Suppurative Meningitis in a Dog
What is Suppurative Meningitis?
- The condition is attributed to the migration of a parasite in the dog's body that travels to the his central nervous system (CNS). Once there, it triggers a reaction, causing an autoimmune response, where the immune system begins to fight itself. Tissues surrounding the brain swell and pain ensues. This form of meningitis is also called steroid-responsive meningitis, because it impacts the arteries of other systems in the dog's body, as well.
- Pet Wave indicates suppurative meningitis occurs in dogs of all breeds, but it's over-represented in Bernese mountain dogs, Nova Scotia duck trolling retrievers, boxers and beagles. The Merck Veterinary Manual states the condition also appears more often in younger dogs under the age of two.
- A dog with suppurative meningitis has a fever, sensitivity to touch and stiffness, which limits mobility. Depending on how the infection impacts the dog, pain is either acute or chronic. As the condition progresses, the dog vomits and becomes lethargic. It becomes depressed and aggressive when touched.
Seek immediate veterinary care when your dog displays any of these symptoms, as early diagnosis improves the chance for recovery.
- A veterinarian conducts a complete exam, including a series of tests to diagnosis this condition. According to Pet Wave, it usually involves a neurological exam, spinal fluid analysis, X-rays and possibly CT scans. Diagnosis is sometimes difficult, and when the dog displays symptoms related to meningitis, a veterinarian proceeds with a presumptive diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
- This particular form of meningitis frequently responds to steroid treatment. Steroids suppress the immune system and stop it from attacking itself. In addition, an anti-inflammatory medication is also prescribed to relieve pain and swelling of the tissue near the CNS. A dog that responds quickly to the treatment is more likely to recover before the condition causes permanent damage. Dogs with a more severe form of suppurative meningitis generally require life-time medication and physical therapy.