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Meningitis in Dogs Treatable with Early Detection of Meningitis Symptoms

Picture 7 Meningitis in Dogs Treatable with Early Detection of Meningitis SymptomsSARASOTA, FL (PRWEB) July 16, 2009 — As the New Jersey Senate considers designating August as Meningitis Awareness Month, veterinary neurologist, Dr. Anne Chauvet, is encouraging dog owners to increase their awareness of canine meningitis for their dogs’ health.

Although some forms of meningitis can be fatal, in most dogs it can be treated successfully if the disease is caught early and the dog receives proper veterinary care, which is why awareness of the disease, its symptoms and treatment is important, said Dr. Anne Chauvet, founder of Veterinary Neuro Services.

“I commend the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee for approving legislation that would help raise awareness of this disease in humans,” Chauvet said, “and I hope that pet owners will become as aware of the symptoms and the importance of early treatment for their dogs.” The bill, SJR-65, to designate August as Meningitis Awareness Month, was introduced by Senator Sean T. Kean, R-11.

Meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membrane (meninges) that wraps the brain and spinal cord, may be caused in dogs by tick-borne diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis or parasitic diseases like toxoplasmosis. A common cause of meningitis in dogs is a central nervous system disease known as granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME,) and toy or small breeds may be susceptible to meningitis caused by immune dysfunction, Chauvet said.

Sterile (or idiopathic) meningitis is the most common form of canine meningitis, and usually occurs in young dogs a year old or less. Sterile meningitis symptoms typically are neck pain along with a fever that waxes and wanes. Other symptoms of meningitis can include changes in gait where the dog looks as though he is walking on eggshells, she said. Affected dogs may have a lot of pain everywhere except their joints, which is one way to distinguish sterile meningitis from polyarthritis and other conditions that exhibit painful joints. Neurological symptoms, such as seizures or blindness, usually are not present unless the disease is advanced.

A meningitis diagnosis can be confirmed with a spinal tap when the spinal fluid shows a very high number of white blood cells and high levels of protein. An MRI also is an important diagnostic tool that can rule out a disc herniation, infection or other problem that could cause the symptoms, Chauvet said.

Sterile meningitis is treated with high doses of steroids, such as prednisone, to suppress the immune system supported with doxycyline, an antibiotic. Sometimes more advanced treatments or combination therapies are required, such as immunoglobulin therapy or chemotherapy drugs, depending on the patient’s need. In most cases, the dog responds quickly and is back to normal in a few days, Chauvet said, but treatment must be extended over weeks and sometimes months with most dogs recovering fully.
About Veterinary Neuro Services:

Dr. Anne Chauvet, one of about 150 veterinary neurologists and neurosurgeons in North America, is the founder of Veterinary Neuro Services in Sarasota, Fla. Veterinary Neuro Services treats brain, spinal cord and neuromuscular conditions in animals and is the only strictly neurology and neurosurgery practice on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

More information is available by calling 941-929-1818 or online at www.PetNeuro.com.

33 Responses to “Meningitis in Dogs Treatable with Early Detection of Meningitis Symptoms”

  1. Vilma says:

    My dog Hunter was diagnosed with meningitis in May 2013, he was finally off from prednisone in Sep 2013. His liver enzymes went so high when he was on the high doses of prednisone , and we had to take him every week to have a blood test done. Last week he suddenly do not want to eat and had fever, lethargic and his right hind leg seem to be in pain so she thought he could have twisted his leg and gave him antibiotics. He did not get better with it so I took him back to the local vet the second day and he had various blood test done but all came good. we continued giving him his antibiotics, when he did not get better, I took him back again and requested for the vet to give him prednisone as I thought he could be having relapse on his meningitis. The local vet spoke to his specialist and agreed to give him a steroid shot until the following day when I took him to the specialist.
    The specialist gave him prednisolone and denosyl (to protect his liver given his liver enzymes reaction last time) and has been taking it for 3 days, Last night, he started vomiting. I am really worried for him. I am taking him back to the specialist today – this is very stressful to me and my family as we love him dearly. Hope he will get a chance of a quality life again.

