Meningoencephalomyelitis in Cats

Overview of Feline Meningoencephalomyelitis

Meningoencephalomyelitis is a compound word that indicates inflammation of the meninges (coverings of the brain and spinal cord), encephalo (brain tissue itself) and myelo (spinal cord tissue). The ‘–itis’ part of the term simply refers to the inflammation which can be infectious or non-infectious.

Below is an overview of Meningoencephalomyelitis in Cats followed by in-depth information on the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

The roots of this term can be combined to indicate inflammation of the meninges and brain (meningoencephalitis), meninges and spinal cord (meningomyelitis) or brain and spinal cord (encephalomyelitis).

Meningoencephalomyelitis is an uncommon syndrome but can be seen in any aged animals often with devastating results.

There are numerous potential causes of meningoencephalomyelitis. Infectious causes include viruses, bacteria, fungus or parasites. When a specific cause of meningoencephalomyelitis is not found, it is called idiopathic, which means it has no known cause, although unidentified viral and immune-mediated causes are commonly suspected.

What to Watch For

Symptoms that indicate encephalitis include:

Symptoms of meningitis may include:

Symptoms of myelitis may in include:

If the following symptoms are seen, they may indicate an emergency situation that should be addressed immediately:

Diagnosis of Meningoencephalomyelitis in Cats

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical and neurologic examination and may order some additional tests such as:

Depending on the results of the individual tests above, other tests may be required and could include:

Treatment of Meningoencephalomyelitis in Cats

The general goals of treatment are to provide supportive care and relieve symptoms. Specific treatment is indicated when a cause can be determined. Treatment may include:

Home Care

If your pet has been diagnosed with meningoencephalomyelitis, follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendation and notify him if any symptoms worsen or emergency symptoms appear. Keep your pet well-rested, warm and well fed following the illness.

The outcome will vary. Some animals may recover and other may not survive the disease.

In-depth Information on Meningoencephalomyelitis in Cats

There are numerous causes of meningoencephalomyelitis including:

Diagnosis In-depth

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical and neurologic examination and may order some additional tests:

Depending on the results of the individual tests above, other tests may be required and could include:

Treatment In-depth

Follow-up Care for Cats with Meningoencephalomyelitis

If your pet has been diagnosed with encephalomeningomyelitis or any variant, follow all treatment recommendations and notify your veterinarian if any symptoms worsen or emergency symptoms appear. Keep your pet well-rested, warm and well fed following the illness.

The acute phase of this disease may last for 1 to 2 weeks with resolution of fever and neurologic symptoms. Some neurologic symptoms may require many weeks or months before full recovery is seen.

The outcome of meningoencephalomyelitis varies. Some cases are mild, brief, and have complete recovery. Others are severe and protracted with permanent damage. Death is possible.