Jodi Silverman

MMM - Masticatory Muscle Miositis

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My Cav puppy developed MMM 3 weeks after her 2nd set of shots. Her blood serum was tested by a lab and MMM was confirmed. She is now on a special anti-rejection steroid. Although her condition was "Chronic" when diagnosed (jaw nearly completely locked), she has responded well to treatment. She can open her mouth wide enough to carry a golf ball around and although her face "hallowed" the muscles have filled back in. She's a little over 10 pounds now. DOB February 27th, 2012.

MY QUESTION: Has anyone else had a Cav with this condition, who was chronic when diagnosed? If so, at what age did your dog develop it and how did your dog fare?

According to research, she must be kept on the steroid regiment until just after her first birthday. If she relapses, she'll have to be put down. What I can't find, despite hours of internet searching, is how many dogs who've reached the chronic stage before treatment was started survive? The articles I've read all say the prognosis is "Not as good as it is for dogs who were treated before the chronic stage." How much "Not as good" is the real question no research article will tell me.

I'd really appreciate your input, regardless of whether it's encouraging or brutal. I need to know. Thank you for reading this.

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  1. Karlin's Avatar
    Hi Jodi:

    You have posted this as a blog post, which people are not as likely to read or respond to as when you post a normal thread into the Health and Diet forum on the actual board. I'd recommend doing that as I think a lot of people will miss this otherwise.

    We have had people here in the past who had dogs with this. Sadly it is another of those things that is not rare enough in this breed and vets have said it is just about only seen in such young dogs, in this breed alone.

    Most cavaliers I know of that have had this have done fine. I only recall one that did not do well.

    There's information on this condition at

    Be sure to send the breeder the vet's diagnosis of this. A good breeder will really want this information to help them make important decisions about their breeding programme. A poor breeder should be informed so that they know they are breeding dogs that are getting this condition. I always recommend sending this type of diagnosis by registered mail so that you are sure the breeder got it. In some states you may have recourse to getting some money back for a puppy that has health problems.

    Have you asked your vet the question about 'chronic' vs pre chronic recovery?
  2. Jodi Silverman's Avatar
    Thank you, Karlin - I just got here & don't know how to start a "Thread" - I'll go read a bit more and hopefully do it right next time. Thanks for pointing this out! I will also check out the web site you left me - Thanks again!!!
  3. Jodi Silverman's Avatar
    Yes, I've been to this web site - it's one of the "Dogs not diagnosed until the chronic phase have a less promising prognosis..." but don't say how less promising. I hate vague generalities and that's all I'm getting.
  4. RodRussell's Avatar
    Cavaliers are one of the few breeds with more than its fair share of MMM. Dr. Diane Shelton of the University of California at San Diego has specialized in this disorder. Her website is

    On this webpage of -- -- there are a few case studies of cavaliers with tthe disorder. It is a particularly nasty disease.
  5. RodRussell's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jodi Silverman
    Yes, I've been to this web site - it's one of the "Dogs not diagnosed until the chronic phase have a less promising prognosis..." but don't say how less promising. I hate vague generalities and that's all I'm getting.

    Jodi, that is pretty much a direct quote from a study. The study is not any more specific than that. I suggest that you contact Dr. Shelton through her website -- -- and ask your questions to her and her staff.
  6. RodRussell's Avatar
    Jodi, here is a link to a rather informative article about MMM by Dr. Shelton and others, that is on her website:
  7. Karlin's Avatar
    Rod gave some great advice. On posting -- there's a FAQ on all that on the menu bar at the top left of the page which should help!
  8. Jodi Silverman's Avatar
    Please know this: If your puppy is diagnosed with MMM it is NOT a death sentence! My little girl celebrated her 2nd birthday February 17th, 2014 and she is still with us. She’s happy and fun-loving, with an emphasis on loving! When our breeder heard the news, she immediately offered to take back the 4 month old puppy. It was too late though – we were already hopelessly and helplessly in love. She has had to endure quite a lot, as MMM nearly destroys the immune system, but with a lot of loving care and the most fantastic Veterinarian I’ve ever met, she is doing pretty well. She can’t be around other dogs as she will catch any disease or infection they carry. I never let her walk around a pet store or even the Vet’s office. She overcame an intense bout with mange mites – all dogs and cats have them, but a normal immune system deflects their ill effects easily. She can’t be taken off antibiotics, because the bacteria normal & necessary for digestion will overwhelm her body; the resulting diarrhea will dehydrate and kill her. Her diet must be bland, so I steam brown rice, mash broccoli, and add it to shredded organic chicken. So, don’t despair, but do your homework! If your Vet isn’t willing to listen to you, think “out-of-the-box” on occasion and take a few chances, find one who is. Please feel free to contact me. Having gone through this alone, I’m more than happy to help. Good luck!