Meningitis in Dogs | Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms of Meningitis in Dogs

Effects of Meningitis

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 diagnosis and treatment can lead to a successful outcome. Without treatment, the prognosis is poor.

Symptoms of Canine Meningitis

Most cases of canine meningitis happen as secondary complications of other diseases caused by bacterial infection. Dogs of any age, breed or gender can be equally affected. Newborn puppies seem to be especially at risk. With meningitis, the affected dog is almost always systemically ill. Clinical signs include one or more of the following:

  • High fever (elevated body temperature)
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle spasms in the back (often painful)
  • Rigidity of the muscles of the neck and forelimbs (often painful)
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch (hyperesthesia); may jump or yelp when touched
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia; inappetence)
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff, awkward stilted gait
  • Inability to bend legs
  • Head tilt
  • High fever
  • Depression
  • Vision impairment/ blindness
  • Progressive paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Agitation
  • Loss of coordination (ataxia)
  • Aggression

Meningitis can be fatal. Advanced cases of meningitis can cause extreme depression, blindness, progressive paralysis, seizures, confusion, agitation and/or aggression. Severe cases can also cause ataxia, which basically means lack of muscular coordination. Affected dogs may be unable to coordinate their movements. They might move in uncontrollable circles, stand up then stumble when trying to walk, or stand and walk with their front legs spread abnormally far apart. The clinical signs of meningitis can mimic those of other disorders. In order to successfully diagnose meningitis in dogs, a series of tests and examinations will need to be performed by a skilled and perceptive veterinarian.

Dogs at Increased Risk

Dogs of any age, breed or gender can be equally affected. Newborn puppies are especially at risk. Affected animals are almost always systemically ill. They develop a high fever, a stiff awkward gait, painful back spasms, rigidity of the neck and forelimbs and extreme sensitivity to touch. They become lethargic, anorexic and nauseous. Advanced meningitis causes extreme depression, blindness, progressive paralysis, seizures, confusion, agitation, ataxia and/or aggression. It can be life-threatening.

Source: PetWave

MATCHING TOPICS OF INTEREST

Giardia Infection in Dogs

Giardia in Dogs: Learn about Giardia, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Legg Perthes Disease in Dogs

Legg Perthes Disease in Dogs: Learn about Legg Perthes Disease, including how it can affect...

Learn About Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs

Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs: Learn about Von Willebrand Disease, including how it can affect...

Hormonal & Metabolic

Dog Hormonal & Metabolic Disorders Center: Here you'll find in-depth information on hormonal and metabolic...

Dog Angular Limb Deformities

Angular Limb Deformities in Dogs: Learn about Angular Limb Deformities, including how they affect your...

PETWAVE: POPULAR TOPICS

Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

Ask a Vet

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Adoption | Cat Food & Diet

Advertise on petwave.com - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of Petwave.com on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Email Friend about Petwave.com Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2014 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.