I know this is mainly a forum for dog nutrition but I am branching out looking for information. I will try to make this as short as possible. About a month ago, Reese (our 4 & a half year old Golden) was outside playing with a stick and came back to me crying. I examined her mouth and didn’t find anything. For the next few days she was very sore when opening her mouth too wide. Took her to the vet and they sedated her and checked her mouth and did X-rays with everything returning normal. She was put on meloxicam and the doctor warned me about MMM. She quickly got better and wasn’t as sore but I noticed she still wouldn’t open her mouth all the way when yawning and seemed to be careful when picking up balls. Another vet said it could be TMJ and to continue the nsaid for another week. Other than not being able to fully yawn, she seemed to be completely fine. Eating fine, no drool, no whining, etc. I talked to the vet and they recommended sending out the 2M antibody test and starting prednisone. I did some of my own research and decided to get a 2nd opinion from the holistic vet first. Only thing is, she was booked out 3 weeks. In the meantime, we were careful with her jaw. No bones or chewing and no ball playing. She didn’t get any worse and I once again only noticed her yawn being off. Fast forward, Reese had her initial appointment last week and the doctor there agreed with MMM. Said the muscles around her jaw bone felt almost non-existing. She also commented on how her cheek muscles looked like they were slightly sunken in. We sent out the 2M antibody test and it came back as a borderline antibody titer and they recommend a muscle biopsy to confirm. Vet agrees with me that since her symptoms aren’t terrible that we will wait to do this since it is an invasive procedure. The holistic vet decided to put her on chinese herbs and supplements. We are also doing acupuncture weekly (for now). She said at this point since her only symptom seems to be her yawning and muscle atrophy that we don’t need to put her on prednisone, or NSAIDs. If it gets worse, we may have to. I will do anything before turning to the steroids. We are reluctant that we caught it before it progressed but doc says no vaccines or toxins that can trigger a reaction since it’s an auto immune disease. We already had been feeding partially raw and Orijen kibble which we will continue to do. She has had two acupuncture sessions and has been on the supplements for one week and I haven’t noticed improvement, but she’s also not doing worse. Anyone have any recommendations or have been through this? I read it is common in the breed but I had never heard of this disease until now. Any advice is much appreciated from me and my girl. Thanks from the both of us!
If it was my dog, I would take the dog to a board certified Internal Medicine Specialist (if you are not doing so already)
Excerpts from article below: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_masticatory_myositis.html
“Results of treatment are best early in the course of the disease. If the disease has progressed to an advanced state before treatment is initiated, there may be no response”.
“In short, treatment is suppression of the immune system usually through high doses (rather than the more commonly used lower “anti-inflammatory” doses) of prednisone or dexamethasone. High doses should be maintained until the jaw seems to open normally. After that, the dose may be gradually tapered over 6 months. In many cases the drug cannot ever be completely stopped”.
Hi Ysabella, Reese is very lucky to have you for a mum & I think your doing the right thing with Reese…. Prednisone is an awful drug, fixes 1 thing & can cause a heap of other health problems…..Do you belong to any Golden Retriever clubs or groups on Face Book…….I googled “Golden Retriever groups” & there’s a few clubs or groups on Face Book, join & ask if anyone else has a dog has M.M.M but write in full what the MMM stands for…..see what other people did & what seems to work…..do you think the kibble is OK to chew being hard, does she chew her kibble or just swallow? I was soaking Patches kibble in warm water then when it was soft, I fully drained all water & even squeezed out as much water as I could then I put the soft kibble in a blender & just blended for a few sec to break up the swollen kibble….
“The holistic vet decided to put her on chinese herbs and supplements. We are also doing acupuncture weekly (for now)”.
Masticatory Muscle Myositis is a very serious condition, if it was my dog, I would be inclined to take a much more aggressive approach based on conventional medicine. Prednisone can be a very effective medication when used under the supervision of a specialist.
Sometimes steroids are necessary…..
Thank you everyone for the feedback, it is much appreciated. First and foremost, I am curious as to why an internal specialist is being recommended? In this disease, western medicine’s only recommendation is steroids.. That is why we branched out. The holistic vet we see did say, if she doesn’t respond to the treatment she is on, that steroids will be necessary and I understand that. But we are trying to avoid that at all costs. I have read about many dogs with this disease who did much worse on the prednisone and ended up having liver damage. Liver damage is irreversable and if I don’t have to put my girl through that, I wont. Our regular vet also agrees with waiting on starting prednisone, for now. As Susan stated, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. I know this is much different but I saw my brother die of stage 4 cancer MUCH faster because of chemotherapy. I have branched out onto the Golden Retriever Forum and many dogs have done wonderfully with chinese herbs, and acupuncture. So, that is why we started there. Once again, I am very grateful for any and all feedback 🙂
Best of luck.
