position so that the gravity could help pull the food down to the stomach. His Megaesophagus is a fairly mild case. I began the upright feeding by placing his front feet on a stool so his body was pretty slanted. This seemed to help. The biggest problem with the MG is the regurgitation. When they regurgitate they can aspirate and get Pneumonia. Another trip or two to the vets for regurgitation issues and on November 9, 2011 he was again treated for aspiration pneumonia and given an intramuscular injection of Baytril. When I got him home I immediately noticed him dragging/knuckling his right rear foot. Back to the vets only to be told that the shot probably had damaged the sciatic nerve and that it could take 6-8 months for him to recover. Long story short - a toe got infected, he chewed it up, the toe would not heal which lead to amputation of that toe. The toe next to the one we had removed got infected and we were close to amputating that one as well when I took him to see a Neurologist. The Neurologist told me that the Sciatic nerve was trashed and that Tucker would continue to self mutilate until we took the leg off. We had his leg amputated 3 weeks ago.
It is important to know the difference between regurgitation and vomiting where Myasthenia Gravis is concerned. I feel this is key to helping your vet look in the right direction. I was very persistent with the vets and had I not been, the diagnosis would not have been made so quickly. With regurgitation, there is no retching. Tucker is doing well on a dose of 3 mil of Mestinon a day and had only had 2 episodes of regurgitation since his diagnosis.
For anyone who's pet is living with this disease, there is hope, possible remission and quite a bit of information out there. Just google Myasthenia Gravis in dogs or canines. I hope this information helps.
My boarder collie at just 3 years old diagnosed mg Aug 23 2012.Chilli our dog has nearly died from pneumonia after weeks of regurgitating .Chilli now has a feeding tube into her stomach which seems, so far to be working.Luckily I am at home this year and able to give Chilli my time.I look back now and wonder were there any sign of th acquired disease myasthenia gravis which attacked her over night.One sign was that she used to run in the dog park ,drink then regurgitate the water.Three weeks prior to presenting withMG I took Chilli to vets as she started limping on rear leg and treated for aged arthritis....I wonder if any of these incidents were signs leading up to MG.Anyway the family is all involved with caring for Chilli the dog and fingers crossed.
I just read this....trying to find a few answers to what happened to are wonderful border/lab mix Patches. We lost her on Sunday evening January 27th 2013. She started with symptoms on Saturday January 19th. I felt something else was going on and literally said to my husband "she needs to go to the vet. I don't want to wait until tomorrow, take her to the emergency animal hospital to make sure it isn't systemic and life threatening." Little did I know how right I was. They felt something in her throat. They sedated her and removed dog food kibbles from her esophygus. Saying she should be ok. She came home and later that night spit of and coughed. She had an extremely bad night. Monday afternoon Jim took her to her regular vet. She had the senior vet in to consult. Both agreed she should have a scope so refered us to another vet the next morning. They sent home literature about megaesophygus, thyroid problems and myasthenia gravis. On Tuesday the new vet thoroughly examined Patches and questioned me regarding what we had seen. She talked to me about the ME and MG primarily. She did not recommend the scope as she did not feel there was a blockage which would be the reasosn for the scope. She did however, recommend a barium exray of the esophygus as she strongly suspected ME. This was confirmed. (we had already started holding Patches upright for feeding based on the literature the regular vet sent home on Monday). She drew blood and send for labs for thyroid and MG. Tuesday and Wednesdsay Patches had some much needed peaceful sleep and the feedings and watering upright seemed to lessen the symptoms and minimize regurgitation. Thursday morning she could not walk even to the end of the block. and had trouble getting up on the bed via the ottoman we placed at the foot of the bed for her. When we left for work she was on the bed. At lunch she met Jim at the door and went outside where her hind quarters just gave out and could not raise back up. Jim helped her inside. She never did raise her back end again. I called both vets and it was recommended that thyroid meds be started and a low dose of prednizone (Tuesday xrays showed the start of pnemonia most likely from aspiration from the ME and she was already on antibiotics and stomach meds). Saturday we carried her into the regular vet. She gave her injection of antibiotics and set up for an injection of nistamite (not sure of the name) to test for a positive response for MG. She did not want to wait until the lab results came back from the west coast. 5 hours later there was not any significant change and we went home with our Patches. Sunday back to another vet hospital for the Tinsolon test and again no response to the meds. Though we did not talk about it we both knew that we would be making a final trip back to the vet with Patches. She past away quickly that evening at the age of 10 years. She was the best....she rarely barked; she likes to grunt instead. She didn't run after and fetch balls but she would swipe cherry tomatos off the vine and play tomato romping around the backyard, throwing them in the air and catching them. What a hoot.... She was the love of the neighborhood. She loved to see all the kids and dogs on her many walks. She was strong and would take me for a walk more then I would take her. She loved to give kisses and have her belly rubbed. She would crawl on her belly down the hallway ever morning totally excited for her morning run/walk with her daddy. When I would take her I would say bellybelly and down she would go and crawl across the neighbors lawn up at and driveway then down on the next lawn and bellybelly. I could feed her a dog bone from my mouth and never worry about it. She was so gentle and hesitant. She didn't just wag her tail she wagged her body. She wagged her tail until the end; she could stand but she could wag that tail; amazing. I miss her nose nudging me to do her nose (she loved it scratched, stroked and kissed. She lived to make her people family and friends happy. She was a HAPPY girl. Silly, loving, gentle, thoughtful and generous. This happened so fast she didn't have a chance. We are adopting another dog (a rescue dog that needs a home). This is solely due to Patches; she brought us such joy we owe it to her and another in need of a home to be loved and cared for. Thank you for reading about our beloved Patches. karen
Karen, I'm so sorry for your loss of Patches. She sounds like she was an excellent dog. Thank you for rescuing another deserving dog in her memory.
