PDE (Pug Dog Encephalitis)
What is Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE)?
PDE (Pug Dog Encephalitis) is an inflammatory disease of the brain. It will usually affect a Pug between the ages of 6 months and 7 years but most Pugs that do become affected are more commonly between the ages of 9 and 19 months. This disease is invariably fatal and has no cure.
Symptoms include: lethargy, depression, staggering walk, seizures, pushing of the head against things like walls, apparent blindness, off and on screaming, neck pain. When the disease first presents itself, one of the obvious symptoms can be something as simple as the Pug no longer jumps on and off furniture and appears to have a very stiff neck.
PDE can last from a few days to 6 months. The cause of this disease is unknown. Some believe it to be a genetic disease because littermates are often affected.
Diagnosis can be difficult because its symptoms often relate to other central nervous system diseases. In most cases the disease is diagnosed after the dog dies but it is possible that the diagnosis can be make using MRI of the brain or by analyzing the white blood cells of the spinal fluid. Treatment may help control seizures and reduce the inflammation in the brain. A vet can prescribe medication to help the Pug feel a bit more comfortable but there are no medications that will reduce all of the symptoms.
What causes PDE?
The most recent research information on the disease tends to be found on the home page of the Pug Dog Club of America as they are the primary funding underwriter for the ongoing studies of PDE.
Can I prevent PDE in my Pugs?
No. If it turns out that PDE is a genetically inherited disease, which will take a ton more research, then Pugs are born with it. The only prevention would be not to breed the parents who are carriers of the disease.