  2. Pennies Mom says:

    On Tuesday we lost our 8 and a half month old golden to vaccine induced meningoencephalitis. She was shaking on Thursday, by Friday evening she had head tremors, no fever. On sat made it to neuro, she had a seizure and was hospitalized, MRI and spinal tap gave the diagnosis and she was placed on high dose chemo and steroids. By Monday am she showed improvement and we were told we could take her home for recovery. By the time we arrived she seized again and after 24 hour on seizure meds began having breathing difficulties and passed away. She was my sons best buddy and we are devastated. I don’t understand how when the last round of shots was given over3 months ago that this could occur, I want to make sure it does not with our next dog….we are so heartbroken, she was supposed to grow up with my 10 year old.

    • isak says:

      I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know enough about vaccine induced meningoencephalitis to explain what happened. Was the vet able to explain what happened and why?

  3. lisa says:

    My dog was diagnosed with meningitis and after medicine he was meningitis free for the rest of his life. He was diagnosed at the age of 6 and lived until 17! He did not have any rabies vaccinations from the age of 6 on. Hope this helps

    • Tina says:

      Hello Lisa,

      How bad was your dog when you learned they had meningitis? I just learned tonight my 2 year old Shih Tzu has some type of meningitis. We are waiting for the test results from the spinal tab. We thought she was have a problem with a disc and was being treated for that. I’m just trying to figure out if we are the early stages for the illiness where it can still been treated. She has lost her mobility in her back legs which made them think she was having a disc problem. Its been a long nightmare that has not ended just yet.

    • Robert says:

      Hey guys, our Boxer got SRMA meningitis. Steroid responsive meningitis. He became very lethargic in a matter of minutes. He has issues with being bitten by various insects so we keep benadryl on hand. Gave him some and he was’nt reacting. He was very restless. I took him in and they did the spinal fluid thing on him and died on the table. They were able to bring him back. He stayed there for a week and we visited him twice a day. He did have blindness and that went away. Everyone at the vet fell in love with him and he made a great recovery. Prednisone was the treatment. We tapered him off of the steroid.
      I’m now looking for any information on issues after the meningitis treatment. He has episodes while he’s sleeping where gets startled and his whole body jerks all at once. Just like we do if scared suddenly. Took him in for blood work and waiting for the results. During the day when active or napping it has not happened. Only after long periods of sleep. We’re thinking neurological. It happen again last night and lasted 18 minutes. We took him outside for a walk and he was good to go the rest of the night. Scary and was wondering if anyone had any ideas. Thank you.

  4. lt says:

    Your vet can write a letter for you to submit to your city. I just paid the rabies fee to the city and put a copy of the letter each year that said my dog was exempt from the rabies shot and could not have it. I used this for his entire life and the town never questioned it.

  5. Jenny says:

    Hi isak

    My dog ,Cherie was not behaving as per normal for a week ,I didn’t realised it.I thot she was just moody cos she haven had a usual menses.On the 7th day, I brought her to see a vet due to a little diarrhea , and I told the vet about her moody condition.she told me it’s fine. I brought her back two days later as I think she is blind and keep doing head pressing.The vet told me she has high blood, that might be one of the reason that might cause her blindness, and advise to check her 5 days later.After giving her the medicine for high blood and steroid, she gets worse after two days. Restless , tired,panting,never walk and even have diarrea with lots of blood. I sent her to the hospital immediately .two days before this, her internal organs test was good, but within 3 days, her organs failed. she passed away cos her heart beat stop. Isak, from the above scenario, the doctor did mention about brain tumor, or meningitis. I really would like to know what is the cause of her demise. Do you think it’s a delay in diagnosis and treatment? Cos if it’s meningitis, she she’d be able to be save, but no treatment. Do you think the steroid and high blood medication cause her body to deteriorate faster? Cos before medication, she is still fine. Can meningitis cause death within a week, or it can be earlier? It is really scary, she become blind, than have diarrhea with blood then passed away. Can you advise is am.thank you

    • isak says:

      Trying to get to the source of what happened would need an examination of her body after she passed to know for sure.

