Bacterial Meningitis in Dogs

An illness or condition that has the potential to affect all dogs is bacterial meningitis or meningoencephalitis. Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that envelop the central nervous system or the brain itself. It is important to note that this affliction is extremely dangerous to your pet and is potentially life threatening. However, bacterial meningitis is very rare in dogs, although if affected the progress of the disease is extremely rapid. Treatment of this condition must be quick, aggressive and appropriate.

What Causes Bacterial Meningitis in Dogs

Bacterial meningitis most commonly results from an infection that may occur in any area of the dogs body, especially around the ears, nose and throat. Dogs that commonly chew at outside branches and other sharp entities are prone to infections that could result in the virus or meningitis entering the body.

Signs of Bacterial Meningitis

If your pet has an open wound or has been prone to infections in the past it is important to watch for the signs of bacterial meningitis. Some of the signs you want to be aware of are:

  • Cervical rigidity - This is a lack of flexibility in the dog's movements, as well as a difficulty in rising after it has been napping.
  • Depression - Your dog may do more lying around than usual or appear extremely lethargic, as if your pet is moping around the house. The result may be depression brought on from the condition of bacterial meningitis.
  • Shock - The appearance of shock. This is where fluid is specifically directed from the extremities to the core of the body. Your pet may experience quick shallow breathes and it's paws may be cold to the touch even if it is min a warm environment.
  • Decreased blood pressure -  This can only be determined by your veterinarian, although a method of monitoring whether your pet may have low blood pressure is, once again, lethargy or if it appears dizzy.
  • Fever - Monitoring of your dog's temperature is extremely important if you suspect the onset of bacterial meningitis. This is something that you, as owner, can do if you possess a thermometer or you may take the dog to the vet to have its temperature professionally determined.
  • Vomiting - Excessive vomiting even when the dog has nothing in its stomach is an indication of bacterial meningitis, however, vomiting could be an indication of some other affliction. You vet should be notified.
  • Hyperesthesia - This is a condition where your dog is overly sensitive to various stimuli like noise, temperature or touch.

Treatment of Bacterial Meningitis in Dogs

Treatment for bacterial meningitis is usually with oral antibiotics. The treatment could last for an extended period of time and be quite costly. The success of the treatment for this condition varies and it is common to have relapses in certain instances. In many cases of bacterial meningitis the dog will succumb to the illness and die. However, numerous success cases have been reported and if the method of treatment is rapid and aggressive the potential for recover is definitely a consideration.