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Meningitis in Dogs

Medical assistance must be sought for canines affected by meningitis. This write-up provides information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this condition.
DogAppy Staff
Meningitis is a medical condition that is characterized by the inflammation of meninges, which are the membranes or layers of protective tissue enveloping the brain and the spinal cord. It can also affect dogs. Viral, bacterial, or fungal infections are often the contributory factors. Canines affected by Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or ehrlichiosis are at a greater risk of developing this condition. Behavioral changes, fever, and loss of coordination are some of the common symptoms that are observed in dogs affected by this condition. Certain dog breeds such as Pug, Maltese Terrier, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Beagle are more vulnerable; however, that doesn't mean this this condition doesn't affect other breeds. If diagnosed in the early stages, the prognosis is good. If not treated on time, this inflammatory condition can even prove to be fatal.
The common symptoms include:
✧ Hyperesthesia or an extreme sensitivity to touch
✧ Fever that waxes and wanes
✧ Agitation
✧ Confusion
✧ Stiff neck muscles
✧ Changes in appetite
✧ Reduced mobility
✧ Seizures or muscle spasms
✧ Lack of muscular coordination
✧ Changed gait
✧ Unsteady movements
If this condition is not treated soon, it can even lead to depression, progressive paralysis, or even blindness.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Tests that would be conducted for confirming the diagnosis include:
✧ CT scan
✧ Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
✧ Cerebrospinal fluid tap
Through a CT scan or MRI, the vet might be able to check for any inflammation of the tissue layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Cerebrospinal fluid tap involves the testing of a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid that coats the brain and spinal cord.
After the diagnosis, the treatment options will be decided after identifying the type of meningitis. Tests would be conducted to determine whether the dog is affected by aseptic or steroid responsive meningitis. Immunosuppressive drugs are prescribed in case of the former, whereas the use of steroids is recommended in case of the latter. The inflammatory activity has to be suppressed, so that the neurological abilities of the dog are not harmed. If the dog is affected by severe pain and seizures, antibiotics and antiepileptic drugs might be administered to tackle the pain and seizures.
Regular check-ups are required to monitor the dog's response to the treatment. In some cases, medications might need to be given for life, so that this condition doesn't relapse. Apart from the medication, provide your pet a good and loving environment at home.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.