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Myasthenia Gravis

By: Dr. Arnold Plotnick

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Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve. Administer all prescribed medication as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet.

If aspiration pneumonia was present, return to your veterinarian for follow-up radiographs to see if the condition is resolving.

Feed a semi-solid or liquefied food from an elevated height, and keep the dog's head elevated for 10 to 15 minutes after feeding, if esophageal dysfunction is part of the dog's syndrome.

Return for regular check-ups to monitor the level of anti-ACh receptor antibody in the circulation. The level should be low if medical therapy has been successful. A check of the antibody level is recommended every 4 to 8 weeks.

The prognosis for recovery from myasthenia gravis is guarded. Most affected dogs die within 12 months from aspiration pneumonia. The pneumonia may come on suddenly and cause death, or may be a chronic recurring problem causing debilitation and eventual euthanasia. Occasionally, a mildly affected dog will respond well to medical therapy and may have their disease go into remission for many months.

To talk to other pet owners with dogs affected with this condition, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/megaesophagus.

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