Meningoencephalomyelitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Dog meningoencephalomyelitis is a condition that relates to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It sometimes results from having a higher than usual number of white blood cells.

Parasite infection and allergic reactions can lead to this condition. While all dogs can develop it, the Golden Retriever breed appears to be most commonly affected.

If you see signs that your dog has the condition, then You need to consult your veterinarian for correct diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs.

Symptoms of meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs

Dog meningoencephalomyelitis can cause symptoms, often affecting the nervous system. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Seizures
  • Develop blindness
  • Memory loss
  • Circles

Causes of Meningoencephalomyelitis in Dogs

Golden Retriever at Vet.

(Image credit: Tashi-Delek / Getty Images)

The exact 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 tissues.

In addition, small breeds of dogs appear to be more likely than large dogs to develop the condition when the cause is unknown, which may suggest a genetic link.

Bitches are also at a higher risk than males, with most cases occurring in dogs over six months.

However, known factors and conditions associated with cases include:

  • Infections (both parasites and fungi)
  • Allergies
  • Tumors
  • Vaccinations

Golden retrievers also seem to have a greater disposition.

Veterinary treatments

If you are concerned that your dog may have meningoencephalomyelitis, your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive physical exam. The vet will order blood and urine tests, and may suggest an MRI to look for tumors.

Veterinarians also often use a CSF analysis to confirm a diagnosis.

Dogs typically require hospitalization when it comes to treatment. Veterinarians often use steroids to control inflammation that has developed. In addition, veterinarians often suggest restricting a dog’s diet and exercise as part of treatment.

If the condition is due to an autoimmune reaction in the dog’s body, the veterinarian may prescribe immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone, dexamethasone, or cyclosporine.

The veterinarian may also prescribe antibiotics such as doxycycline, enrofloxacin, or clindamycin to treat any infections that can make the condition worse.

As always, if your veterinarian prescribes medication for your dog, follow their instructions and go through the entire course, even if your dog’s symptoms seem to be improving.

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