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A breed specific muscle disease known as VIZSLA INFLAMMATORY POLYMYOPATHY (VIP) has been recognised The principal clinical signs are
- swallowing problems
- excessive foamy drooling and
- muscle wasting (especially around the head)
See Vet Info tab in the sidebar. We need to hear from any vizsla owner, breeder or vet that has had experience of the disease.
Please look at the video clips to see typical swallowing problems – these are usually at the level of the pharynx. The tongue muscles too are often involved. Picking up food can be difficult and normal lapping and licking can be compromised.
Polymyositis in the young vizsla often presents with an acute episode of retching, gagging, choking, dysphagia and hypersalivation. Sometimes in the case of older individuals the onset is more insidious with just inefficient and messy eating and drinking being previously noted. Frequently there is an initial diagnosis of megaoesophagus. Fatigue, significantly elevated CK levels, an absence of a gag reflex, voice change, aspiration pneumonia, lameness/stiffness/peculiarity of gait are other common findings. Muscle wasting in the temporal and masseter areas usually follows. Where cases have been fully investigated, infectious causes of muscle inflammation (such as neosporosis or toxoplasmosis) are invariably ruled out. So too are two similar diseases – Myasthenia Gravis and Masticatory Muscle Myositis. Here is an important document prepared by G. Diane Shelton DVM, PhD, DACVIM to help veterinarians correctly distinguish and diagnose muscle disease in the vizsla. Here is a presentation on her website
Vizsla Inflammatory Polymyopathyhas been especially noted in the UK but has also been reported in other parts of Europe and also US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Below are Hunter – from Canada – and Toby- from US. They are cases submitted to ACVIM. Two years after diagnosis and treatment both are doing very well.
Vizsla Inflammatory Polymyopathy is believed to be immune mediated and on the basis of several very close family relationships (siblings for example) considered to be genetic ie inheritable. Please visit the pedigrees page to see an open registry of affected UK individuals
With prompt diagnosis and treatment VIP can usually be well controlled with combined immune suppressive protocols – typically Prednisone + Imuran (azathioprine) + gastroprotectants – these medications to be only very gradually tapered. Recently some specialists have also introduced Cyclosporine/Atopica (another immune suppressant) Careful monitoring of these regimes is vital. Here is a well referenced protocol that gives excellent advice on the benefits of taking things slowly and staying receptive to a need to respond to any resurgence of clinical signs. Once remission has been achieved many UK VIP vizslas have benefited from long term “maintenance” doses of steroids – at just anti inflammatory levels. There are lots of happy success stories – and this website will be updated shortly to describe them.
Please visit the link in the sidebar to see how to help with funding – the Hungarian Vizsla Welfare Charity has contributed generously to the research.