Monday, 23 September 2013

GME in Dogs, Support via Diet and Other DIY Health Interventions

In this article:
1.0 What is Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME);
2.0 Symptoms;
3.0 Dietary Support;
4.0 Additional Health Supporting Interventions.

1.0 What is Granulomatous
      meningoencephalomyelitis (GME)

Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME) or eningoencephalitis of unknown etiology (MUE) is an acute inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) and causes the formation of granuloma(s). Granuloma’s are a ball-like mass of immune cells formed by the immune system in an attempt to block the passage of foreign substances. The resulting wall may occur in a single location or involve multiple locations such as the brain, spinal cord and surrounding membranes. GME can cause severe and sometimes irreversible damage to the CNS. There are multiple forms of GME...

1.1 Forms of GME (MUE)

1.1.1 Focal GME
  • A chronic progressive condition which typically takes 3 to 6 months to fully develop;
  • Focal GME mimics the effects of space-occupying tumors/masses;
  • Affects either the brain, or;
  • The spinal cord.

1.1.2 Multifocal GME (also called Disseminated GME)
  • An acute progressive condition, which typically takes 2 to 6 weeks to fully develop;
  • Affects the brain, or;
  • Brain and spinal cord;
  • Most common locations affected are the;
  • Lower brain stem;
  • Cervical spinal cord;
  • Meninges;
  • This form kills 25% of its victims within the first week. 

1.1.3 Occular GME
  • This form can be acute, progressive or static;
  • Affects the eye region of the body;
  • Either affecting the eyes unilaterally (one eye is affected) or bilaterally (two eyes are affected).
In all three forms of the disease neurological issues and pain from damage to the meningeal (protective spine and brain membranes) often result.

2.0 Symptoms

2.1 Symptoms vary by type of GME / MUE…
  • Behavioural Changes;
  • Blindness;
  • Circling;
  • Constant pressing of the body with force (hard) against objects;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Seizures;
  • Weakness of;
  • Hind legs – parapresis;
  • Front and hind legs (all four limbs) – tetraparesis;

Conventional Clinical Treatment 
  • As commonly prescribed by conventional veterinarians... 
      • Corticosteriods are the most common drug used;
      • When used for a prolonged period of time corticosteroids can cause major debilitation and death - for an insight into the uses, side effects and dangers of this class of drugs read here.
    • Leflunomide a de novo pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor may be used;
    • Raditation therapy may also be used.
Alternative NaturalTreatments to Corticosteroids 
  • There are many natural alternatives to Corticosteroids that do not have the adverse side effects of the steroidal and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)... 
    • For a comprehensive guide to anti-inflammatory, immune system boosting alternatives read here.

3.0 Dietary Support

3.1 The Main Diet

Make sure that your dog’s diet (food and treats) are 100% grain-free - no corn, no soy, no rice, no wheat etc. Grain is an inflammatory. As well, the grain used in pet food is often contaminated with aflatoxins, chemical-based preservatives, and other toxins and carcinogens such as artificial food colouring and artificial flavouring, all of which are immune system suppressors and renal system stressors. A dog with GME simply cannot afford to have their system further placed under stress.

You need to keep your dog’s immune system as strong as possible and reduce exposure to ingested toxins.

In support of this requirement it is a very good idea to get your dog completely off of commercially made processed dog food and instead...

3.1.2 Feed Your Dog… Homemade Cooked or Raw Food Diet
  • Home-Made grain-free, nutrient rich, immune system supporting food;
  • You can use this recipe, or
  • Feed a good quality bones and raw food diet (BARF),
  • and... Go Organic

Go organic with your dog’s food – as much as you possibly can. Your dog with GME needs his/her exposure to ingested toxins eliminated as much as is possible!

If for whatever reason you are not able to cope with homemade or raw food then choose a better quality grain-free commercial processed dog food such as Orijen, Acana or Evo.

3.1.3 Important Dietary Supplements

You should also supplement your dog’s daily diet with the following…

Berries - Fresh or Frozen Thawed (mashed/chopped)
  • Blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries;
  • Daily amount...
    • 1 tbs for tea cup dogs;
    • 1/8 cup for small dogs;
    • 1/4 cup for medium dogs;
    • 1/3 cup for large dogs.

