View Full Version : Rottie with loss of facial/head muscle mass

01-13-2005, 01:32 AM
One of my rotties, Rex has lost almost all the muscle/tissue in his head over the past year. The vet says this is a common disease in rotties (I never heard of it!!) and that eventually it progresses to where they can not open their mouths (they lose the muscles there too) and will have to be euthanized.

Anyone heard of this?
he said my dog still had very excellent range of motion in and around the mouth and it could take years to cause a problem for him (he is already 8 years old). I can't seem to find anything about it on the web, and I've never heard of this. I am not home at the moment, but when I get home I will post some pictures so you can see what I mean. His head is very boney and pointy now.


anne mosby
01-21-2005, 07:20 AM
I've never heard of this either, very strange indeed. I've had a look about too and cann't find any info. You need to ask the vet for the medical term for this then maybe you may find something about it.

anne mosby
01-21-2005, 07:39 AM
Just had another look take a read of this link, dobn't know if this is what you mean.

http://www.vetinfo.com/dhead.html#Masticatory myopathy possible

01-21-2005, 06:56 PM
Hmm, this part sounds EXACTLY like what he has. I am going to post it here so I have it for future reference. I will post pictures this week too. Darn, I am having a bad month with my dogs for sure!


I don't think that craniomandibular osteopathy is very likely at this age. The list of possible
differentials (possible diseases) for the symptoms seen would depend some on the appearance of
X-rays of the area. However, I would worry most about a myopathy or neuropathy with the
symptoms you are describing. Masticatory myopathy affects the muscles of mastication (chewing),
leading to atrophy of the muscles. This causes the appearance of the skull to change dramatically and
for bony prominances to occur where none were previously visible. The amount of muscle loss can
be amazing in these cases as the muscles are very thick over the bone, usually. It can occur on one
side, or both sides. It is not too unusual for it to occur on one side and then later to occur on the
other side, too. This is thought to be an immune mediated disease in most cases and it will often
respond to therapy with medications that suppress the immune system. In some cases this can
eventually lead to problems with opening the mouth, so it is best to try to treat it, if possible, I think.
Nerve damage can also cause muscle atrophy but is less responsive to therapy. Other possibilities,
such as cancer seem possible, as well. In any case, it does seem best to either get a second opinion
locally or see a specialist.

It should be possible to find an internal medicine specialist or veterinary neurologist in Dallas, but I
am not familiar enough with the specialists there to be able to make any specific recommendations. If
your vet doesn't know what to do, he or she should be willing to arrange for a referral to a specialist
for you.

I would be surprised if an MRI or CT scan was necessary to diagnose this condition but wouldn't be
able to rule out that possibility. The first step is to try to rule out a myopathy, though. If that isn't the
problem, then it would be reasonable to consider looking for other problems and if necessary to find
them, doing tests like an MRI or CT scan.

I can't really help much with the possibility of a dietary change leading to this problem. I am not
aware of any documentation of that occurring in dogs but I couldn't absolutely rule it out as a
possibility, either.

Mike Richards, DVM

01-23-2005, 12:11 PM
Here is a collection of pictures of his head so you can see what I mean.
It is most dramatic between October and now!

01-23-2005, 12:35 PM
This condition exists in a number of breeds, the link I am posting mentions SharPeis but I have seen it in goldens and golden mixes.

I am shocked that YOUR veterinarian did not mention the fact that it is immune mediated and should be treated immediately with steroids, ESPECIALLY since it has progressed so far since October.


01-31-2005, 02:26 PM
I'm not an expert, but, I have found that long term amino acid deficiencies also can lead to various tissue degeneration - symptoms can include muscular degeneration. Has he ever had curly whiskers, heart problems, adrenal problems or respiratory problems of any kind?