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.