I have been a fan
of your site since 1997 when I found my first Dane starving
on the side of the road. The information on your site was a great help and inspiration
to me after jumping (accidentally) headfirst into the world of Danes. Your DaDanes
of DaWeek had me rolling, and I have to say my favorite is still Kitty Cones.
But you also prepared me for the awful health issues that plague Danes, and often
bring a premature death to a breed that already has a short life span. When
my first Dane died it affected me so profoundly that I was driven to write a
detailed account of what happened. It even was
published in DaneWorld magazine.
My problem today is with
my fourth rescue Dane, Akeem. Last Sunday night he started acting uncomfortable,
in a way that reminded me of my last Dane Bailor's "non-typical
bloat" (because he didn't swell up in the abdomen, the vet didn't diagnose
it until 10 hours later on the operating table, and it was too late). Anyway,
we woke our new vet up at 3:00 am and took him in. Again, he wasn't distended
much, and he was running a fever which confused the doctor, but he tranquilized,
tubed and gave him an anti-inflammatory for his fever. This seemed to relax him,
and we thought we were out of the woods, but left him for observation at the
The next day we went to see Akeem
and he was looking depressed again. He was walking very stiff-legged and later
could not bend his neck without letting out a heartbreaking YELP. My vet immediately
wondered if it was a neurological problem, or a blown disk. He decided to give
him a myelogram and take a spinal tap while injecting the dye. Turns out he has
a very rare form of meningitis that my vet has only seen once in his 30 year
career. It's called Localized
GME: Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis.
Very quickly it progressed and Akeem couldn't get up, walk, or even hold his
head up. He had that blank stare like he didn't even know who we were. It was
like we were watching him fade towards a painful death right in front of our
Just as I was considering putting
him down, our vet suggested we could try giving him a steroid drip overnight,
but he wasn't optimistic. It was a miracle — the next morning Akeem
could lift his head up and he was happy to see us. Apparently GME is fatal, but
it seems our quick response to his discomfort, plus the vet's quick diagnosis
and aggressive steroid therapy had brought him back from the brink. By Thursday
he was walking around, albeit with a pretty wobbly back end, but amazing compared
to just days before. He is home now, but we are watching closely for a relapse
of symptoms (basically a fever) and watching his breathing for signs of discomfort.
Apparently we may be able to suspend the inevitable with another dose of steroids,
but if it is GME it will get him sooner than later.
I was wondering if anyone else
out there has ever had a dog with meningitis, and how they treated it. Also any
thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated. I am sending some photos of
'Keem. I am partial, but I think he is beautiful and would make a great DaDane of
DaWeek; and I would be honored and grateful if you thought so too.
Thanks again for
your time and efforts in supporting the Great Dane community!