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Meningitis in Dogs

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Meningitis in Dogs

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A dog's body is complex and susceptible to suffering multiple diseases; most of these diseases can also be suffered by other mammals, including human beings. Actually, there are truly very few diseases that exclusively affect people.

Of course, a dog's owner should know about the diseases which pose the greatest dangers to their pet with the aim of spotting the symptoms early on and acting appropriately and in time. This AnimalWised article will explain the symptoms and treatment of meningitis in dogs.

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What is meningitis?

The term meningitis refers to an inflammation of the meninges, which are the three membranes that line and protect the brain and spinal cord. This inflammation occurs due to an infection caused by microorganisms; these can be viruses, bacteria or fungi.

Meningitis, as is the case for humans, is a disease that can have fatal consequences for your pet. It makes no distinction between breeds or ages. However, it's true that some breeds are most commonly affected; these include Pugs, Maltese Terriers, Beagles and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Fortunately, it's been discovered that the meninges are one of the least susceptible areas of your pet's body to contracting infections when compared to other organs or systems.

Symptoms of meningitis in dogs

It's very important to learn the symptoms of meningitis so that it can be spotted early on; the prognosis is positive if the disease is diagnosed in the early stages .

A dog affected by meningitis will exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Extremely sensitive to the touch
  • Behavioural changes
  • Agitation and confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Fever
  • Neck muscle stiffness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced mobility

If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, it's urgently important that you take them to the vet. If meningitis is suspected, they will conduct a cerebrospinal fluid tap or even an MRI scan to check the inflammation of the meninges.

Meningitis in Dogs - Symptoms of meningitis in dogs

Treatment for meningitis in dogs

The type of treatment will vary depending on the cause of the meningitis. It will probably draw from one or more of the following drugs:

  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that are used to decrease the response of the immune system and the inflammation of the meninges.
  • Antibiotics: They will be used for bacterial meningitis, which can either eliminate the bacteria or even prevent them from reproducing.
  • Anticonvulsants: Anticonvulsant drugs comprise of numerous substances that interact with the brain to balance neuronal function and prevent seizures.

The primary goal of the treatment is to suppress inflammatory activity in order to avoid irreversible neurological damage in the animals. Once the vet has scheduled the most appropriate treatment plan, the dog should have a check-up to assess their response to the treatment. Sometimes the dog might require repeated treatment to prevent future episodes of meningitis.

If the meningitis is serious, the vet will decide on hospital treatment to prevent any complications and to ensure that the dog remains sufficiently hydrated, using intravenous fluid therapy in the most serious cases.

As mentioned at the beginning, if the diagnosis is made early on and the drug treatment is suitable for treating the underlying cause of meningitis, the prognosis is positive.

Meningitis in Dogs - Treatment for meningitis in dogs

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Meningitis in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Mental problems category.

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