A support group for owners of dogs with GME (Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis) or NME (Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis)
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Welcome to gmedogs forum

This forum was created as a support group for owners of dogs with GME (Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis) or NME (Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis). The board is a place to share whatever you want with others who know what you are going through.
As a guest, you can read all the posts, but you will need to register to post something of your own.
I hope you find comfort and support in this group. Despite this disease's grim prognosis, new treatments have given hope to many dogs out there.

I have recently (Feb 2016) started a Facebook support group called GME Dogs Support Group, in case Facebook is your preferred method.

**This forum is Not Intended for and Does Not Give Veterinary Advice. Any articles or posts by members are intended for general information purposes only. Nothing here should be considered "veterinary advice", which can only be given to you by your own veterinarian or other professional. Some information you read on this site may be inappropriate for your own situation, or you may misinterpret something in a way that could be distressing or harmful to your pet. You should ALWAYS consult with a veterinarian before giving your pet any medications, herbal or otherwise, or before trying any form of treatment!!
This site is wholly owned and operated by non-veterinarians. Any information contained in this forum is from member postings only. This site is not intended for veterinary evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment purposes.**

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 Post subject: Re: Cytarabine/Cytosar/Cytosine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:11 pm 
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Cytarabine/Cytosine Arabinoside (Cytosar-U, Ara-C)

What is it?

Cytarabine is an anti-cancer (antineoplastic or cytotoxic) chemotherapy drug. It can be administered intravenously or by subcutaneous injection.

In humans, cytarabine is used to treat some forms of leukemia. In dogs, cytarabine is often used to treat lymphoreticular neoplasms, myeloproliferative disease, CNS lymphoma, and GME.

What it does:

Cytarabine suppresses the immune system by killing cells undergoing DNA synthesis (S-phase) and preventing the progression of cells from the G1 phase to the S-phase.

For the purposes of treating GME, cytarabine suppresses the immune system, thereby suppressing the auto-immune reaction.

Usual Dosage:

The protocol used for treating dogs with GME is a subcutaneous injection of 50 mg/M2 every 12 hours for 2 consecutive days, repeated initially every 3 weeks.

Because cytarabine is an antineoplastic agent, the dosage is configured based on M2 (or meters squared), so the veterinarian will need to configure the appropriate dose for the dog.

If additional chemotherapy drugs are used, the intervals between each series of cytarabine injections may need to be increased to 4 weeks.

Generally, cytarabine is supplied in pre-mixed vials of 20mg/mL concentration.

After administration of the cytarabine injection series (Day 1), the cytarabine begins suppressing the white blood cell count within 24 hours. This suppression continues up until Day 7-9, the first nadir (or low point). Then the white cell count will rise gradually to a small peak around Day 12. After Day 12, the white cell count will drop again to a second and deeper nadir at Day 15-24. From here, the white cell count will rise over the next 10 days to a level higher than baseline.

Side Effects:

Possible side effects of this drug are:

• Low white blood cell counts (myelosuppression)

• Low red blood cell counts or low hemoglobin (anemia)

• Low platelets (thrombocytopenia)

• Infection – Because cytarabine is suppressing the immune system, your dog will be at a greater risk of contracting an infection.

• The following side effects were frequently reported in humans using cytarabine: anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, oral and anal inflammation or ulceration, hepatic dysfunction, fever, rash, thrombophlebitis, and bleeding.

• The following side effects were less frequently reported in humans using cytarabine: sepsis, pneumonia, cellulitis at injection site, skin ulceration, urinary retention, renal dysfunction, neuritis, neural toxicity, sore throat, esophageal ulceration, esophagitis, chest pain, pericarditis, bowel necrosis, abdominal pain, pancreatitis, freckling, jaundice, conjunctivitis, dizziness, alopecia, anaphylaxis, allergic edema, pruritis, shortness of breath, urticaria, headache.

When this drug should not be used (Contra-indications) :

• If the dog has an active meningeal infection

• Alert your vet if your dog is taking digoxin or gentamicin. They may interact with cytarabine.

• Pregnant Bitches

• Use with caution if your dog has liver or kidney insufficiency.


Because of the potential for myelosuppression (low white blood cell counts), monitoring blood work is extremely important. The general recommendation for monitoring is to check a CBC weekly for the first month or two, then every 2-3 months thereafter. More frequent monitoring is suggested if the dose changes or another chemotherapy agent is added to the regimen.


A Practical Guide to Canine & Feline Neurology. By Curtis W. Dewey. Second Edition. 2008.

Cytarabine Prescribing information. ... OMOWEB.pdf

Cytarabine. By Dr. Nicholas Dodman. ... page1.aspx

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