I know that I have posted about this before, but would like to do so again since it seems to be so rare especially for a cocker. Everything I have read and learned about this illness is more in larger dogs -shepherds, doberman, lab, etc.
Last May our Diva who loves playing ball would run after her ball and then come back without it because she knew she would get her treat
we didn't think anything about it as we'd motion her back out and eventually she would bring her ball back. We are not sure how long this was going on before we began to notice other things
like she was having trouble chewing her hard dog food (so I started to wet it down) and then I felt that one of her eyes was wandering. At the time we were not at home (at brothers in Gardnerville, NV) so the vet recommended we take her to an ophthalmologist in Reno (as did her DR at home in Oregon when I called him) as she had double cataract surgery 6 months before. Well her eyes were fine, pressure, etc.
A few days later she went off her food completely so back into the hospital in Gardnerville. We were lucky with finding this wonderful Vet who got onto the web and looked up "G.D. Sheldon" who is a professor, DR, DVM at UC Davis: plus to much to mention who is the top DR in the USA on "Masticatory Muscle Myositis". This is an autoimmune disorder and can not only be diagnosised by exam, but by a very special blood test also which is almost $200.
The normal treatment is IV's, feeding by syringe: as the main indication of this illness is inability to open mounth under anesthesia (until the animal can finally get their mouth open to slurp puree food), predisone in strong dose then gradual lowering to smaller levels. We are now at 5 1/2 months on 5 mg every other day for another month and then will go to 5 mg every 3rd day for a couple of months. Whether or not Diva will have to remain on a maintenance dose we still do not know at this point as MMM can be a reoccurring illness which we do not want to happen.
We have noticed that the mushy muscle in the top of her head is now smooth and rounded out as it was before she contracted the problem and the sides of her jaw are firmed up so we are very hopeful that the muscle has toned back up. She also eats her hard dry dog food with no problems, and of course hard treats to
What has surprised me is that I have not seen this written about in any of the forum postings. I am amazed that there hasn't been at least one other cocker out there diagnosised with this, but then G.D. Shelton is at UC Davis in Calif although she travels and lectures all over the USA so maybe there has been and I just haven't caught it on the forum. Also you would have had to have a neurologist involved somewhere and a very sharp vet to catch this.
So by posting this again I hope that if any of you have any signs of this illness it will help you to catch it early as I feel we have done with Diva
. She is 3 /12 yrs old and has had enough illness in her younger years now that I am praying her older years will be with less health problems.
But I do hope that all of you on the forum will keep this in the back of your minds, or on a card so that you know who to contact or have your vet check with; or even call up G. D. Shelton on your own and read about this illness so that if something should arise you will be prepared.
Hoping everyone has a good day