Meningitis in Dogs
Definition of Meningitis
Meningitis is defined as inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranous layers that cover and protect the outside of the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is painful and can be caused anything that triggers inflammation, including viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections. Other causes are exposure to chemical toxins, infected bite wounds on the head and neck and bacterial migration to the brain from infected sinuses, nasal passages, middle ears or elsewhere. Dogs with meningitis have a high fever, stiff muscles, muscle spasms, hypersensitivity to touch and a stilted gait. They become depressed, lethargic and nauseous. Advanced cases of meningitis can cause extreme depression, blindness, progressive paralysis, seizures, confusion, agitation and/or aggression. Affected dogs may be unable to coordinate their movements, move in uncontrollable circles, stand up then stumble when trying to walk, or walk with their front legs spread far apart. Unfortunately, meningitis can be fatal.
Most cases of canine meningitis are caused by secondary complications of diseases that start elsewhere in the body, including viral, protozoan, bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections. The causative agent can be anything that triggers inflammation in a particular dog. Some known causes are infected bite wounds on the head and neck and bacterial migration to the brain from infected sinuses, nasal passages, middle ears or elsewhere. Meningitis can also be aseptic, which means that it
Steroid Responsive Meningitis is a condition that involves a dog's central nervous system. Meningitis means inflammation of the meninges, the covering layer of the central nervous system. The condition is referred to as SRMA, or steroid responsive meningitis-arteritis because it affects the arteries in many body system tissues as well.Certain breeds of dogs seem to be more affected, but it is considered to be a condition of any breed. Bernese mountain dogs, Nova Scotia duck
Meningitis is not a specific disease, but instead refers to the pathological condition of inflammation of the tissues surrounding and protecting the brain and spinal cord. The causative agent can be anything that triggers an inflammatory process in a particular dog, including bacteria, virus, fungus, chemical toxins and/or other agents. Meningitis is a very serious condition, and if a dog exhibits signs associated with this disorder it should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. Early
The signs of meningitis are often easy to detect. If a veterinarian sees a dog with fever, stiffness, painful spasms in the back, rigidity of the muscles of the neck and forelimbs and extreme sensitivity to touch (called “hyperesthesia”), she probably will begin her diagnostic process by running blood and urine tests to detect possible causes of those signs. If the results of those tests are normal, she may prescribe medications on the assumption that
Meningitis can be difficult to diagnose. If a veterinarian suspects that a dog has meningitis, she may recommend prophylactic treatment immediately, even before confirmatory diagnostic assessments are performed. The goals of treating canine meningitis are to suppress the inflammatory process, recover functional neurological abilities, relieve and manage pain and prevent or control seizures.The standard treatment protocol begins with immunosuppressive doses of glucocorticoids (“steroids”), usually administered orally, to reduce swelling and inflammation of and around the