Pug encephalitis is a fatal neurological disease that is unique to Pug dogs. It is characterized by an inflammation of the brain tissues, and while the specific cause is unknown, some research suggests that it may be hereditary because it tends to strike related Pugs.
All Pugs affected by encephalitis will succumb to the disease, and treatment options are limited to supportive care that can make your dog more comfortable while they are still alive.
Treatment for Pug Encephalitis
If your dog is showing symptoms of encephalitis, you should take them into the veterinarian immediately for diagnosis. Diagnosis will be carried out to positively identify encephalitis and exclude any other diseases that can result in similar symptoms (e.g., epilepsy).
Diagnostic testing typically includes:
- A physical examination and review of your dog’s medical history
- CT Scan or MRI
- Cerebrospinal fluid analysis
- Biopsy of neural or muscle tissue
Once encephalitis has been identified, supportive treatment options will be discussed. There is no cure for encephalitis, and most Pugs will succumb to the disease within months of the onset of symptoms. The goal of supportive treatment is to make the dog more comfortable and reduce the frequency of seizures in the final weeks or months of their life.
Supportive treatment options for Pug encephalitis include:
Anticonvulsants: Seizures are perhaps the most common symptom of Pug encephalitis. To control or prevent them, anticonvulsants such as Primidone or K-BroVet may be prescribed.
Steroids: Corticosteroids such as Triamcinolone or Dexamethasone may be prescribed to reduce inflammation of the brain tissues.
At-Home Care: Once your Pug returns home from the vet, offer them plenty of fresh water, a clean and comfortable place to rest, and some peace and quiet. Your veterinarian may also subscribe pain medications to help with any head or neck discomfort that is not relieved with corticosteroids.
Depending on the severity of the condition, some owners may choose to put their Pug to sleep rather than put them through the pain and seizures that may punctuate the rest of their days. You can discuss this option with your veterinarian if your dog’s days are just too unpleasant.
Can You Prevent Pug Encephalitis?
There is no way to prevent Pug encephalitis. However, because some research suggests that the disease may be hereditary, many veterinarians recommend avoiding breeding Pugs that have been diagnosed with the disease or who show symptoms such as seizures or other neurological problems. If you purchased a Pug from a breeder and the Pug develops encephalitis, you should inform the breeder so that they can stop breeding their dogs and contact the owners of your Pug’s littermates to make them aware of the condition.
In addition, if your Pug has been diagnosed with encephalitis, you can offer to donate their remains to veterinary science after they have died so that the disease can be studied further. With luck, more research will shed light on the causes of this mysterious condition and how to prevent it.
More on Pugs
About Pug Dogs
Obedience And House Training for Your Pug
The Best Dogs for Children
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.