Living with a dog with MMM

Spirit, long before his diagnosis of MMM

Spirit is our 6 year old blue-eyed sibe, he’s a typical husky – vocal, does as he pleases, thinks he’s the boss, but he’s loving and against our original expectations has become an important part of our family.

First signs that something wasn’t right

We first began to notice something wasn’t right a couple of months ago, he appeared to yelp when yawning but we weren’t sure if he was just making a yawny noise (if you know you know), then one day when my other half went to stroke him he panicked and bit him then cried and yelped. We realised something wasn’t right. The following day we booked an appointment with the vet. All day he was depressed, laid and ignored us, he even snubbed freshly cooked chicken. We knew he wasn’t well. Once the time came we got his lead out and he seemed to transform miraculously into an excited dog again. The vet couldn’t see any obvious signs of anything wrong and gave us a weeks supply of medication to see if it made any difference. It didn’t, except for making him drink lots and pee lots.

We took him back a week later and explained he didn’t seem much different. The vets explained they suspected MMM – Masticatory Muscle Myositis. They wanted to put him under sedation to try open his mouth though and have a look inside, something he wouldn’t allow anyone to do whilst he was awake. This was important so they could rule out anything dental. We booked the appointment for the following week. Spirit was sedated and when his mouth was opened he yelped and cried, the sedation wasn’t enough, he’d have to be put under a general anaesthetic. Under GA they were only able to open his mouth 4cms. The muscles were so wasted and worn. How hadn’t we noticed he couldn’t open his mouth much? Hindsight is a wonderful thing I guess.

Feeling sorry for himself

Then came the diagnosis

The vets diagnosed Spirit with Masticatory Muscle Myositis that day, he was prescribed 60mgs of Prednisone/day, Tramadol and Omeprazole. We weren’t warned about the effect of Prednisone on his remaining muscle, but fortunately I’d found a Facebook group for other owners of dogs with MMM who told me that this would be likely, and boy did he just waste away in front of our eyes.

4th December – one day after diagnosis!

We started Spirit on his medication that very night (7 tablets on a night, 6 on a morning) – fortunately he’s a bit of a glutton who swallows certain snacks without even chewing so getting medication in isn’t a problem.

The following day I was already noticing improvement. We had gone out and on our return he was excited to see us, tail wagging, bum wagging, talking to us, and doing the funny excited run dogs so when they’re giddy! I realised I’d not seen him like that for a few weeks. The improvements came quick, he was back to stealing food from the table when you turned your back, stealing from bins given half a chance. Within 3 day’s he ate a crispy pizza crust, he had previously struggled to eat a slice of cheese which was why we originally suspected a dental issue. This was amazing. It’ll be 4 weeks in 2 day’s that he was diagnosed and he’s doing amazingly but the muscle wastage in his head, presumably as a result of the Prednisone, is very noticeable. He looks like a skeleton with skin on. He has noticeable dips in his skull area that weren’t obvious before. The vet said that had he not been a fluffy husky the damage would have been more obvious, but even now he is fluffy it’s very obvious. I hope that over time and with a good diet he will build some if not all of the muscle back up around his head and face, but if not as long as he can eat and is happy that’s all that really matters.

Before and after