Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs


What are Aseptic Meningitis?

Aseptic meningitis can strike without cautioning for no apparent factor at all, triggering your canine extreme hypersensitivity to touch and a high fever. Lots of cases consist of young puppies under 6 months of age and appear to be most common in Bernese Mountain dogs. Some cases of aseptic meningitis can advance to sleeping sickness, which is the swelling of the brain that triggers comparable signs however consists of headache and possible seizures.

Meningitis is a severe condition in which there is swelling of the meninges, which are the membranes that cover the spine and brain. Veterinary specialists think that aseptic meningitis (steroid responsive meningitis-arteritis) is brought on by the body immune system, however that has actually not been shown. This illness generally strikes dogs that are under 2 years of age and both sexes are similarly vulnerable. The 2 primary signs of aseptic meningitis are neck discomfort and a high body temperature level. Aseptic meningitis can be deadly if not dealt with immediately, so if your animal has neck and neck and back pain and a high fever you must see a veterinary expert instantly.

Signs of Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs

With cases of aseptic meningitis, you will likely see that your canine has a stiff neck and keeps it suspending to avoid the discomfort in the spine. Some other normal signs are:

  • High body temperature level
  • Stiff walking and standing
  • Unpleasant back and neck (spinal column)
  • Muscle convulsions
  • Lightheadedness
  • Problem walking
  • Fainting
  • Headache (with sleeping sickness)
  • Seizures (with sleeping sickness)
  • Death


Aseptic meningitis is most typically found in big or medium sized dogs, however it tends to impact specific breeds and ages more than others. Those impacted most typically are:

  • In between 3 and 18 months of age
  • Beagles
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Boxers
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
  • Weimaraners

Reasons For Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs

The reason for aseptic meningitis is most typically due to an illness in another part of your canine’s body such as fungal, parasitic, bacterial, protozoan, or viral infection. A few of the most typical findings are:

  • Ear infection
  • Contaminated bite injuries
  • Nasal infection
  • Rickettsial
  • Serious allergy
  • Sinus infection

Medical Diagnosis of Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs

Bring your canine to the veterinary medical facility or center if you cannot get a visit with your own vet immediately due to the fact that aseptic meningitis can be deadly without timely treatment. If you have your animal’s medical and shot records, it can assist if you bring them with you. Inform the vet your canine’s age, weight, breed, and adverse effects you have actually seen. An extensive health examination will be done, consisting of high blood pressure, body temperature level, weight, reflexes, breath noises, oxygen level, pulse and respiration rates. Throughout the health examination, the vet will do a neurological evaluation to inspect your animal’s neurological system and an eye evaluation to inspect the fundus as the back of the eye. 

There are 2 essential tests in identifying whether your canine has aseptic meningitis, a total blood count (CBC) and cerebrospinal tap (CSF). The blood count will generally reveal reduced platelets, increased neutrophils, and high leukocyte count. The back tap is done by getting a sample of the back fluid with a needle put in in between the vertebrae of the back and will be done while your animal is anesthetized. If your canine has aseptic meningitis, the back tap will reveal a greater than typical quantity of proteins and cells however no infections. In addition, a CT (computed tomography) scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) will reveal the swelling of the tissues that surround the brain and spinal column (meninges)

Treatment of Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs

The lab tests and health examination will assist figure out the very best course of treatment for your animal. Treating your canine for aseptic meningitis will most typically consist of the normal procedure of medications, observation, and additional treatment.


Veterinarians will generally deal with aseptic meningitis with prednisone, which is an immunosuppressive drug. The treatment should be continued for one to 3 months and might need to be lessened to avoid adverse effects and regression. In some cases, other medications are required, such as cyclosporine to lower the possibility of infection and aid reduce your canine’s body immune system.


An over night stay in the medical facility is generally recommended for observation. Throughout this time, the vet will likewise offer additional oxygen, intravenous (IV) fluids, and other medications.

Healing of Aseptic Meningitis in Dogs

Once your vet lets you take your canine house, make sure to offer a safe and peaceful location so your animal can rest. Likewise, offer a lot of fresh water and a healthy diet plan and follow the vet’s directions about the medication and other treatment. You will need to bring your canine back in 7-10 days for a follow-up evaluation and continue to see the vet till the medication is gone. Your canine can regression rapidly if you do not continue the treatment as recommended. Diagnosis is excellent if you have actually captured it early enough and treatment is quickly provided.

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