      I am so sorry for your loss.

  6. Lauren says:

    My dog was diagnosed with sterile meningitis at 10 months at the beginning of May. After being treated for 3 months, her treatment ended and she’s been back to normal aka meningitis free for about 2 months now. She’s due for her yearly 1 year old vaccines in a few weeks. I’ve decided I’m NOT going to do the DHPP vaccine. However Rabies is required by my state so I have to do that. I know its a killed virus vaccine so I’m hoping the rabies one won’t re-trigger her meningitis. Any advice or experience on vaccinating for rabies with dogs who have had meninigitis.

    • isak says:

      Off hand, I don’t have an answer for you, but certainly respect and admire you for looking for an answer. You might call a veterinary college or maybe even better is to find someone who follows the holistic path for animal care and get their opinion.

      I hope you will come back and let us know what you find out. I’m sorry I was not more helpful.

      A question I have is does she need a rabies shot now? Has she never had one? Most shots nowadays are good for at least two years.

      • Lauren says:

        She did have her first rabies shot… as a puppy and had no issues with that. She didn’t get meningitis until she was just over 10 months old. She’s now of course due for her next round… this one will be good for 3 years. My vet wants to minimize the amount of vaccines she needs in the future.

  7. Sheryl Shidler says:

    Hi, Lucy my 9 yr old doxie contracted meningitis. She is on predizone and cyclosporin. She is developing calcium lumps all over her stomach and under her legs pits. Vet says its from the prednizone. We have reduced the dosage from 10mg to 7.5 and now 2.5 mg. Will she always have to be on these meds?

    • isak says:

      Your vet can best tell you if your baby will have to stay on the prednizone. If he is reducing the dosage, maybe not. 10mg seems like a pretty heavy dosage for a small dog. Are her lumps going down with the smaller dosage?

  8. joan says:

    We were away for the long weekend and had left our dog with a sitter. Suddenly he got ill, vomited, wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t and then couldn’t walk. She took him to our vet, they transferred him to a neurologist. She was certain it was a slipped disc. she started telling me about surgery options vs. just letting him rest for 4 weeks and I said I wanted and MRI before we thought about options. She said that was great — always best to know what you are dealing with and necessary before surgery etc. did I want to do it now or in 4 weeks and I said “now” and so she set it up for the next day. She told me 9 out of 10 dogs with sudden onset of ataxia and cervical pain is a slipped disc.
    So we went for the MRI today and he has meningitis in the brain. We are scheduled for a spinal tap tomorrow a.m. to determine cause and treatment. I’m so afraid for him.
    He wants me to hold him constantly, he’s in a lot of pain and he can’t walk more than a few steps. It is breaking my heart and I’m afraid we are going to lose him.

    • isak says:

      I can’t tell you how things will work out, but I certainly advocate for giving him all the hugs he wants. He is probably confused about what or how he feels. And think positive thoughts that he will get better. It’s a better use of your time to be hopeful. I mean that from my heart having just lost one of my cats to lymphoma last week. Please let me know how the tests work out tomorrow. Hugs to you and your dog.

  9. Adrienne says:

    Meningitis awareness and a success story fro a service animal. It is so important to know these symptoms. My service animal, Haley has been returned to service. I have created an Emergency plan for Haley in the vent of seizures, waxing waning and in the event I am hospitalized or an emergency. This is critical. Medications access and local pharmacy availability is crucial. These measures have been put in place for Haley. I am constanlt met with skepticism that this is a dog with this diagnosis; but she is and we are..GOOD! What would I have done without this help? No one ever thinks about this when accepting responsibility for a canine friend. She is on an experimental medication..it is working…WELL.