PS: Keep In mind, that the people you are taking advice from on these anonymous forums often are not veterinary healthcare professionals, and may be giving you incorrect information.
Anon I am much aware of that. I was hoping someone would have experienced this or was familiar with this and would have some input. I know it’s probably a one in a million chance, but if I find something that might be able to help, it will be worth it!
My 2 1/2 year old female Dalmatian had a preliminary diagnosis of MMM today. We are awaiting results of blood test to return in 7-10 days before starting steroids as this can cause a false result in the testing. I am searching for other owners that are going through the same thing with their pet. I am hoping to get some ideas as to what I can feed her to help her through this difficult time. She can not eat kibble and will barely eat canned food. She can barely open her mouth and basically has to squish her nose down into the bowl and that spreads her lips back far enough for her teeth to gently grab a morsel of food. It’s heartbreaking to watch. She began taking her treats very slowly about 2 weeks again or not wanting them at all. I didn’t notice a change in her eating because I own several dogs and assumed she was eating her food because the bowls were always empty. I was away on vacation for 7 days last week so I wasn’t present to see any regression in eating. I own a boarding and grooming facility, and had my kennel manager taking care of my dogs inside my home for me while away. She didn’t notice any changes either, but often fed my dogs then went back outside to the kennel facility that I have located on the property where I live.
I feel horrible that my poor Penelope may have suffered in extreme pain for almost 2 weeks with out anyone noticing her pain. I only discovered one of her symptoms late Sunday night while petting and rubbing her head, I felt extremely large knots under her cheeks. When I tried to open and look into her mouth for any foreign body or an abscessed tooth, she whined in pain and pulled away. That’s when I realized that she wasn’t able to open her mouth. I separated her from my other dogs and tried giving her some canned food. That’s when I saw her inability to hardly open her mouth and get the food inside. Normally she would gobble down soft food because she is on a hard kibble diet with only a tablespoon of canned mixed with it.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can feed her while awaiting results to start the prednisone? I tried wetting the soft food down to make a gruel and she won’t eat that either? PLEASE HELP me find a solution, so she doesn’t develop anorexia as well. The Vet just told me to soften her kibble, but that is NOT going to work!
So sorry for your girl, it sounds awful, I dont know anything about MMM…
About making her eat, I wouldn’t push her head into the bowl of food, instead get a spoon & sppon soft blended food in side of her mouth under her to lip, like you do when giving syringed water also start her on electrolytes with water, give every hour if she isnt eating or drinking water…..Do you live America? I live Australia & we have a really good dehydrated raw food called “Fronteir Pets” it has no bone, smells beautiful & is human grade ingredients, the meat is free range chickens, pigs or cows, I smash the balls up then add water & the food all softens up & the dog or cat can just lick up the food or it can be put into a big 20ml syringe & put in the side of your dogs mouth slowly push syringe…
Can you find a dehydrated food like “Honest Kitchen” Zeal or Hope formula, there’s a few formula’s with grains or no grains, higher in fat higher in fiber & some are higher in protein you need to look at the ingredients & see which formula will suit your girl, Honest Kitchen has samples you can try, if she takes a steriod, then look for a lower fat diet cause of the acid reflux & ulcers steriod can cause, the vet put my dog on a ant acid med before 1/2 hour before he took the steriod with food to be on the safe side… you add water & the Honest kitchen reconstitutes or can you get some sweet potatoes peel & boil also get some lean chicken breast or turkey mince & cook then put 1/2 sweet potato & 1/2 meat into a blender & blend, this will be easier to eat & spoon into side of mouth if she cant lick up food, even cottage cheese is good, scrambled egg, Predisone can cause acid reflux so your girl will have to have food in her stomach first then take the predisone mash into a bit of sweet potato or pumkin….
Have you looked on facebook for any groups for Canine Masticatory Muscle Myositis or Yahoo also has groups best to talk with people who have dogs that are going thru the same health problems also find a vet or a holistic vet that knows all about MMM cause the only way to eat soften kibble is make the kibble soft then drain out all the water, I use to 1/2 the swollen kibbles in the bowl then cuff my hand over side of bowl & kibble & squeeze out all the water then I put swollen kibbles in a blender & blended in sections, the kibble would fluffed up, it depended on which kibble I used, some brands of kibble when I soaked in water then drained all the water then put in the blender the kibble turned to goo I suppose if she can lick she can lick it up, another food people feed is baby food..
Try mixing the wet food or kibble soaked overnight in plain chicken broth or water and a little bit of chopped up bland boiled chicken meat.
I am not familiar with MMM, It sounds awful. Work closely with your vet and consider asking for a referral to a veterinary internal medicine specialist.
If it is within your means, I would go right to the specialist .
PS: A side effect of prednisone is increased appetite and weight gain, so keep an eye open for these symptoms once started.
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