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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30776
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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hi i have a german short haired pointer. he is 5 yrs old and

Customer Question

hi i have a german short haired pointer. he is 5 yrs old and has been very active dog.just lately he keeps getting out of breath quickly, and just falls to the ground he seems to be over heating so i have to hose himdown to cool him down.am very worried my vet has checked him over the night it first happened and said he was fine, but it keeps happening
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Henry. His behavior is suggestive of myasthenia gravis - a skeletal muscle weakness due to a decrease of acetylcholine receptors at neuromuscular junctions. Acquired myashtenia gravis is fairly common and occurs in adult dogs with a bimodal age of onset with peaks at 3 and 10 years. German shorthair pointers are overrepresented for this disorder.

The acetylcholine receptor antibody test which is a serologic evaluation to detect antibodies directed against acetylcholine receptors is the gold standard for diagnosis of acquired myasthenia gravis. If confirmed, myasthenia gravis is treated with anticholinesterase drugs such as pyridostigmine. Immunosuppressive therapy is indicated when there is an inadequate response to anticholinesterase medications. Prednisone is the initial drug of choice in those cases.

The prognosis is good for patients without pharyngeal/esophageal weakness. Spontaneous remission occurs in almost 90% of affected dogs. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.