Meningoencephalomyelitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Sick mammal with veterinarian, young girl and man near by

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Meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs is a medical condition that refers to inflammation of the brain and the spinal cord. It sometimes results from the presence of a higher than usual number of white blood cells.

Infection by parasites and allergic reactions can result in this condition. While all dogs can develop it, the Golden Retriever breed seems to be most often affected.

If you see signs that your dog might be suffering from this condition, then you must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs.

Symptoms Of Meningoencephalomyelitis In Dogs

Meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs can result in symptoms that often affect the nervous system. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Developing blindness
  • Memory loss
  • Circling

Causes Of Meningoencephalomyelitis In Dogs

Golden Retriever at Vet.

(Picture Credit: Tashi-Delek/Getty Images)

The precise underlying cause of meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs is often unknown. It results from an abnormal immune response that causes the dog’s body to attack its own tissue.

Additionally, small breeds of dogs seem to have a higher predisposition than large dogs for developing the condition when the cause is unknown, which may suggest a genetic link.

Female dogs also have a higher risk than male dogs with most cases occurring in dogs over six months of age.

However, some of the known factors and conditions linked to cases include:

  • Infections (both parasitic and fungal)
  • Allergies
  • Tumors
  • Vaccinations

Golden Retrievers seem to have a greater predisposition, as well.

Veterinary Treatments

If you worry that your dog is suffering from meningoencephalomyelitis, your veterinarian will carry out a full physical examination. The vet will order blood and urine tests, and they may suggest an MRI to look for any tumors.

Vets also often use cerebrospinal fluid analysis (CSF) to confirm a diagnosis.

When it comes to treatment, dogs commonly need a period of hospitalization. Vets frequently use steroids to control any inflammation that has arisen. Additionally, vets often suggest restricting a canine’s diet and movement as part of treatment.

If the condition results from an autoimmune response in the dog’s body, the vet may prescribe immunosuppressant drugs such as prednisone, dexamethasone, or cyclosporine.

The vet may also prescribe antibiotics, such as doxycycline, enrofloxacin, or clindamycin, to treat any infections at play that may worsen the condition.

As always, if your vet prescribes any medication for your dog, stick to their instructions and complete the full course, even if your dog’s symptoms appear to improve.

Has your dog ever developed meningoencephalomyelitis? What kind of symptoms did you see? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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