Brain Inflammation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Brain Inflammation in Dogs

Brain Inflammation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Collapse / Head Tilt / Loss of Balance / Paralysis / Seizures / Shaking

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Rated as moderate conditon

20 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Collapse / Head Tilt / Loss of Balance / Paralysis / Seizures / Shaking

Brain Inflammation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Jump to section

What is Brain Inflammation?

Encephalitis may occur in on its own or in conjunction with meningitis, which is recognized as the inflammation of the meninges, the meninges comprise as the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and/or myelitis, or the inflammation of the spinal cord itself. Encephalitis is most likely to be found in a young adult or adult dog and has a higher occurrence in the following breeds: Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Pug, and German Short-Hair Pointers.

Encephalitis is the state of inflammation in a dog’s brain. Brain inflammation occurs when a dog’s immune system attacks its own brain.

Brain Inflammation Average Cost

From 3 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

Symptoms of Brain Inflammation in Dogs

The symptoms of brain inflammation vary depending on the area of the brain affected. The onset of symptoms is sudden and progresses rapidly.

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Decreased pupil size
  • Unequal pupil size
  • Behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Loss of balance
  • Stumbling
  • Blindness
  • Decreased responsiveness
  • Tilting head
  • Face paralysis
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Excessive circling
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Brain Inflammation in Dogs

Infectious

causes of brain inflammation are less common. They include bacteria, viruses (such as distemper, rabies, and parvovirus), fungal infections (such as aspergillosis, histoplasmosis, and blastomycosis), protozoa, rickettsia, complications of vaccines, and parasitic infections (such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis).

Non-infectious

causes of brain inflammation are the significantly more common. Some are idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause. All are autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks itself.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Brain Inflammation in Dogs

Thorough reporting of the onset and extent of your dog’s symptoms will go a long way in aiding diagnosis. Be sure to include any recent injuries or incidents that may provide an alternative explanation for the changes in your dog’s behavior. The veterinarian and/or vet tech will complete an extremely thorough examination (physical), a chemical blood profile, complete blood count and urinalysis. The results of these tests will reveal possible infectious causes of brain inflammation, starting with a decreased white blood cell count pointing to infection.

Your dog’s brain structure and functioning will be evaluated with MRIs and CT scans, and cerebrospinal fluid may be sampled and sent to a laboratory for expert analysis. The imaging will reveal inflammation through the uncharacteristic density of white matter in your dog’s brain, as well as any asymmetry. These tests will typically be enough to elicit a positive diagnosis of brain inflammation; however, in some cases, analysis of a brain tissue sample may be the only way to confirm the diagnosis. Extracting a sample of brain tissue from your dog can be dangerous, and can only be performed by a specialist.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cannanine

Treatment of Brain Inflammation in Dogs

While treatment for brain inflammation may vary, initial focus will be on reducing the severity of the symptoms. Your dog may require hospitalization and intensive care for stabilization. In the case of brain inflammation caused by an infection, the underlying cause will be treated individually, often through individualized antibiotics. Treatment of the brain inflammation itself consists of medication designed to decrease inflammation and suppress the immune system, such as prednisone, cytosine arabinoside, cyclosporine, azathioprine, leflunomide, and procarbazine.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Brain Inflammation in Dogs

The veterinarian or specialist will help you to determine your dog’s individual prognosis because recovery will be directly correlated to the causation of the condition as well as severity through inflammation as established by the specialist or DVM. Treatment can control most dogs’ symptoms within a month or two; however, in many dogs, symptoms resume if medication is ceased. For this reason, your dog’s condition may necessitate long-term or lifelong management.

No matter your dog’s prognosis, you will need to return to the veterinarian for regular follow-up and monitoring of your dog’s condition and method of treatment.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Brain Inflammation Average Cost

From 3 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Brain Inflammation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Leo

dog-breed-icon

chihuahua mix

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures
Lethargic
Unresponsive
Unsteady

My mixed chihuahua started having seizures 5 days ago. He was hospitalized for 24 hours and put on anti seizure medication. He was very lethargic when I went to visit him at hour 18, and they said they were going to treat him for possible brain swelling ( a one time treatment). After 2 days home on the anti seizure medication, he because very lethargic, and unresponsive. His tongue was falling out of his mouth. We rushed him back to the ER and he was given some more meds, one including brain swelling. He seems to have turned around again. We are on the fence on whether this is an epileptic dog, or if he has brain inflammation we should be trying to treat. We are unable at this time to perform an MRI.

Sept. 14, 2018

Leo's Owner

dog-name-icon

Sophie

dog-breed-icon

Maltese

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Gme

Our 10-year old, female maltese has been treated for the past 5 years for GME with cyclosporin b.i.d. She is doing well. I recently read an article about a holistic treatment plan for this condition. I live in NY State and we go to Cornell Vet Hospital in Ithaca, NY, for her neurological care. Can you recommend a vet that does holistic care for this condition in Upstate NY? Thanks.

