|There is hope! Payton is thriving at 8 years old despite being diagnosed with PDE at age 3 1/2!|
Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is a unique form of brain inflammation affecting pugs. Clinically, the disease is described as a necrotizing meningoencephalitis. This means that the brain and the layer of tissues surrounding the brain are abnormally inflamed. The term "necrotizing" describes the clinical way in which portions of the brain are literally dying.
The cause of the condition is unknown. Although infectious disorders are known to cause encephalitis, infection is apparently not the cause of PDE. Recent studies suggest that an abnormal response by the body's immune system may play a role in the development of the disorder. It is believed to be a genetic condition, as littermates and closely related dogs are often affected. The most current research indicates that susceptibility is associated with the dog leukocyte antigen region of dog chromosome 12. [Ok, that was a bit too technical for me, so I hope I haven’t lost anyone.] Dr. Kimberly Greer has helped to develop a UC Davis test that will determine risk for developing PDE in Pug Dogs and for selecting mates that will produce puppies that are at decreased risk, but there is still no definitive diagnostic test and only analysis of the brain after death can confirm suspicions of the disease.
Symptoms of PDE might include: seizures, pressing of the head against a wall or furniture, a staggering walk, abnormal gait, walking in circles, apparent blindness, lethargy, depression, staring off into space, neck pain or stiff neck, and intermittent screaming.
When Payton first got sick, she did not display the entire classic profile for PDE so do not assume that the list of symptoms (like those I listed above) found in on-line resources is accurate or complete. Ok, so now that we’ve got some background, tomorrow’s post will focus on Payton’s story – her diagnosis.
Christy (and Payton)