In Latin, Myasthenia Gravis means 'grave muscle weakness' and it is basically a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that gives off several levels of weakness through out various muscles within the body.
Contrary to what the name suggests however, this condition is not as 'grave' as one might first assume. Many dogs who have this disease will typically live a normal life and reach an old age.
Your dog will start to feel a great deal of muscle weakness while he is doing even a slight workout. This weakness will improve after long periods of relaxation or rest.
A lot of the affected muscles control facial expressions, chewing, barking, swallowing, eye lids, running and other limb movements. Though, it is not always a guarantee that the above areas will be affected as it greatly depends on the dog and how extensive the disease is.
Myasthenia Gravis is due to a lack of communication from the nerve impulses to the muscle. The neuromusclar junction can be considered as the middleman. It connects to the nerve impulses and has access to control the muscle.
The signal at the nerve endings' impulses are unable to release certain substances to the neuromuscular junction that correctly tell the muscles that they need to contract when moving. With dogs experiencing Myasthenia Gravis it means that there are antibodies blocking or destroying receptors to deny the muscle from properly functioning.
It is extremely hard to prevent this from happening because the body is simply releasing antibodies that go against it. As mentioned earlier, Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disease. It is somewhat treatable with constant therapy. Helping dogs improving their current state by slowly building up muscle strength can greatly help.
However, it only improves the status and does not cure. This treatment would have to be kept up and could never be stopped for prolong periods of time or else their body will start to fall back into its original weak state.
If you are aware that your dog has this condition, it is recommended that you visit your veterinarian and talk to him about available options in your area to help improve his status. This could be actual therapy or a do it at home treatment.
It is recommended that you perhaps speak to different vets in your area, because this is not a popular disease among animals. Ask your vet if there is certain exercises your dog can not do like participating in agility training or running for more than an hour a day.
If you are able to do a home treatment to improve your dog's condition then it is recommended you take things extremely slow for the first month or so to see at what level or degree your dog's condition is.
You will want to have a dog first aid kit around just in case your dog strains himself. Dogs are more capable of harming themselves with this condition because sometimes they might have an instinct reaction and not realize the damage done until later.