  10. Claire says:

    I have a 10 year old whippet bitch who was diagnosised with MUE last July. My nerologist has weaned her down to 7 1/2 mg of pred. She started having relapses back in November, so nerologist said chemo would be the next step. we started first round in December right before Christmas. Her neck bother her as it was itchy and she acted like it was burning her. 5 days after injections her eyes were blood shot and swollen, she was depressed and I thought what have I done to her. The only thing it did not affect is her eating, she eats like she is starving all the time.. It took her a couple more days and she was like a new dog, wanting to go for walks again, and wanting to chase squirrrels something she has done for a long time.. So went back in 4 weeks for her 2nd round and I am not sure I want to put her throught this again. Her second day of shots I went to pick her up late and here she was all swollen and her eyes blood shot, her neck was itchy and she seem very uncomfortable. She has not done well at all since this last injections. I just want to know can I stop the chemo, without hurting her?? She seems so unhappy, and not sure if she can stand another round. I only want quality of life for her. I will put her down if quality is no longer possible. The only thing she wants is her food constantly.

    • isak says:

      My apologies for being so slow getting back you. I can’t answer your question. Have you explained what you are seeing to your neurologist for his/her opinion? And asked what you can expect if you have to go in again? I don’t know how many treatments they are recommending for your dog. If there are still more to come, can they be spaced further apart? Would immunoglobulin therapy be a viable alternative to chemotherapy? How about antiepileptic drugs?

      They know your dog’s history, so they are the best source for the answers you are looking for. Ask them every question you have so you have a clear idea what you can expect from the treatment they are recommending and decide what path you want to take. And maybe you need to ask another doctor just to get a second opinion.

      I am very sorry I cannot be of more help to you. Please let me know how this works out. I appreciate that you have shared your experience. It will help others.

  11. Ruth says:

    My Golden Retriever developed meningitis 1 year ago at 11 months of age, the vet diagnosed it as a food allergy! Finally the diagnosis was made and she made a painful, slow recovery. After having a wonderful happy dog for 4 months she developed meningitis again exactly 1 year since the first diagnosis. She is now on steroids and having chemo every 3 weeks for the next year. Nobody informed me there could be a link between dogs who have had meningitis and booster vaccinations suffering a relapse. Anyone who has a dog recovered from meningitis should be made aware of this possible connection so they can weigh up the pros and cons as to having the booster. I hope my dog Pippa recovers and I hope all your dogs pull through!

  12. al says:

    hi my dog, jack russ terrier age 3 almost 4 had meningitis. she showed symptoms – fever, “shaky” back legs, she didnt want to eat, when touched at neck she whines. she was at the pet hospital for 2 nights and doc put her on steroids and then lowered dosage . we tried to get her off it but she had a relapse. shes been on steroids 1/4 everyday for a few months now. her health, rather the strongness of her legs isnt like before. bringing her to check up again next week. we feed her multi vits to boost her immune. shes my greatest love ever.

  13. Kumar Padmnabh says:

    My dog 4 years old took his lunch about 1 pm and was normally behaving.suddenly about 3 pm,he got very exited and startd barking restlessly and moving abnormally very fast as he was chained.within 10 minutes,his tounge was bited by his teeth and it started bleeding.some foamy mucus type semi fluid was dropping from his mouth.I put some water on him to calm down ,but suddenly his mouth startd twisting(like a paralysis attack).About 3.20 pm vet doctor came and took his temp which was 107.(he was paralysed then).he tried his best by giving some injection and cooling by icepack and bathing,which reduced temp to 103.But about 7.30 he died.please explain me why this happened.It will not return my dog but I shall know my fault.THANKS.

    • isak says:

      You need to ask your vet that question. From here, I cannot say. She/he can better tell you. I am very sorry for your loss.

      You really should not keep a dog on a chain for many reasons, though. It’s pretty easy to create a fenced area with some t-posts and fencing. Please consider that if you get another dog.

  14. terry anderson says:

    When I wrote my last post my jack russell was like a rag doll and I was wondering if I was doing the right thing. But as I said before prayers and love CAN do miracles.On saturday we went to visit him and he was holding his head up and up on his front legs. The vet held his ack legs up but he kept falling over ut kept trying to hold himself up. We spent a couple of hours working with him. He really didn’t seem like he knew us but we were keeping the faith. Well its monday and we are home with him. We have a boatload of meds but he is home and he knows us and his little buddy the rat terrier
    They still don’t know why or what it is other than meningitis. still waiting on some blood work to get back. But I am so thankful that he is home with us. I think he surprized alot of people and I know we are fighting a battle but I am ready to fight the war.

