SRMA is usually treated by suppressing the immune system with high doses of corticosteroids like prednisolone, which is administered orally or by injection.
They may also be given dexamethasone sodium phosphate which may be administered intravenously in hospital in the first few days – in more severe cases.
Once treatment starts you are likely to notice an improvement in a matter of days. After a few weeks the dose can slowly be reduced over several months.
Corticosteroids often produce side effects such as increased thirst and hunger which manifests as urinating more often and gaining weight.
During treatment they often need to visit the vet to check how their organs are being affected.
They may need to take more medication such as cyclosporine and azathioprine to further suppress the immune system or prevent a relapse.
Early treatment is important for the long-term management of SRMA.
Delayed or inadequate treatment can make the condition become chronic. In such cases they may develop further neurological symptoms, such as paresis (muscular weakness), ataxia (affects coordination and balance) and/or cranial nerve deficits which affect smell, taste and vision.
With prompt treatment they can go on to live a normal life after about six months on medication.
About 20% of dogs will relapse and need further treatment.