Coconut oil


  • A good source Omega 6-fatty acid with many health benefits – read here to understand more about benefits, how to choose a good product and on introducing coconut oil to your dog’s diet.
  • Daily Dosage:
    • ¼ teaspoon for every 10 lbs of body weight twice daily, or 
    • ½ teaspoon for every 10 lbs of body weight once daily.

Papaya - Digestive Enzymes

  • You can use fresh finely minced Papaya or purchase a good quality supplement with no fillers, no slipping agents, etc.
  • The enzymes in papaya:
    • Help to irritate and destroy worms in the animals GI Tract;
    • The enzyme papain aids in the digestion of proteins and also helps alleviate allergies;
    • Papaya promotes the health of the cardiovascular system;
    • Papaya helps provide protection against colon cancer;
    • Papaya has anti-inflammatory qualities (important if your dog suffers from conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, etc.);
    • Helps to prevent macular degeneration;
    • Papaya is:
    • A rich source of antioxidants including:
    • B vitamins;
    • Carotenes;
    • Flavonoids;
    • Folate;
    • Vitamin A, C and E;
    • Minerals:
    • Magnesium;
    • Potassium, and are:
    • And excellent source of fibre. 
To Prepare the Papaya...

  • Remove the skin of the papaya;
  • Remove the seeds;
  • Finely chop or mince by hand or using a food processor or blender;
  • Or use in powder form (in which case dosage would be as per manufacturers’ instructions).
How To Add Papaya to Your Dog’s Diet
  • Mix the papaya in with your companion animal’s regular food.
Minimum Dosage fresh Papaya
  • Small Size Dogs  - ½  tsp to 1 tsp
  • Medium Size dogs – 1 tsp to ½ tbs
  • Large Size Dogs – ½ tbs to 1 tbs

Honey - Raw Unpasturized 

  • Honey provides a diverse spectrum of health benefits and is viable immune system supporting food. But you must use raw un-pasturized honey. Pasturized honey should not be feed to dogs.
  • Daily Dosage:
    • ¼ tsp for every 20 pounds of body weight.

  • Kelp strengthens the immune system;
  • The best kelp is that which is most contaminant and toxin free:
    • Deep sea kelp;
    • Norwegian kelp.
  • Maximum Daily Dosage:
    • Small size dogs and cats - ¼ tsp
    • Medium size dogs - ½ tsp
    • Large size dogs – 1 tsp


  • I suggest using the real thing i.e. plain all natural yogurt, kefir – read this article to understand how to choose a healthy product and daily dosage;
  • Or, choose fresh sauerkrautread this article to understand how to choose a healthy product and daily dosage;
  • Or use a good probiotic supplement –read here to find out how to identify a poor quality probiotic supplement (which unfortunately most probiotic supplements are) from a quality product.

Tart Red Cherry Juice
  • You can offer your dog a little tart red cheery juice on a daily basis, either in a bowl on its own or mixed with food;
    • Use only unsweetened, no sugar or artificial sweeteners;
  • Tart red cherries contain antioxidant compound called anthocyanins that have been identified as having a high antioxidant capacity and are inflammation reducers – comparable to well known pain medications such as aspirin. 

Fish Oil - Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, immune system supporting, brain function supporting, stress alleviating – you can read more about that here and here.
  • Use;
    • Norwegian Krill Oil, or;
    • Norwegian Cod liver Oil
    • Or Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil;
    • Do not use fish-farm sourced fish oil.
  • Daily Dosage:
    • 1/8 tsp/day for extra small dogs;
    • 1/4 tsp a day for small dogs;
    • 1/2 tsp day for medium dogs;
    • 3/4 to 1 tsp for large to very large dogs, or;
    • Follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Rooibos Tea

  • Is an immune system supporting herbal tea. You can read about its health benefits, dosage and feeding guidelines in this article