  15. terry anderson says:

    Our Jack Russell started having seizures just out of the blue. Our vet treated him for epilepsy ut it failed and he had seizures thru the night. We took him the next morning to a teaching hospital where they put him on a valium drip ut he still had breakthru ones. Next came an MRI where he was diagnosed with meningitis. He was started on heavy doses of steroids and anti biotics as well as the seizure meds. That was monday and the seizures have stopped. He was awake and yesterday he started eating and seems aware of surroundings but is like a zombie. He knew us today when we visited but just laid there not even holding his head up. Then we asked him if he wanted to go for a 4 wheeler ride and his ears perked and he tried to move but couldnt. I cried but at the same time the student vets have seen improvements over the last couple of days. I am telling myself that he has only been on the steroids since monday nite and the power of prayer can do miracles.He is eating well so I am very hopeful for a full recovery. I only pray I am on the right track.

    • isak says:

      Seizures seem to occur like that — out of the blue. If he has just recently begun treatment, that may be the reason for his zombie-like state. It can sometimes take a while until the correct dosage of meds is determined. My boy Mobley, a 90 pound mutt, was on 97.2 mg Phenobarbital twice a day with meals plus 10 mg. Prednisone once a day. That seemed to work for him. Still, once a month, he would have seizures. Maybe one; maybe four, but almost like clockwork, they occurred once a month.

      Mobley’s seizures were due to a brain tumor. He lost his sight, but he never lost his zest for life. I have photos of him running across the backyard. Maybe because he knew that yard so well from his sighted days, he never ran into a tree. He was such an inspiration to watch. But I lost him to a seizure a couple weeks ago; 10 months after his first seizure.

      You might ask them if they will send your baby home with a dose of rectal valium. In case of a seizure, dose him in his butt and it takes effect quickly. Faster than a pill. It’s a great thing to have on hand, trust me.

      The power of prayer and the power of love CAN do miracles. Best to your baby. Eating is a good sign!

  16. Craig says:

    Just started going through the same with my dog. Started sluggish and fever on Monday…. its now Thursday. He couldnt even move without crying today. We just started prednizone an hour ago. Hope for the best.


    • Ashleigh says:

      This is the exact same thing we are going through right now with our baby… she started with fever on sunday and it is now thursday… meningitis… is what they think it is… so we start prednisone today.. im hoping and praying for the best.. if you touch her neck.. she whines… barely eating and baring drinking… i gave her 20 ml of pedialyle last night and hand fed some dog food… got her fever down last night but it was back up this morning… im hoping for the best

      • isak says:

        Keep hoping for the best and doing all you can. Sometimes vets are wrong. After all, they are human. If her neck hurts, maybe bending to eat is too painful? Have you raised her food/water bowls up so she doesn’t have to bend her neck to reach them? If you are feeding her dry food, you might try wetting it with water to soften it so she doesn’t have to chew so hard.

        Prednisone will usually stimulate appetite. Hopefully that will be the case for you.

        Let us know how things go and what you are doing for her. Best to you!

  17. Kimberly says:

    Our dog came down with a very high fever 105 degrees, and severe pain in her neck and also her legs. If we tried to move her she would cry out very loudly. We believe she may have meningitis. She came down with these symptoms just four days ago. Our vet is going to start prednazone tonight. Do you think she has a chance of survival?

    • isak says:

      I can’t say for sure, but there is always a chance. Hope for that chance. What does your vet say? Is she going to stay at the clinic or have you brought her home? We will all certainly send good wishes your way!

  18. Paul burgess says:

    How long before treatment and diagnosis can a small dog aged 17 survive with meningitis

    • isak says:

      I’m sorry, but I don’t know the answer to your question. Your vet is probably your best bet for an answer. Best to you and your baby.

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