Meningitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments

Veterinarians examining small dog in clinic examination room
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Meningitis in dogs is a neurological disease that results in inflammation of the protective membranes that surround the central nervous system called the meninges. Symptoms can be severe if it goes untreated, and meningitis may cause serious conditions in dogs, including neurological problems like seizures and paralysis. In some cases, it can be fatal. Meningitis may also cause a secondary inflammation in the brain or spine. Meningoencephalitis is a similar condition that affects the brain and the meninges, while meningomyelitis is a condition that affects the spinal cord and the meninges. These can sometimes have different causes, but present similar symptoms to meningitis in dogs. If you notice the symptoms of meningitis in your dog, it is important that you see a veterinarian right away. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for meningitis in canines.

Symptoms Of Meningitis In Dogs

Border Terrier dog lying with chin on cushion, looking guilty, Norfolk UK
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The symptoms of meningitis in dogs may vary in type and intensity depending on how far the inflammation has progressed and which parts of the central nervous system are affected. Initial symptoms may include the following.

  • Neck or back pain or stiffness in the spine, noticeable by your dog holding their neck or back rigid
  • Muscle spasms in the back, neck, or forelegs
  • Eyes tracking from side to side or up and down
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Weakness
  • Head tilting
  • Unsteadiness while walking
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Low blood pressure

Serious symptoms that tend to occur if the disease has progressed include the following.

  • Blindness
  • Dullness or stupor
  • Severe unsteadiness or loss of muscle control
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Abnormal levels of aggression or agitation

It is important to see a veterinarian right away if you notice these symptoms. The earlier treatment begins, the…