  • Turmeric is an immune system supporting herb. You can read about its health benefits, dosage and feeding guidelines in this article

4.0  Additional Health Supporting

4.1 Inoculations

4.1.1 Prevent Over-Inoculation

Do not over inoculate! Inoculations suppress the immune system and as, well, contain:
    • Toxins;
    • Chemical preservatives which can also be endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic);
    • Foreign proteins;
    •  Immune irritants;
    • Mutated bacteria, and;
    •  Viruses.
In addition over-inoculation comes with a considerable risk of major health risks such as those encapsulated under the term Vaccinosis. Vaccinosis includes…
  • Mild adverse reactions to vaccination;
  • Severe adverse reactions;
  • And Illness.
The following are some of the mild adverse reactions caused by inoculations:
  • Conjunctivitis;
  • Fever and, other;
  • Flu-like symptoms;
  • Hair change;
  • Hair loss;
  • Inflammation and swelling at the injection site;
  • Lethargy;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Sneezing;
  • Stiffness;
  • Soreness;
  • Oral Ulcers.
The following are some of the severe adverse reactions caused by inoculations...
  • Allergic hypersensitivity;
  • Allergic uveitis;
  • Anaphylactic shock;
  • Behavioural change;
  • Granulomas and abscesses;
  • Hives;
  • Lameness;
  • Swelling of the face;
  • Neurological damage;
  • Respiratory Disease;
  • Vitiligo;
  • Weight loss, and;
  • In breeding females – reduction of milk production, and…
Finally some of the Illness caused by inoculations...
  • Abortion – spontaneous;
  • Anaphylaxis;
  • Autoimmune arthritis;
  • Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia;
  • Congenital abnormalities in foetus;
  • Encephalitis;
  • Fetal (embryotic) Death;
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy;
  • Infertility;
  • Myocarditis;
  • Polyneuritus;
  • Seizures;
  • Tjyroiditis;
  • Cancer - Injection-site sarcomas.
As your dog's health is already under severe strain it is important to limit additional adverse health triggers...

According to the updated guidelines of the American Animal Hospital Association:
  • Core inoculations such as:
  • Distemper and Parvo are good for 5 or more years;
  • Ardenovirus is good for 7 years;
  • Rabies is the only inoculation is that usually mandated by law;
  • In many locals rabies is a 2 or 3 year inoculation.
Non-core vaccinations such as Leptospirosis have become routine as more allopathic veterinarians push these non-core and normally unnecessary vaccinations on their clients. If your veterinarian wants to give your dog or cat non-core vaccinations ask them to give you their reason and then do some objective research before adding more inoculations.

The next upcoming trending push by veterinarians is inoculating for Lyme disease – if you do not live or walk your dog in areas frequented by high traffic of wild life (i.e. deer), Lyme disease inoculations should not be even a remote consideration.

4.2 Do Not Use Chemical-Based Insect and Parasite

4.2.1 Unless Absolutely Necessary…

Chemical based insect and parasite preventatives are powerful pesticides that are toxic and carcinogenic – they tax the immune system, the renal system and more. You can read more about that here.

4.2.2 Healthy Alternatives

There are many natural herbal, homeopathic interventions that can be used - both ingested and topical – you can find an entire series of articles on that here

5.0 Holistic Support

Holistic Wellness and Behaviorist Services

Do you need holistic advice to support your companion animal's health and well being? Become a client. Book your consultation. My professional holistic nutrition, wellness and behavioral services are available to you:
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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld



  1. Yesterday was Babe Ruth's 4 month anniversary with GME She was Diagnosed Multi Focal GME, she was diagnosed by a MRI and also a spinal Tap @ Tufts animal hospital in North Grafton MA.

    Yesteday was her 4 month check up her appointment was with the head of the neurology department since her dr was away doing a clinical study. Dr March hadn't seen Babe since her hospitalization in June. He was super impressed on how she was doing. He told me he couldn't believe that she had pulled through this, and was doing so well. He did all the neuro tests on her and also checked blood work and liver panels (waiting on these results).

