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Meningitis in Dogs… Causes, treatments and costs!

We’re not going to sugar coat this one because let’s face it meningitis is a very scary thing that can happen to both us humans as well as our canine family members as well.

Which is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own a dog that has been diagnosed with meningitis so that you as the owner might have a better understanding of what’s going on and what might happen throughout your dog’s treatment.

After all…

The first step in getting your dog better is first understanding what you’re dealing with and then from there implementing a plan to get him or her the best care available, right?

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

What is meningitis?

In order for one to understand what meningitis is, they’ll first need to know that the brain and spinal cord are both covered in membranes known as meninges for protection.

And what happens…

With meningitis is that these membranes get inflamed or infected.  Not this can be very dangerous since all communication to your body takes place via the spinal cord and brain.

It’s also important…

To understand that this infection or inflammation of the meninges is different from encephalitis which is swelling of the actual brain rather than the meninges covering it. A combination of the two is called meningoencephalitis, which as you can imagine is much worse.

What causes meningitis in dogs?

The most common cause of meningitis in dogs is an infection that is caused by:

  • Bacterial infections,
  • Viral infections,
  • Fungal infections,
  • Or parasites.

This can happen as a result of a simple ear infection left untreated or something more serious like rabies or vertebral osteomyelitis. It’s also something that can occur after bodily trauma like a car accident.

Now just because…

You as your dog’s owner you can’t think of a situation in which your dog could have been likely susceptible to meningitis this doesn’t mean that situation doesn’t exist, though. Perhaps your dog had a slight infection and you didn’t even know. He/she could have been exposed to toxin that caused meningitis as well.

Symptoms of meningitis in dogs

Meningitis can be difficult to diagnose just because the symptoms seem slightly generic – other illnesses have similar symptoms. Still, some of the common ones at the onset of meningitis include:

  • Fever or chills,
  • Weight loss/ lack of appetite,
  • Weakness and overall lack of movement,
  • Sad or depressed demeanor (yes, dogs can get depressed),
  • Lack of interest in regular activities,
  • Low blood pressure,
  • Muscle spasms, twitches or stiffness,

As the disease progresses…

Things will get much more serious if left untreated. Your dog could even suffer from blindness, seizures or paralysis.

Another type of meningitis that your dog may have been exposed to is known as granulomatous meningoencephalitis and is mostly caused by a canine distemper virus.

Diagnosis of meningitis in dogs

Getting an accurate diagnosis is very important to your dog’s health. If you fail to get your dog diagnoses, he or she could suffer from a lot of bigger problems like blindness or even sudden death.

This is why…

It’s so important to always have your dog checked out by a professional any time you suspect anything might be wrong with him or her.  You see, in addition to performing a physical exam on your dog, your vet will also likely order a series of blood tests as well as check your dogs cerebrospinal fluid via a spinal tap as well.

After this…

Your veterinarian will decide an adequate treatment plan depending on the severity. It is likely your dog will have to be hospitalized for stabilization. In some cases, this may not be necessary. Treatment normally involves steroids or corticosteroids and careful watch.

Which bring us to…

A good place to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be really passionate about animals and only want to see what’s best for them.  Which is why we always recommend that the moment that you feel something isn’t right with your dog, be sure to take him or her to the vet ASAP!

This way…

You can be sure that he or she is getting the care that they need right away which could mean the difference between life and death as well as a small vet bill vs a large one.  Because if there’s one thing that we’re sure of around IndulgeYourPet is that going to the vet can be expensive, and it can get really expensive when dealing with a serious medical condition like meningitis.  Which brings us to our next topic which is…

Cost of Treatment

Meningitis is a serious disease and recovering from it is not easy. First, the diagnosis process isn’t always that clear cut, especially if you don’t even know what viruses or infections your dog is suffering from. Second, there will be a lot of lab work to get to a diagnosis – all of that is expensive.

In fact…

Diagnosis alone will likely cost between $200-1000. And then that’s when the actual cost of treatment kicks in.  Now, what those costs will be can vary significantly, mainly depending on whether or not your dog needs to remain overnight in the vet clinic, needs IVs or just medication.


For your dog to truly recover, be mentally prepared to pay $3000. If it’s anything less than that, you’ll feel more relieved.  Which brings us to the last topic that we would want to encourage you to check out which is the possibility of purchasing a pet insurance policy.

This way…

If any of your other pets encounter a similar diagnosis or suffer from an injury that might also require extensive vet care, you won’t be on the hook for 100% of those costs as well.

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies in the industry, feel free to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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