Inflammation of the Meninges and Arteries Resolved with Steroids in Dogs
Steroid-responsive meningitis-arteritis describes the combined conditions of inflammation of the protective membranes covering the spinal cord and brain (meninges), and inflammation of the walls of the arteries. It causes changes in the blood vessels of the heart, liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal system.
Steroid-responsive meningitis-arteritis occurs worldwide and it is thought dogs may be genetically predisposed to the disease. However, any dog breed may be affected. Moreover, it occurs mainly in dogs that are less than two years of age.
Symptoms and Types
The disease can be sudden (acute) or long-term (chronic):
- Increased sensitivity to stimuli
- Stiff neck
- Neck pain
- Stiff gait (walking motion)
- Fever of up to 107.6 degrees Fahreinheit
- Further neurologic problems: paralysis, hind leg weakness, etc.
- Possibly immune-mediated, related to abnormal IgA production (Immunoglobulin A – an antibody in the mouth and on mucosal surfaces)
- Triggered by environment, possibly infectious cause
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition, such as accidents or previous illnesses. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog, including a neurologic exam. Standard laboratory tests will include a biochemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and an electrolyte panel. A sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) will also be taken to check for cells and protein levels.
The term for the connective tissue around the brain and spine
A medical condition in which the meninges becomes inflamed
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
The term used to describe the movement of an animal
A protein in the body that is designed to fight disease; antibodies are brought on by the presence of certain antigens in the system.
The wasting away of certain tissues; a medical condition that occurs when tissues fail to grow.
Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.