July 27, 2018

Sophie's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

I don’t know a Veterinarian in or around New York State which offers holistic care, I made a search online but every holistic Veterinarian is around NYC; if you’ve been visiting Cornell University Veterinary Hospital, I would advise that you discuss this with them first since Sophie is under their care and there are many articles online which are not backed up with reputable scientific data. Also, the specific type of holistic treatment would depend on the type of Veterinarian since there is TCVM, Homeopathy (ignore this one), Naturopathy among other methods. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 28, 2018

dog-name-icon

Monie

dog-breed-icon

Rat Terrier

dog-age-icon

Ten Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blindness

Hi, there. I have a 10 year old diabetic, hypothyroid, female, spayed, Rat Terrier mix. She was diagnosed 27 months ago and is completely regulated with insulin and Soloxine. She also had successful cataract surgery 15 months ago. Suddenly (over a period of about 2 weeks), four months ago she lost her vision again. She sees the ophthalmologist routinely who tested her retina's last week, and they are fine. She should be seeing. We now have an MRI scheduled for mid-August for any neurological problems. Other than her sight, she is in great shape. She is very active and social and this has not changed. My question is this, obviously I'm very worried about her and am fearful that August may be too far off if there is something life-threatening going on neurologically. What should I be on the lookout for? Do you have any assumptions based on her symptoms (blindness only) that may be the issue? Thank you so much.

July 6, 2018

Monie's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are many possible causes for blindness in dogs, however if your Ophthalmologist has come up empty for a possible cause we would most likely be looking at something neurological past the retina; it is good that you have an MRI booked for Monie was this will show if there are any tumours or other anomalies with the optic nerves etc… Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 7, 2018

dog-name-icon

Piper

dog-breed-icon

Boston Terrier

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Difficulty Walking
Lethargic
Won'T Drink
Dull
Bulgy Eyes
Stares At Walls
Vision Issues

Hi there, My dog Piper was diagnosed last week with GME. We chose to go ahead and start prednisone treatment right away without receiving an MRI. She didn't show any signs of improvement with the medication and within 5 days we went ahead with cytosar injections. What are the chances that she will do better with the cytosar and how long after her last treatment should we typically see improvement?? We understand that euthanization is our only other option if this doesn't work, however we want to be realistic and give her the time that the medication needs to provide improvement.

May 30, 2018

Piper's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Generally treatment with Cytosar (cytosine arabinoside) is more effective than corticosteroid therapy which is ineffective in many cases; I’ve put a quotation below which covers survival time in comparison between Cytosar and corticosteroid therapy (prednisone). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM “...7 patients were included based upon history, clinical signs, CT analysis, CSF analysis, and negative diagnostic investigations for infectious encephalitis. The treatment protocol consisted of administering cytosine arabinoside (Cytosar) at a dose of 50 mg/m2 SQ BID q3 weeks for a duration of 4 months, along with a tapering dose of prednisone. The mean survival time for the 7 dogs in this study was 291 days, with 6 of the 7 dogs alive. Six dogs were categorized as in clinical remission and 1 dog died after 101 days. In a retrospective study, dogs with focal GME that were treated with sole corticosteroid therapy had a mean survival time of 41 days (Munana and Luttgen 1998) suggesting that treatment with corticosteroids alone is unsatisfactory. While preliminary in nature, the case series presented in this report suggest a potentially important role for cytosine arabinoside in the treatment of dogs...:” https://ecommons.cornell.edu/handle/1813/2783 http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/inflammatory-brain-disorders-dogs-gme-nme-ne-and-srma-proceedings

May 31, 2018

dog-name-icon

Graci

dog-breed-icon

German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Head Tilt
Head Shaking

I have GSD which is 1year 6month old my dog can't see anything,she only moves to her left side in circle manner and she don't eat food by her self, she goes to corner place and cannot come out of it by her own see cries in the night and due to she can't see she strikes with the edge of tables lockers. So iam requesting you kindly please tell me that wheater she will be normal like before

May 24, 2018

Graci's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Without examining Graci and performing a thorough neurological examination, I cannot say what the specific cause is or if she will regain vision and coordination. If you haven’t visited a Veterinarian yet, I would recommend that you should to determine the specific cause of the symptoms which are presenting. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 25, 2018

dog-name-icon

Charlie

dog-breed-icon

English lab

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Head Tilt
Head Tilt, Confusion

Our dog Charlie started last week with head tilting and lethargic. Then within a day or so started turning in circles and running into walls. We went to a neurologist who performed an MRI and CSF tests - determined it was autoimmune encephalitis - the next day they said his symptoms had worsened and he had lost eyesight in both eyes. We prepared our family to say goodbye - as we arrived the neurologist said hold up we have given him steroids and he had started responding. We made the decision to treat him aggressively - we started on the chemo medicine cytosine, anti-biotics and prednisone. We are now 5 days in - he is a completely different dog. He is acting completely normal. The only thing we are noticing is glowing eyes. His sight has returned in one of his eyes and starting to respond in his 2nd eye. My question is about the glowing eyes and long-term recovery.

dog-name-icon

Reuben

dog-breed-icon

Boston Terrier

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Circling, Agitation

About 1 year ago reuben was diagnosed with Cushing’s which we treated and then he became addisonian. Nothing seemed to be working or making sense until he started circling. Took him for an mri to find a large mass on his pituitary. Treated him with 20 rounds of radiation. He came back to pretty much his old self. about 1 month ago we saw a change in him with loss of appetite and agitation. He started to circle again. We recently did a recheck mri which showed that the mass is the same size as it was after his radiation therapy but there is clearly signs of swelling. It’s thought this could now be caused by radiation side effects. We upped his pred to 2 x 5 mg / day and they gave me trazodone which was mostly for the long car ride i has home from the specialist but also suggested try it in the house to see if it helps him relax. It’s not really. He’s only been on the 10 mg of pred for 3 days now. His appetite seems to be back and he’s not hollering and crying anymore. Overall he seems to be more comfortable except the chronic pacing which is hard to watch. Any thoughts or suggestions on this?

Brain Inflammation Average Cost

From 3 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

Cannanine