:ghug: So sorry for your loss.
I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Patches. :ghug:
my sons 4 year old akita keiko died one mo ago at uof pa in phila over nite this happened he was perfectly normal no signs of this they tried everything to help him he fought too my son was there when he passes he was a pedigree from a show dog mother his mother is grieving for him still his name was keiko meaning blessed
My dog, Boss, is a beautiful bluenose brindle pitt, only 2 years old. A week ago he was swimming in the pool and playing fetch. He drooled more than normal the past week, but didn't seem unusual, as he was growing and had a huge head. The next morning, Boss had a stiff back and rear legs. He had difficulty walking, but it appeared he was favoring his abdomen, so we thought he had a blockage. We raced him to our vet, and after 2 days there, x-rays, ultrasounds, prostate exams, etc. and blood work that showed elevated muscular enzymes. Our vet assumed neuromuscular, and toyed with thought of MG, but sent us home and referred us to a specialist. 3 days after the start of his severe symptoms, we got Boss in to the specialist. The next xrays taken, showed Megasophagus and Aspirite pneumonia. The specialist gave Boss a shot of Atropine and Teslin, and Boss walked for the first time in days within minutes! He wagged his tail and I knew I couldn't give up on him. We kept him in ICU to treat the pneumonia. Boss came home yesterday, with high hopes. He was full of excitement and although he lost a ton of weight, he looked good. Everytime I give him his meds now, his stomach gets so upset he vomits. I have found some blood in his vomit now. I just started treating him with Prilosec when he gets his meds to hopefully relieve his discomfort. I have 2 kids that can't bare to lose him, nor can we. I am trying to stay positive, but w/ a medical degree, I see the bad. Boss is only 2, pleas tell me I can get him normal enough to at least live a couple more years???? SOOOOO SADD!
Guest wrote:
My dog, Boss, is a beautiful bluenose brindle pitt, only 2 years old. A week ago he was swimming in the pool and playing fetch. He drooled more than normal the past week, but didn't seem unusual, as he was growing and had a huge head. The next morning, Boss had a stiff back and rear legs. He had difficulty walking, but it appeared he was favoring his abdomen, so we thought he had a blockage. We raced him to our vet, and after 2 days there, x-rays, ultrasounds, prostate exams, etc. and blood work that showed elevated muscular enzymes. Our vet assumed neuromuscular, and toyed with thought of MG, but sent us home and referred us to a specialist. 3 days after the start of his severe symptoms, we got Boss in to the specialist. The next xrays taken, showed Megasophagus and Aspirite pneumonia. The specialist gave Boss a shot of Atropine and Teslin, and Boss walked for the first time in days within minutes! He wagged his tail and I knew I couldn't give up on him. We kept him in ICU to treat the pneumonia. Boss came home yesterday, with high hopes. He was full of excitement and although he lost a ton of weight, he looked good. Everytime I give him his meds now, his stomach gets so upset he vomits. I have found some blood in his vomit now. I just started treating him with Prilosec when he gets his meds to hopefully relieve his discomfort. I have 2 kids that can't bare to lose him, nor can we. I am trying to stay positive, but w/ a medical degree, I see the bad. Boss is only 2, pleas tell me I can get him normal enough to at least live a couple more years???? SOOOOO SADD!

I have no experience with this condition, but I hope that Boss recovers to enjoy many more years with your family.
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