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Pug Health Guide


This is educational information only and is not intended
to replace advice or treatment from your veternarian.

Please discuss any health problems or concerns
you may have with your own veternarian.


Pug Brains


We are not talking about how smart and trainable Pugs are, but rather some serious problems that can occur in the central nervous system or brain of the Pug.

PUG DOG ENCEPHALITIS (PDE) - this is a problem unique to Pugs which strikes terror in the hearts of those of us who know and love them. PDE is a fatal inflammatory brain disease. We don't know exactly why Pugs get it. We are beginning to explore ways to treat it. There is no way to determine with accuracy if your Pug has it except on the brain tissue of dead dogs. The Pugs who are affected are usually young. The dogs will have seizures, circling, blindness, coma and death, all in the space of a few days to a few weeks. The Pug Dog Club of America, along with the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, has contributed to studies which has directly led to the creation of a test for the genetic marker for PDE - or NME, Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis as it is scientifically called. This is the first step towards identifying, understanding, treating and possibly eradicating this horrible disease from our Pug population. If you would like to make a monetary donation for ongoing research in Pug health, you can send a donation to the Canine Health Foundation, 251 West Garfield Rd. Suite, 160, Aurora, OH 44202. Please specify that your donation is for the Pug Club donor advised fund. You can also donate to the Pug Dog Club of America health fund by sending a contribution directly to the PDCA Treasurer.

EPILEPSY - not all Pugs who have seizures have PDE. We see a number of Pugs who have idiopathic epilepsy, or seizures for no known reason. Many of these dogs can be controlled quite well on anticonvulsant medication, such as Phenobarbital or Potassium Bromide. The goal of therapy is to decrease the severity and frequency of the seizures. You will need to work closely with your vet to determine the correct drug and dosage for your pet.

NERVE DEGENERATION - this syndrome of older Pugs doesn't have an official name and little is known about how or why Pugs get it. Owners of affected dogs may notice their Pug dragging his back toes, staggering in the rear quarters, and having trouble jumping up or down. The back sometimes gets progressively more arched and the dog may become incontinent. The dogs don't appear to be painful and they often get worse very slowly. Often, the front half of the dog is still in good shape and is strong and some of these dogs can do well with a special cart for their rear halves. Anti-inflammatory medications don't seem to change the course of the progressive weakness. Luckily, Pugs are portable, easy to pick up and easy to pick up after, so owners can often help maintain a good quality of life for these dogs.