Overview of Canine Aseptic Meningitis
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, which are three membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. There are many causes of meningitis including viral, bacterial, fungal, and immune mediated in dogs.
Aseptic meningitis is believed to be an immune-mediated disease of dogs although the exact cause is unknown. It is most frequently seen in medium to large breed dogs. Aseptic meningitis usually affects dogs younger than two years old with both male and female dogs equally affected.
Other diseases that may mimic this disease include viral, bacterial and fungal meningitis. Brain tumors and hydrocephalus may also show similar signs.
What to Watch For
Signs of meningitis in dogs may include:
Clinical signs may wax and wane spontaneously.
Diagnosis of Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs
Diagnostic tests are needed in addition to obtaining a complete medical history. The most commonly performed tests include a neurological assessment, laboratory evaluation and cerebrospinal tap (CSF).
Treatment of Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs
If your pet is showing signs of meningitis, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. There is no appropriate home care for this potentially life threatening illness.
If your veterinarian prescribes a medication, it is important to follow directions unless specifically told to change medication dosage or type.
Observe your pet closely for any worsening of clinical signs. If you notice any deterioration in your pet’s condition, especially during the taper, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Treatment of aseptic meningitis is successful in the vast majority of animals. Relapses are typically seen if the medications are withdrawn too rapidly. Dogs that relapse will typically respond to treatment with either higher doses of the initial drug or addition of a second drug.
In-depth Information on Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, which is the fibrous covering of the brain and spinal cords. There are many causes of meningitis including viral, bacterial, fungal and immune mediated.
Aseptic meningitis is believed to be an immune-mediated disease although the exact cause is unknown. The meninges become inflamed and thickened with an invasion of inflammatory cells. This usually occurs in the neck. The signs that your pet reflect the location of the inflamed meninges and vary from mild neck discomfort to severe cervical rigidity and intractable pain. Fever may accompany the signs of pain.
It is most frequently seen in medium to large breed dogs. Dog breeds that are seen most often are:
Aseptic meningitis usually affects dogs younger than two years old with both male and female dogs equally affected.
Aseptic meningitis may be the most common form of meningitis seen in dogs. Dogs affected by aseptic meningitis usually do not show other signs of bacterial meningitis. Other conditions that can cause similar signs include:
Veterinary care should include diagnosis and treatment.
In-depth Information on Diagnosis
Diagnostic tests are needed to determine your pet’s general health and to rule-out other diseases that may mimic aseptic meningitis. In addition to obtaining a complete medical history and physical examination your veterinarian will perform the following tests:
With aseptic meningitis the commonly found abnormalities on the history, physical and neurological examination include fever, lethargy, neck pain and anorexia. There should be no other neurologic abnormalities found besides neck discomfort and proprioceptive deficits (placement of feet). Abnormalities found on the lab tests may include high white blood cell count, and decreased platelet counts. Other abnormalities may be found secondary to the illness.