Case Description—A 6-year-old castrated male Llewelyn Setter was evaluated because of an acute onset of myalgia and respiratory distress.
Clinical Findings—Physical examination revealed a stiff stilted gait, swollen muscles that appeared to cause signs of pain, panting, and ptyalism. The dog had a decrease in palpebral reflexes bilaterally and a decrease in myotatic reflexes in all 4 limbs. The panniculus reflex was considered normal, and all other cranial nerve reflexes were intact. Serum biochemical analysis revealed markedly high cardiac troponin-I concentration and creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase activities. Urinalysis revealed myoglobinuria. Results for thoracic and abdominal radiography, blood pressure measurement, and an ECG were within anticipated limits. Echocardiographic findings were consistent with secondary systolic myocardial failure. Arterial blood gas analysis confirmed hypoxemia and hypoventilation. The dog had negative results when tested for infectious diseases. Examination of skeletal muscle biopsy specimens identified necrotizing myopathy.
Treatment and Outcome—Treatment included ventilatory support; IV administration of an electrolyte solution supplemented with potassium chloride; administration of dantrolene; vasopressor administration; parenteral administration of nutrients; use of multimodal analgesics; administration of clindamycin, furosemide, mannitol, and enrofloxacin; and dietary supplementation with L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10. Other medical interventions were not required, and the dog made a rapid and complete recovery.
Clinical Relevance—Necrotizing myopathy resulting in rhabdomyolysis and myoglobinuria can lead to life-threatening physical and biochemical abnormalities. Making a correct diagnosis is essential, and patients require intensive supportive care. The prognosis can be excellent for recovery, provided there is no secondary organ dysfunction.