    Babe Ruth's Current Meds she currently weighs 63 lbs

    Prednisone --- 15 MG's a day (10 in the am, 5 in the PM)
    Cellcept --- 500 mg's in the am
    Denamarin --- once a day pm 1 hour before evening meal
    VSL#3 --- 2 pills in the evening right before bed on an empty stomach
    Slippery Elm bark --- She gets this twice a day 1 hour after other meds
    Local Honey --- 1 tbsp twice a day mixed with the slippery elm bark
    Lecithin --- 1 pill twice a day
    Methylocobolamin b12 --- 1 pill twice a day
    Turmeric Root --- 1/4 tsp twice a day in her kibble
    Proenzymes --- 1/2 tsp twice a day in her kibble

    I feed her Merrick grain free lamb, along with home cooked meals throughout the week. My Holistic vet has given me several recipes.

    Babe also get 1/4 cup of frozen mixed berry's in the am and 1/4 cup in the pm
    2 cans of no salt sardines in water a week.

    She has accupunture every other week and water therapy once or twice a week depending on what we can fit in. She gets at least 2 15 min walks a day if not more.

    This seems like a lot but I have got it all mastered, thank you for your recommendations. I also bought the Rooibos tea and have added it to her food twice this past week.

    Again thank you for your advice, GME is a horrible disease, my girl has had a long hard fight and still has a way to go. She has suffured from continous UTI's due to have a suppressed immune systems and oral ulcerations as a side effect to Procarbazine (no longer on).

    - Christina

    1. Christina, I am so glad to hear Babe is doing better! Wonderful news - well done :>) Big paw-hug to you and Babe!!!

    2. Karen,

      With a very heavy heart I am saddened to tell you that Babe Ruth passed away this past sat. We are in shock since she was doing so well. The long term use of Prednisone had caused a blood clot whcich lodged in her lung. She had fainted while on a short walk nin the morning and was unresponsive. We were able to get her to Tufts and they ran all sorts of tests to find out what was long then they realized and started TPA which is a blood thinning drug which thins out blood clots. They were hoping to thin it so it could pass. An hour into the treatment she stopped breathing and they couldn't resesitat her. I love this girl and now I feel so broken, I know that my husband and I did everything we could but it is just not fair.


    3. Dear Christina - I am so sorry to hear this and no it is not fair :<( My thoughts are with you. I now how hard it is to loose a beloved canine family member. And yes you both did all that you could.

      My first dog Shanny ( was my best friend and soul mate. I lost her to cancer. She was the impetus for all I do today. When she passed away I lost my best friend. Dogs teach us so much and also make us better beings. You can be sure that Babe always knew just how much you love her and she will always be with you as she has helped shape who you are today, how you see things, how you understands things and how you feel things.

      Regarding the Prednisone...
      Although Prednisone has its use it is a terrible drug as it has so many severe side effects. Allopathic veterinarians rely on it heavily, so how could you know. There are many natural substances that offer alternatives to Prednisone - such as Aloe Vera Juice, Blueberries, Chamomile, Garlic, Ginger, Golden Seal, Feverfew, Tart Red Cheery Extract, Turmeric, Norwegian Cod Liver Oil, Slippery Elm Bark, Quercetin, etc.
      Unfortunately allopathic vets don't normally have a familiarity with alternative dietary and medicines so they rely on drugs such as Prednisone. Had I known what I know today my first dog Shanny would not have contracted the cancer that she did.

      My thoughts are with you at this difficult time, paw-hugs Karen

  2. Hi Karen,

    Last evening, my dog - Jasper has been diagnosed with GME. After doing some research overnight, it appears the prescribed medication Prednisone will not do Jasper any good in the long run.
    I've read through your information regarding changing his diet and have found it really useful. However, I just have one question to ask.

    If I change his diet and added the fish oil pill and necessary vitamins, how long would it take before I can stop my giving Jasper Prednisone? I would rather him off the drug as soon as possible before it causes any long term damages.

    Looking forward to your response.


    1. Hi Cass - If the diet is carefully designed complete with herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines weaning off Pred would be done over the space of several weeks.


Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats