Two weeks ago our 12 month old Golden Retriever, Cooper, was diagnosed with Steroid Responsive Meningitis-Arteritis. Yep, my dog has meningitis 🙁
What were the signs that my dog had Meningitis?
A few months ago Cooper was not himself. He is usually a boisterous dog so it is very noticeable when he is not feeling well. He was moving slower and he wouldn’t bend down to eat his food or drink his water. We took him to the vet. They poked and prodded him. His temperature was normal but his movement was a bit stiff. We did some x-rays and they were all clear. The vet made the decision to give him anti-inflammatories and see how he was the next day. He did tell us that some of these symptoms sounded like it could be meningitis but that meningitis generally comes with a high temperature. He told us if Cooper got worse the next day, to take him to the specialist to test for meningitis. But thankfully the next day, Cooper was back to his crazy self.
About a month and a half later, we noticed the same symptoms had come back. Cooper was totally flat, just sleeping, moving really slowly, not doing his usual big stretches, struggling to yawn, not licking and cleaning his private parts and hesitant to bend down to get his food. We took him to our vet and again, he didn’t have a temperature so our vet suggested we go to see the specialist to get some tests done. This was now the 3rd or 4th time Cooper was unwell in the past few months so we decided that this time we wanted to get to the bottom of it, we needed some answers. We took Cooper to Advanced Vet Care in North Melbourne, it’s a 24 hour emergency vet with some of the best vets. The vet that we saw happened to be a guy who was the year above me at school which has been fantastic! We decided to do as many tests as we could to get to the bottom of it. We did a CT Scan, blood tests and a Spinal Tap. The only way to test for meningitis is with the Spinal Tap which is quite a risky procedure and Cooper had to be put under anaesthetic for this. The poor pup had a full examination.
The same day we got the results back that CT scan was clear, ruling out any spinal or neck injuries and disc problems. The blood tests were clear. So we were still stumped. We had to wait till the next day for the Spinal Tap results but at this stage, Jase and I weren’t sure what we wanted to hear. If the spinal tap came back clear, then we were still at square one, not knowing what was making Coop so unwell, but it would also mean he didn’t have meningitis which would be great. And then on the other hand we kind of wanted it to come back as positive because it would mean we knew what was going on and could treat it.
The results came through the next day at lunchtime and it was positive. The vet explained that it seemed to be quite a mild case considering he wasn’t dramatically deteriorating and didn’t have a fever. The vet explained that a dog with meningitis feels like they are walking around with a very heavy head and an achy body all over. And at this stage the cause of meningitis in dogs is still unknown. Poor Coops!
What is the treatment for meningitis in dogs?
As you can probably tell from the name of this disease, Steroid Responsive Meningitis-Arteritis, dogs generally respond well to steroids. Early diagnosis is essential for a successful outcome. And thankfully our vet had told us that we got it in time as Coop didn’t have the high temperature and he appeared to be quite a mild case. Dogs with a severe case, need a larger dose of steroids and need to take them for up to 6 months. In all cases, you need to hit them hard with the steroids at first and then slowly taper off the drugs. The only problem with giving a dog steroids is that side effects are inevitable; hunger, thirst, bloating, muscle loss. And then there are some worse side effects such as gastrointestinal ulceration. Dogs need to be on a low fat diet otherwise they can develop pancreatitis. But thankfully this disease is treatable.
Will he recover?
Yes, Cooper should make a full recovery. The vet has told us that it could take a full 6 months for Coop to get back to his normal self. So it is a slow process.
Could it come back?
There is a chance that meningitis can come back in dogs. That is why it is so important to listen to the vet’s instructions and slowly reduce the dosage of steroids and not to just stop them.
Where we are at now
It is two weeks after being diagnosed with this disease and each day we see small improvements in Coop. We had one set back a few days after starting the steroids when Cooper went off his food and vomited. We put him on some more medication to help with inflammation on the lining of his insides (I think that’s what the vet said). And we changed his diet to boiled chicken and rice. After that we have had no problems with eating, rather he has turned into a scavenger which is also a side effect of the steroids. We also ended up sending off some extra blood work too that the vet had put aside to make sure it wasn’t bacterial or parasitic meningitis (again, I think those were the terms used). And thankfully the bloods came back all clear, confirming that we were treating the right kind of meningitis.
After just 10 days of being on the steroids, Cooper lost 4kg, he had become extremely depressed and was drinking water like it was running out of fashion and as a result peeing almost every half an hour. The vet explained that even if we fed him 8 meals a day, he would still shed the weight due to the drugs. So we took him for a check up and the vet decided we were ready to half his dosage of steroids. If he got worse, we would put it straight back up but if he improves, we will be able to half the dosage again soon. He was unsure if the depression was a side effect from the drugs or a result of the disease.
It’s now a couple days after reducing the drugs by half and Cooper is definitely less depressed and less lethargic, he has a little spark back and we see that smile on his face a little more often. He is still sleeping lots and is not interested in playing with other dogs. He is actually the best behaved he has ever been. But until he is pulling me to play with other dogs, I know he is still not himself. Considering Coopers progress, our vet thinks we will only need to have him on the drugs for a couple of months and not the full 6 months. So day by day, we watch our little boy get a bit better. And we just can’t wait to get our crazy boisterous pup back.
For those of you who are interested and would like to know more, this is a fantastic article that explains the disease and actually made me feel a bit better about it all.
We will make sure to keep you updated on Coopers progress.
And we would love to hear from anyone else who has had a dog with meningitis…
PS. This article was written in 2013- Cooper is now 8 and he did have one relapse about a year after his first case. But we knew what it was straight away and how to treat it and he has fully recovered.
PPS. Make sure to head to our SHOP if you haven’t already! Spoil yourself and your dog!!
Nancy Stell September 7, 2013 at 12:19 am
I have had Mennengitis twice and boy, can I sympathize! He is sure lucky to have you to look after him. I remember how ill I felt, and it is very, very painful to experience. I took along while to feel back to normal.
Please take care of him!!
Victoria March 27, 2021 at 8:55 am
Ahh this post made me smile, someone who’s been through the exact same thing as us! Seriously it was as if I had written it myself!!! I just wanted to check how Coops is doing??? Any learnings from it? Have you found any diet that worked best for you guys? I’m thinking about home cooking Koko meals. I just want to make sure she’s eating the right foods! How long was Coops on treatment for? Thank you so much for sharing!!
Cooper and Kids March 28, 2021 at 8:06 pm
Hi Victoria – thanks so much for reaching out!! Cooper is nearly 9 now and he’s doing amazing!! Good luck with it all and wishing your dog a speedy recovery! Mel
Lynn Fraser June 14, 2021 at 3:32 am
It was great reading your story about Cooper it was just like reliving this last week with my pup
We have 11 month little puppy who has just been diagnosed with meningitis, still waiting on results of other tests.
It has been awful watching him go through the scan and spinal tap but now diagnosed he is on the correct medication steroids, painkillers for his neck and antibiotics we will need to wait and see if anything comes back from the other tests
He was in the hospital for 4 days but we got him home last night.
He is very sleepy and a bit floppy but a lot better than a few days ago.
This is something I never knew dogs could get
Thanks for your story
Cooper and Kids June 14, 2021 at 8:23 am
Lynn I am so sorry to hear you’re going through this!! Wishing you puppy a speedy recovery!
Jane December 23, 2021 at 2:15 am
My 9 month springer spaniel is waiting for a neurologist appt to diagnose this – our vet within 5 minutes got the gut feeling – waiting on testing to come back to rule out other things – but treated Jax with a strong dose of steroid / anti-inflamatory while we wait. Your article is bang on and very helpful – mostly for the positive out come that is possible – Ive spent a few sleepless worried days and nights – so thanks for some positive vibes while we wait – Jane HP
Cooper and Kids December 31, 2021 at 1:53 pm
hi jane! thanks for reaching out!! Wishing you all the luck!! i hope Jax is all ok and has a speedy recovery.
Danielle June 24, 2022 at 10:39 am
I know this article is old. I’m doing research as my moms 3 year old dog is going through this right now. She’s been sick for about a month now and the vet initially thought it was a gastro infection, which I read this is commonly mistreated at first. The specialist hasn’t done the spinal tap but is very positive the pup has meningitis and has started her on steroids. How long did cooper have signs before you brought him in and did he ever go through periods where he didn’t eat?? I’m praying the steroids will help her but I’m also nervous it went too long. Reading Coopers story made me smile. Thanks so much!
Mel Ritterman September 7, 2013 at 12:41 am
Thanks Nancy. That's no good that you've had it twice! Poor thing. And yes we are taking good care of him xx
The Conifer Crew September 7, 2013 at 5:30 am
Poor Cooper, but your post was super informative and with three Goldens I appreciate learning everything I can about what can affect them.
Mel Ritterman September 7, 2013 at 5:38 am
Thanks for the feedback! It is a much longer post than usual but there was just too much information that I wanted to include. Definitely want people to be aware of this disease because if detected too late it can be fatal. And our vet was initially baffled and couldn't work out what was wrong with him so it is good to know the symptoms.
Jacquie September 8, 2013 at 2:07 am
Cooper is certainly in the best hands as you and Jase are wonderful parents and he knows you'll do anything to get him better, he is a lucky boy to you have you both!! Give him a big cuddle from us and let me know when he'd be up to a visit from JJ xx
khills September 8, 2013 at 2:44 am
Scary experience but thanks for sharing. I didn't even know dogs got meningitis.
Mel Ritterman September 8, 2013 at 4:43 am
Thanks Khills! He is already in much better spirits today! We are loving seeing him get better each day!
Mel Ritterman September 8, 2013 at 4:44 am
Thanks Jacquie! Will do! His improvement today has been amazing! Love seeing the improvements each day and thanks for the support as always xxx
Lorna May 15, 2021 at 4:02 am
Hi Mel! My Pup Lenny is 9 months old. Last night he started to whimper when he was trying to eat, then the pain started in his face and neck. This morning the vet diagnosed him with SRM and gave him I’ve Steroids and antibiotics.
He seems to be having painful spams every 3-5 minutes.
Is this something you have encountered.
Cooper and Kids June 14, 2021 at 8:22 am
Hi Lorna, thanks for reaching out. To be honest it was so long ago now, you are always best to speak to your vet to check if it’s “normal”.
I hope Lenny is ok and comes out the other end a healthy puppy!!
francesca September 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm
Oh poor doggie, thanks for sharing the experience. I don't know much about but I really hope he can recover fast!
Anonymous September 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm
My 8 month old whippet puppy Sid has just been diagnosed with SRMA today. I have been so upset and worried, but reading your story has really given me hope.
thank you so much x
Mel Ritterman September 23, 2013 at 4:06 am
Thanks Francesca! He is well and truly on the mend. So nice seeing him almost back to his usual self.
Mel Ritterman September 23, 2013 at 4:12 am
That is exactly why I wanted to post this story on my blog! When we found out Cooper had it – I tried googling to find other people's stories and didn't really have much luck. So I am so happy to hear that it helped you out and made you feel a bit better. How is Sid doing?? Was he a severe or a mild case? Poor little pup!! My Cooper is recovering very quickly. He has been on his medication for just over a month now i think and will have about 3-4 more weeks on the steroids and then fingers crossed that's it. the weight loss was a bit of a shock but as we decrease the medication, he is putting it back on and getting his energy back. Please keep me posted on how Sid goes x
Anonymous October 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm
Thanks for sharing your dog's story and give us some hope. Our beautiful (six years old) long hair Chihuahua has been with us for almost four years since we rescued him. Everything started around a month ago with a urine track infection which was taken care of with antibiotics after showing some signs of incontinence. After that I did notice that his hind legs were a little bit stiff but he was moving just fine. Last Monday he was having problem putting pressure on his back legs to poop. I took it to the vet on Tuesday and after some x-rays and it showed that he has some arthritis and he got some medicine. However, his balance was not good at all and his four limbs looked weaker as the days passed. I took it to the vet on Thursday and they ran complete blood work and the vet told me that everything seemed Ok but if he got any worst then I needed to take it to see the neurologist. On Friday he was really having problems to move so I called Center for Vet Specialty Care and they took my dog with an emergency appointment (that was way more expensive but completely worth it). After I talked to the vet, I left him and they did some more blood work, an MRI and the spinal tap then he was diagnosed with autoimmune meningitis. I have to mention that he never had fever or reduced appetite but he lost a lb. in three weeks. They normally don't give a positive prognosis for meningitis but my dog is a healthy dog, we even used to walk almost a mile every day so we're very positive he's going to be better soon. The neurologist explained that the steroids will take a couple of weeks to take full effect but his balance is much better and he's very thirsty and hungry, but Chihuahuas are always that way. We had to discontinue the medicine for the arthritis because it can hurt his stomach along the steroids but I think that can be treated at a later time. We're trying to make him feel comfortable right now so his energy won't go down and he can fight this and have a full recovery.
The vet never mentioned it to me but in the place we board our two Chihuahuas when we go out of town, they're always asking for more than the regular shots and I did notice that as the dogs get older their immune system gets weaker because lately they've had reactions to every single shot, so now we have to spread them along two or three months. Some of the vets I ask for these shots don't even carry them because they don't think are needed so please be careful with the shots your dogs get especially if they're small dogs, no matter if they're healthy dogs.
Mel Ritterman October 23, 2013 at 11:26 pm
Oh your poor pup!! I am so glad that you found our story and it gave you some hope- that's exactly why I posted about it – to help others. When Cooper was diagnosed i couldn't really find much on line so it is comforting to read other peoples stories with positive outcomes. How is he taking to the steroids?? Cooper became so depressed from them at first. But as we slowly reduced them, he got better and better. We are still on a very low dose but almost at the end of the treatment. What does your vet say about the recovery time for your pup?? Good luck with it all and please keep me posted x
Amanda di Grazia December 29, 2013 at 9:26 pm
PLEASE SEND ADVICE I'M VERY WORRIED. I'm 17 years old and my puppy of 5 months has SRAM and I'm really worried for her, she wines almost violently sometimes, and if she even moves her head she squeeks in pain (you know how dogs do). For the first couple weeks she seemed so much better, she was even running and she oculd get on the coach, now all she can do is lye down constantly and when she gets up to move she wines for atleast several minutes. I'm just really worried because htye already started decreasing her medication but it seems to quick for me because we've only known since the beginning of December, I'm unsure of what will happen if she doesn't get better but I'm worried to tears because nothing seems to be helping her. PLEASE send me any adivce you have for what might make her better, she had a high fever for about 3 days before we the vet realized she had SRAM,
Mel Ritterman December 30, 2013 at 5:08 am
Oh Amanda your poor puppy! And only 5 months old. What is her name and what breed is she? It really is horrible when you see your pup in so much pain and just feel so helpless.
What does the vet say on the degree of how severe her case is? Thankfully Cooper wasnt so severe. He was a strange case though as he didn't have a fever at all even when he was at his worst and couldn't really move.
Anyways when he first went on the steroids, the vet advised a very high dose to try and really get to it. Cooper responded very badly, he got worse- he lost 5kg in a week and become extremely depressed and mopey. And he drank SO much water and peed like crazy! These are all side effects of the drug. As a result, the vet advised us to decrease his medication pretty quickly too. And as we started to lower it (very slowly) over about 4 months, he got better and better. It was a slow and long process but with each reduction in medication, we started to get our crazy cooper back.
My advice to you is to speak with your vet about all of your concerns, i am not a vet so i can only share our experience with you but by the sounds of it, all cases are quite different. Or if you're not sure your vet are doing the right thing- go and get a second opinion. Where are you from? I am in Melbourne Australia and have a fantastic specialist vet i could recommend if you happen to be from there too? Our local vet actually didn't pick up on the meningitis- we knew something was wrong so they sent us to a specialist and they were fantastic!
Also, please remember that your energy influences your pup- so please try to stay positive – she needs you to be strong for her. It will also help with her recovery.
Good luck and please please keep me up to date on her progress and recovery xxx
Amanda di Grazia December 30, 2013 at 5:56 am
She's a Bernise Mountain dog so her bread is pre-disposed to this condition but after reading your story I told my mom we need to take her to a specialist because she never got a MRI or a CT scan and I really think she needs a second opinion because she was responding really well to her dose (aside from being really thirsty) and once the vet decided to lower it she got much more, they went from 80mg to 20 so I really wanted to speak with another vet. And they weren't sure I believe they said mild so hopefully they can tell us when we take her to a specialist but she lyes around most of the day and often wakes up in the middle of the night skreeching in pain which made me more owrried. And before she was diagnosed, about 5 days before she ate a bad looking bird in our yard and had diharea and a high fever and spent 2 nights in the vet and when we got her back we noticed her acting sluggish and having trouble lifting her head. So i just pray it isn't bacteria that caused her mengetitis because from what i read that is the worst.
We actually like in Washington in the US but I think we found her a good specialist to go to and I hope they can confirm her condition for us. Thank you so much for your advice and your quick response it means a lot because i am just worried sick about her and i've never had a dog with such a condition so its very scary. I will deffinitelly keep you updated after her appointment tomorrow. Thanks again it means a lot!! xx
Anonymous January 12, 2014 at 12:18 am
Hi my whippet had this terrible illness nearly 2 yrs ago now!!!!.I like many others had never heard of it in dogs,the stage of his illness was very serious when he was diagnosed,luckily for him the vet who saw him had been reading about it and saw the signs straight away…To this day my whippet is in good health,though early this week he has started to lose weight and ,seems a bit sorry for himself,so will be keeping a very close eye on the little fella,x.
Natalie Fairhurst January 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm
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Natalie Fairhurst January 12, 2014 at 6:48 pm
Your blog is awesome! I am posting from England. My 3 year old golden retriever (Tahoe) was diagnosed with aseptic meningitis last week (after a week of our normal vets treating her for pancreatitis) and has started to undergo treatment. We should hopefully have her home this week.
Cooper's story has offered us great comfort whilst we are waiting to get her back from her intensive steroid treatment at the specialists. I am going to start my own blog about Tahoe as I think it is a great way to document her progress and recovery and offer insight to other owners who have no clue that this illness even exists for dogs! Thanks again for such a great post and blog- I hope Cooper is still on the fast track to recovery- what a beautiful boy!
Holly Chapman May 1, 2014 at 9:19 am
Hello, Ive just come across your blog whilst searching online for info on dogs with meningitis as my 1 year old Chihuahua is in the vets today having his bloods taken and xrays on his neck and back as they suspect he has meningitis 🙁 and reading your story about your dogs behaviour confirms my suspicions about my Pepe's illness. His behaviour is exactly the same, sleepy, sore to touch, can't bend his neck for his food. Hopefully he will have a quick recovery if it is meningitis and I hope your dog is getting better by the day x
Kelly Groenewegen May 3, 2014 at 11:58 pm
My one year old Shep x was at day care for the day and then in one night he was lethargic and not moving. We thought he got injured some how so we took him to the vet. Within 12 hours he had blood work,xrays,and a spinal tap. He was put on prednisone and antibiotics. Still waiting for the lab results but they suspect steroid responsive menegitis. We brought him home today and had only taken him in yesterday. Other than the bad haircut he's doing OK.
Kelly Groenewegen May 4, 2014 at 12:12 am
If it is be sure to not stop the steroids cold. Taper them off. I am sure the vet will tell u that. Good luck.
Anonymous May 4, 2014 at 12:34 am
Our just 1 yr old pug is diagnosed with idiopathic meningitis no fever was just slow moving stiff lethargic. Happened a week an a half ago with no waning. Jus t like most of you she had tons of blood work xrays. All came out negative. Had spinal tap and our lives changed dramatically we are devastated and heartbroken. She is on prednisone abd pelvis and density. Very restless it's scary. As shakes at times and had 2 seizures we be i might her back to hospital and was put on phenobarbital a week ago. Oh they also gave her the" chemo" tonight she seemed to have a Seizure dating about 35 to 45 seconds now she is pacing I am so nervous. What to do??? The neurologist told us we need patience and she should start responding. Please share your thoughts. Ruby and Reggie are just 1 this past week Reggie r seems fine but our ruby her sister from same liter seems soon sickly
Kelly Groenewegen May 4, 2014 at 12:50 am
Sorry to hear. My dog was treated within hours of any difference in behavior. He had a high fever so that was the vets first clue. He went in yesterday morning and is home today. No seizure s here. So scary for you Im sure. What dose of prednisone is your dog getting? Be sure to give him a low fat diet while he's on it as pancreatitis can come while on the drug. Rest, lots of water and make sure he eats with the drug
Anonymous May 4, 2014 at 1:08 am
Thank you Kelly I am so nervous and don't understand the seizure while on phenobarbital. She will not sit still and is pacing. She is on 2.5 mg of prednisone 2x a day. I am scared to not be watching her and what to do if she has another seizure. By the way I am Amy from New jersey
Kelly Groenewegen May 4, 2014 at 1:38 am
Hi Amy, I was just reading on the phednisone and it can take 2 to 10 weeks to get a sustainable level in his system to control the seizures. During a seizure the dog is not in pain just keep any sharp objects away, they say place some pillows or something around her. My pup is on 50 mg two times a day for 2 days then half that for the rest of the time, 16 days. He is also on an antibiotic as we don't have the spinal tap results back yet. Drove them 2 hours away this morning to the lab so the sample didn't have to wait until Monday. Strange to me that all these year old dogs are getting this. I am in Canada.
Kelly Groenewegen May 4, 2014 at 1:44 am
Oops I meant phenobarbatol takes 2 to 10 weeks, sorry.
Mel Ritterman May 4, 2014 at 1:52 am
Hi Holly, I am so glad you found my blog. How is Pepe doing? What did the vets say??
Mel Ritterman May 4, 2014 at 1:54 am
Hi Natalie, sorry for my very delayed response. How is Tahoe going? I hope she is on the mend and having a speedy recovery. Cooper has been fully recovered for over 6 months now and no relapse. But still always need to be a bit careful. I am glad my story helped you guys. Cheers, Mel
Mel Ritterman May 4, 2014 at 1:55 am
Hi Kelly! How is you pup doing?? Was it meningitis? And what is the treatment plan? Good luck and hopefully our story will give you some hope.
Mel Ritterman May 4, 2014 at 2:00 am
Hi Amy, this does sound very scary. But my one piece of advice to you is to really try to relax. The vets know what they are doing (and if you are unsure – you can always go and get a second opinion somewhere else). Our dogs feed off our energy. So if you're nervous worries scared anxious etc – she will feel it too. i know it's not so easy to relax in times like these – but it is important to try. Good luck with it all – thinking of you guys and please keep us updated.
Anonymous May 4, 2014 at 2:15 am
I hope she makes it I am so scared I won't be able to hear her if she had anther seizure tonight. I am not sure if it's ok to let her pace Se is just aimlessly walking and doesn't look like herself. I brought s mattress down to keep near her. She i s in her pen now I hope she is ok. I haven't t slept all week. Thanks for the support. Amy
Kelly Groenewegen May 4, 2014 at 2:22 am
Not sure yet if it is meningitis as the spinal tap was only done yesterday and we drove the fluid 2 hours away to the city lab. Our vet is treating it as such. The weird thing is he had no symptoms all day Thursday then Friday morning he was sore and couldn't move.took him in and we have him at home already today. He's sleeping,drinking lots. On steroids and antibiotics. All blood work etc came back normal so we should get spinal results Monday.
Kelly Groenewegen May 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm
Good morning Amy,
How was your girl through the night? Hope you can have a better day today. My guy seems to be doing OK this morning. Slow moving but not wobbly.he's wanting to eat so that's good I guess. Take care.
Anonymous May 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm
My Pit Bull, Dakota, just got back from the vet. This will be the second time in a year that he's been treated for meningitis. He has all the symptoms as Cooper except Dakota is in excruciating pain. Every time he stretches his neck or moves his back legs wrong, he screams in pain. So heartbreaking. I hope this will be the last time he has this and I hope the meds work as great as they did the last time. Thanks for sharing Cooper's story. Mariann
Kelly Groenewegen May 7, 2014 at 12:49 am
Sorry to hear. My pups results came back today and he also has SRM . my vet said he may need a low dose for a long time after the initial treatment. How long did you keep him on the steroids? You may have to insist on a longer, low dose. How old is your dog? Seems the dogs are really young.
Anonymous May 7, 2014 at 1:14 am
Ruby went back to hospital Sunday she was walking into walls crying and not able to hold herself up it was torture she also had a seizure. They gave her injectable steroids and raised the prednisone to 5mg 3x a day and added another anti seizure med potassium bromide 2x a day. I brought her home today she is still dreamlike but seems a wee bit better. I am restricting her space and she is in a crate right now whining. I hope things get better she goes back for the big injections on the 2nd fingers crossed. I hope your guy is improving. This is so hard
Anonymous May 8, 2014 at 12:23 am
Dakota is going to be 9. The first time he was on it for 40 days. This time she said we can do a shorter time. Heis already responded to the meds and it's only been a day!! I wish you the best of luck with your pup! Mariann
Kelly Groenewegen May 8, 2014 at 1:34 am
Hi again, sorry to hear you had to go back in. I feel for you. Have they ran all the tests they can, are they sure its meningitis! The symptoms seem so intense. My pup, Loki, is doing better so far. Eating tons, drinking lots but the panting is insane. Was told yesterday its the meds.he thinks he's 100%but he's not. We will be on the steroid for another 11days then another check up. Praying for your Ruby.
Anonymous May 9, 2014 at 3:14 am
What a week ruby was in hospital Sunday till Tuesday had a seizure and is just walking in circles keeps banging into walls. She came home with more prednisone and a liquid medication anti seizure. I 're really hope we start to see some improvements. How long does this take. Sad
Kelly Groenewegen May 12, 2014 at 11:58 pm
How is ruby doing?
Kelly Groenewegen May 13, 2014 at 12:03 am
Well 10 days into treatment for SRM I called the vet to talk about symptoms of the prednosone. Loki was on 100 mg for 2 days then 50 mg , 25 twice a day for the last 8 . he has been eating and drinking non stop and panting heavily. Since he is now about 45 lbs we lowered it to 25 mg in the mornings. Hoping to lower it again in a few days.
Anonymous May 16, 2014 at 1:49 am
So very sad Ruby our 1 yr old beautiful girl is now at peace this horrific disease won and we had to say goodbye today. I pray her brother from same pug litter never gets this disease. It showed up 3 weeks ago and we did everything we could. I am devastated and wish you all much better outcomes. Love your babies and cherish every moment because life can change in a blink of an eye xo
Kelly Groenewegen May 17, 2014 at 5:55 am
Sorry to hear so sad.
Mel Ritterman May 19, 2014 at 1:15 am
Amy, I am so sad to hear this news!! I am so sorry for your loss. It is just not fair. At least you know in your heart that you did everything you could. Sending lots of love xx
Mel Ritterman May 19, 2014 at 1:19 am
I am so sorry to hear about Dakota again. At least this time you know the signs and symptoms and can get him treated straight away. Relapse is unfortunately very common apparently. We have been lucky with Coop but we still make sure he gets plenty of rest every day and never over does it too much. It's just not nice seeing them in so much pain. i am glad you found our story. Good luck with Dakota and my fingers are crossed that this is the last time it comes back x
Brodie'sMum June 25, 2014 at 11:06 pm
So sad for your loss of Ruby. We lost our dear little Grace 19 month old whippet in April. It came on so suddenly and despite the treatment she died. I still feel bad thinking if only we had known…she is at peace now. My thoughts are with you…love from Anne, Lincoln.
Anonymous July 12, 2014 at 1:09 am
Hi, We have a beautiful boxer girl called Abbey. 12 months ago she was diagnosed with SRM. After one relapse and being on steriods for 7 months I never thought that she would be back to her happy self. She was very sick, was on very high steriods to keep it under contraol. She ate everything she could and never stopped drinking. Slept and just didnt want to go for a walk or play at all. She was only 18months old when she first got sick. I spent many times in tears just not knowing if she would every be better. My weekly call to the Vet specialist was always hopeful, but it was just so so sad. January 2014 we started to lower her steroids. She had put on heaps of weight. Around 16kilos. She has now lost all the weight. Has been off the steriods for over 6 months, She is back to her normal happy naughty self. I never thought she would be. We all love her so much and fingers crossed she never has to go through that again. So be hopeful if your fur friend has SRM. I really can not believe that Abbey is well and happy again after being so sick. Joanne
kassie August 12, 2014 at 7:25 pm
My 8 y/o Wheaten Ollie came down with meningitis on July 10. Vet first thought it was a disk issue (terrible neck pain, reluctance to walk, very lethargic, strange posture). Got an MRI (no sign of disk issue) and a Spinal Tap on July 17. Spinal Tap came back with high WBCs so they began treating with an even higher dose of Prednisone. About a week or two into that he wasn't much better so they added Cyclosporine. Just started tapering down the Prednisone bc his muscles are wasting away. Plan is to slowly reduce dose over next 2.5 months and to stay on the Cyclosporine for a full 6 months. He does seem out of pain but he just won't walk. He can walk just fine, but he doesn't want to go any further than he has to and is incredibly stubborn about it. Vet (neurologist) is focused on getting rid of the pain and meningitis symptoms and really isn't answering my questions about his ongoing reluctance to walk or play. Is it the sickness? The prednisone? Is there anything else I can do to get him moving or should I indulge his laziness? I feel so sad for him, I will throw a toy and he just looks at me and has no interest in going to fetch it. Anyone else experience this?
Advice much appreciated…
Anonymous September 28, 2014 at 7:54 am
Thank you for your inspiring story. I came home from the vet after learning that my dog Ronny has meningitis. You have given me hope and relief that it can be hopefully treated.
Wishing you can Cooper all the best.
Anonymous November 17, 2014 at 8:58 am
Hi, your blog is very good. Our ridgeback/pointer cross had viral meningitis at 2 years-but we hadn't seen it before so just assumed he was off-colour and waited a couple of days unfortunately by then he had tremors and trouble standing straight. So, he was on steriods for 3 months, we had him booked in to be put down at the 2 month mark because he got so bad, then as soon as I made the booking he started to turn the corner then kept getting better. We had 2 great years with him being very healthy, then 2 days ago we noticed that confused, scared look, wobbly legs and bumping into things…unmistakable, but we were onto it early and got him on steroids straight away. Not sure how he'll go but we got it much earlier so he's got a better chance. I fully documented our boys medication and symptoms/body characteristics/behaviour the first time he had it if that's of any help to anyone. This time around it's been good to refer to, as the vet asked me about the first time he had it and I had my notes. Hope your Cooper is going well, I know it is very upsetting watching them trying to cope with it. Kassie, first time around our boy couldn't do anything, just sleep and eat lots (although he wasted away)-but once he got better the muscle tone and everything came back. This time around I'm walking him on short slow walks to calm his crying down, seems to work, the vet put him on Epiphen as well as the steriods for it's sedative effect (not for seizures).
Nalyn Grace December 21, 2014 at 12:00 am
my pom was diagnosed with meningitis in june. She had the most severe symptoms with paralysis. It happened out of no where. She was so bad off neurologically that the vets said she had no chance to survive and that it would be best to euthanize but I wouldnt give up on her.
She is now in remission of the diease. She is on phenobarb for her seizure control, 1/2 tab of pred and cytosar treatments every 4 weeks 🙂
http://beautifuljosie.blog.com is her story
Thank you for writing coopers story. its good to read about others journies.
Jo bo April 25, 2015 at 6:15 pm
Hi my little whippet has just been diagnosed with meningitis and we're really worried about her been just over a week ago and seemed to be picking up but just feel down again tonight seemed to gone back to the start again is this normal she's on steroids pain killers
Aracelly May 13, 2015 at 3:12 am
My dog was just diagnosed with meningitis. it's been a year and a half since this article was written. How is Cooper doing today?
Aracelly May 13, 2015 at 3:13 am
My dog was just diagnosed with meningitis. it's been a year and a half since this article was written. How is Cooper doing today?
Aracelly May 13, 2015 at 3:13 am
My dog was just diagnosed with meningitis. it's been a year and a half since this article was written. How is Cooper doing today?
Maggie Jones August 1, 2015 at 4:40 am
Hi Mel, thanks for sharing your story. I would love to hear more about it. We are from Victoria aswell and my 18 month Golden Retriever has just been diagnosed with steroidal menigitis today. I dont know much about it and would like to talk to someone with experience. If you want to get in contact please email me at email@example.com. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.
Unknown September 29, 2015 at 7:06 pm
Thanks so much for sharing your story. My 8 month old pup has been baffling the vet for the last week before being diagnosed with (potential) aseptic meningitis. All the symptoms you speak of are the same as our little Mojo and he didn't have a fever either. I'm a bit scared for him to go through a spinal tap procedure though! Its comforting to know that there are other dogs out there and I now have hope that my little Mojo hasn't lost his spark. x
Unknown October 15, 2015 at 9:02 pm
My advise is no play no exercise this always brings a relapse on in my case of it vet says best not to promote play plan for a ful recovery first ,I learned the hard way let him run for a ball and what I saw next was what I thought I saw was him break his neck…luckily he didn't bug never seen a dog in souch pain like that before I am so relieved to tell you that he is fine but took 3 months to recover from if and was at the vets for 3 days …found slowly weaning of pred is the way forward like stupidly slowly it works were down from 50mg which we started on along with azithrspine to only 20 mg of pred a day he is fit and well but still no running just a brisk walk he never asks to go out to exercise I only go for a strole to keep the weight of a little down to steroids w have been on them for 7 months now and I expect years of this treatment I have a fb page "dogs with meningitis " in hope for us all to help each other and win this disease it's a aweful illness but have heard some good success story's good luck hope we can all make our dogs better
Anonymous December 24, 2015 at 2:48 am
My 2 year old Chihuahua was diagnosed with Meningitis but the vet said her skull is too small to actually confirm that it is meningitis so she couldn't do the spinal tap b/c it's dangerous. She took an MRI and saw that parts of the thing is inflamed or she said something about some inflamed sacs? lol Idk but my dog also had a fever and she suffered from multiple seizures a day. It makes me mad because she's been on so much medication and even chemotherapy for 2 weeks now and she had a seizure 2 days ago ( really bad one) and she had a small one today. I'm worried that it's not menigitis b/c she never did the spinal tap…she's on seizure medication as well as the steroids, and some chemotherapy thing and some other drug that helps with the harshness of the steroids on her intestines. She's been crying a lot recently and I'm worried she's in more pain after the drugs, she's also breathing really fast :/ good luck to anyone going through the same thing with their puppies
chelsea Taylor February 19, 2016 at 6:13 am
Hi, I read your story about cooper. for you and all those who have been through this I have a few questions. I have a 7yr old Australian Shepard. He was diagnosed with SRMA about a week ago but has been showing symptoms for 3 weeks. Has anyone experiences their dog seeming to get better and then reverting? Almost as if energy peaks and lethargic behavior is cycling in accordance with when medication is being given? Does anyone know the survival rates for this disease?
Unknown February 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm
Hi. My Italian greyhound cross currently has it. We've been on the steroids for 2 weeks now. He was getting better and now yelping again. Did this happen with yours?
michael rampton February 27, 2016 at 3:17 pm
Hi. My Italian greyhound cross currently has it. We've been on the steroids for 2 weeks now. He was getting better and now yelping again. Did this happen with yours?
Chinnappa Itnal February 28, 2016 at 4:08 am
Hi Jobo, it reoccurs everyday. Goes and comes back. Have her seen by a vet expert.
georgina thorpe March 16, 2016 at 1:25 pm
Hi, I see from the date that cooper must be 3 this year, hope he is now well. Our one year old golden retriever Tommy contractef the decease just 2 weeks ago and it was extremely scary as we thought we would loose him. He did have a high fever and all the symptoms you describe. He was unable to walk properly or put weight on his left side limbs. Thankfully the vets diagnosed him and to ensure it was the correct diagnosis he had the spinal tap. The steroids are helping and he is slowly coming back to us but like you we can't wait till his boy stroud fun loving character returns. Thank you for this blog, it has helped to know that the decease is more common than people might think
Kristy Gary April 26, 2016 at 5:24 am
Has anyone's babies had complete loss of vision and hearing? We've been going through this since February with our 2.5 year old Frenchie. Her sight did return but not hearing. Breaks my heart
Kristy Gary April 26, 2016 at 5:24 am
Has anyone's babies had complete loss of vision and hearing? We've been going through this since February with our 2.5 year old Frenchie. Her sight did return but not hearing. Breaks my heart
Daisy Barden May 16, 2016 at 6:31 pm
i'm so relieved to find other people who are going through this.
Our 7 year old Jack Russell Gus has recently been diagnosed with aseptic meningitis.
He's back home with us now and on a high dose of steroids which have helped as he no longer seems in pain but he is still lethargic and wants to sleep most of the time.
I'm constantly worried at the moment as I am so scared of losing him, it's nice hearing of other dogs who have recovered from this awful disease.
Daisy Barden May 16, 2016 at 6:33 pm
Yes our dog was very up and down leading up to his diagnosis, some days full of energy again seeming normal, the next day shaking and in pain.
Its been very confusing and upsetting
Unknown May 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown July 27, 2016 at 10:06 am
Hi there. My little man Scruffy is a Maltese shizu who also was diagnosed with Meningitis. He was originally misdiagnosed as disc degeneration. So far he is responding well to treatment. He was only formally diagnosed a bit over 3 weeks ago. Every now and then he gives a grumble like he has a little tenderness. How long has everyone else found their guys have been tender for?
Unknown July 27, 2016 at 10:07 am
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colette August 1, 2016 at 1:19 am
Thank you so much for this story. My dog has recently been unofficially diagnosed with Steroid-Responsive Meningitis and is currently on Prednisone. I'm in the phase of searching the internet for anything… anyone who has been through this.
I just want my dog back, but the side effects from the Prednisone are taking over. She used to be the friendliest dog ever, and now she snaps at other dogs and can only think of food.
She is ~40lbs and started with 40mg a day (2 pills a day), now she is on 1/4 a pill a day. She's doing much better but is still insanely hungry and not playful.
Half the time I can't tell if her sleeping so much, aggressiveness, lack of energy, etc. is from the illness or from the Prednisone. It's so stressfull!
June 15th (over a month ago) is when we realized something was wrong. She was fine at the dog park that morning, but that night when I got home from work she wasn't moving.
The next day she was crying from the pain and couldn't go down or up the stairs. We had to carry her down to let her out to pee, then carry her back up. She was randomly yelping in her sleep and her back was twitching a lot. She was very stiff.
She had trouble lowering her head to eat/drink and you could see she had trouble chewing from the jaw pain. After that, she stopped eating and drinking.
They did blood tests, urine tests, tried rimadyl, muscle relaxers, and antibiotics the first week and a half before finally trying Prednisone. She improved drastically the first day of steroids.
I probably should have just taken her to the emergency room and gotten all the expensive tests right away before uselessly trying rimadyl & antibiotics first.
Now she is still not herself and I'm constantly wondering if I'm going to get my dog back. She isn't in pain anymore but she does not play – with toys nor with other dogs. She's only interested in food and sleep.
Monica September 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm
My 3 year old dog had meningitis as a pup – right before she turned one year old. The diagnosis took a long time. Evidently SRMA is hard to diagnose without a spinal tap. We found a vet who has been around a long time and knew just what it was when he saw her. (She got sick on a weekend and stayed overnight at the ER). That was 2014. Fast forward to 2016 and we are battling a relapse now. This disease is so hard to watch. Our normally rambunctious girl is just pacing and panting. I know this is side effects of Prednisone but I can tell she feels really bad. Has anyone else had experience with relapses? I just wonder if we get into remission if it will come back?
Ade October 9, 2016 at 10:53 pm
Hi my italian greyhound is 5 years old. Since July he suffers from meningitis and polyarthritis. The vet found positive results for bacteria ehrlichia (tick disease). Sometimes dogs have symptoms like that, Sometimes it s an auto immune wrong answer of the body to the bacteria. His weight : 4 kg. He is taking antibiotics and cortisone (dermipred 5) since one month. The vet wanted to try to reduce cortisone but now pain and limping are back again.
natx November 7, 2016 at 1:50 pm
So passed 3 years how is Cooper doing?
My 11 old dog Tribal has meningitis but I don't know the cause, the blood test came negative, the Spinal Tap came negative, the only thing that I know is that she has an autoimmune disease so she is at pain pills gabapentina, prednisolona, Bactrim and ciclosporine. Nothing of steroids and now that I read this blog I'm thinking why not??
My dog had 5 years ago poisoned by a plant, lantana, and once again she was with an autoimmune disease and the only thing she took was prednisolona injected every day and corpet pills. And she survived despite all the odds.
So prednisolona, cortisone it has been good for her.
She is always drinking water and eating and she does not want to play, before she was like a rabbit always jumping and running and now always sleepy, she lose 3kg , she was only muscle so now she's mostly bone and skin. I'm giving her puppy food instead of the senior so she can get some weight back.
Any advise just tell me
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Azinheira December 19, 2016 at 7:40 pm
Hi Natacha, I hope Mel doesn´t mind me coming to tell you my 15 month Othelo also had meningitis SRM almost one year ago. It was very difficult to diagnose but as soon as the vet did it, he was put in cortisone (20 mgs/day, reduced gradually), and subject to hemogram blood tests frequentlly. They never did the spinal thing, the poor dog was only 5 months old and the procedure is risky. He recovered well but was down again when the vet took the steroids off. We had to go back to the strong dose of cortisone and he still takes 0.25 mg each 2 days. Hope to take it off at the end of this year without any consequences. He´s fine, plays, eats, even take obedience classes and is a lovely chap! Hope Tribal gets better, keep your hope high!
Unknown January 16, 2017 at 12:15 pm
My 11m Tibetan Mastiff has just been diagnosed with Meningitis. He was unwell with what we suspected to be a UTI, high fever, blood work all over the shop, spinal tap came back and they confirmed SRM. He had lost 5kg in approx 10 days. He was started on 75mg pred, which has recently been reduced to 50mg. He's still not himself although is a lot better since starting steroid treatment. He seems quite happy when he is eating and exercising, he very occasionally initiates play but prefers to sleep and he tires quickly and just doesn't seem himself. He was previously very active (and destructive). To anyone else they'd think he was fine but I know he's not himself. Reassured by reading your post (and everyones comments) that this all seems normal. I want my destructive pup back – I never thought I'd say that 🙂
Anonymous January 21, 2017 at 9:28 pm
Thank you for this information. My little Maltese Mia is very sick, they believe she has Meningitis, she is on pain relief at the moment, had bloods done and now going to have xrays and spinal tap. She has no fever but cannot bend her head to eat her food, so I am hand feeding her. What a worry, I never knew dogs could get this! My grandson had meningitis when he was 18 months old and was left deaf.I am glad to hear you dog Cooper is on the mend.
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Unknown February 28, 2017 at 9:26 am
My son came very close to losing his lovely 10 month old German wirehaired pointer called Fraser,I was completely unaware of meningitis in dogs,but your comments on cooper's symptoms mirrored frasers,lucikily our vet was teriffic and he hams come on really well though not quite out of
The woods yet,so glad to hear of coopers progress as well,all the very best
To yourself and cooper for the future and I can tell you love him as much as we love Fraser.
Unknown March 9, 2017 at 1:51 pm
I know this is old but i'm curious how your pup is doing? Same thing happened to my boxer figo when he was 1. He had a few relapses until we confirmed what it was. He is now 9, not on any medication anymore. We were told not to give him any vaccinations except rabies because that is what seemed to send him in to relapse. Do you do the same for your dog?
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POOJAN March 22, 2017 at 11:51 am
my pet (6.5yrs) has been recently diagonised with meningeoenciphilitis, her state is completely knocked down neck below….
although steriods have started but my baby is not yet walking i am afraid its not paralysis
but there is definite improvement from befaore
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Anonymous May 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm
Please have spinal tap on your sick baby, certain menegitis requires different medications. Especially with seizures. We are new to this experience, but know it's a nasty disease.isnt a site or blog I havent read. Bacterial require antibiotics with steroids. Each type of menegitis requires certain medication. Very much sounds like meningitis. Dont understand why they wouldnt do tap.
PLEASE GET REFERREL TO GO TO NEUROLIGIST AND GET SPINAL TAP. So many diffetent types of menegitis. Im very sadden and sorry for your baby… best of luck and sending prayer for recovery.
Anonymous May 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Some of that is from steroids from my understanding.At same time they have to have steroids no matter whay type of menegitis it is. The only sure way of knowing is going to a neurologist getting a spinal tab to make sure they getting right trestment for the right type of menigitis. Some menegitis require antibiotics and steroids. Its a long recovery process, we are in early stages with our dog and know we have several mths to go, with possible relapses.
Anonymous July 6, 2017 at 8:39 pm
Did you do the rabies vaccine? Was there any relapse?
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Unknown August 31, 2017 at 4:14 pm
Looks like my 16 week old puppy has meningitis. Gutted.
John Mcphee September 4, 2017 at 8:12 pm
Our 10 week old French bulldog has just been diagnosed with inflammatory meningitis and was very poorly over the weekend we thought we were going to loose him thankfully the treatment has kicked in and he is doing better. He is constantly looking for food and thirsty. Feel so bad for the little guy hope coop is well now. So hard not being able to help them feel better. Our pups eyes were rolling in his head high temp and yelping in pain.
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Gabby May 15, 2018 at 6:09 pm
I’m so thankful I’ve come across this article at the time I have, our Pembroke welsh corgi Monty is so unwell with a high fever, lethargy, very similar symptoms to what you described in Cooper. He is having an X-ray tomorrow to rule out the musculoskeletal concerns in the neck but the vet thinks most likely it is meningitis (most likely steroid responsive as he hasn’t responded to antibiotics). I’ve been so worried about Monty but your story gives me faith that there is effective treatment available. Thank you for sharing your experience, I wish all the best for Cooper’s recovery!
Cooper and Kids May 15, 2018 at 9:38 pm
Hi Gabby, I am so sorry to hear about poor Monty.
Please keep me updated on how he goes tomorrow.
Thinking of you.
BB June 12, 2018 at 7:07 am
Hello there, My dogs experience with menengitis was so similar to Coopers and many dogs. I read tons of articles and most dogs experience same symptoms as my precious Diamond. Unfortunately Diamond did not respond to the steroids and her illness became worse. Our vet told us there was one more treatment that we could try, it’s called Cytosar. She went in on a Monday and had four hour intervenous (chemo). We took her home and still was on steroids and some pain Meds. Tuesday she still was not well and by Wednesday was much worse. She could not walk, she was falling. She was a very determined dog and would not give up. I took good care of her and cried so much everyday. I just had this feeling she was not going to make it. On Thursday she was so sick I told her it was okay if she wanted to go to heaven. She was in such bad shape. At 8:40 pm she took 3 big stretches and then started to throw up. I went to get ready to take her to the hospital but she passed away at 8:45pm. When I took her into the hospital on the Monday when she got the Cytosar treatment she wasn’t in such bad shape. I think the treatment was just to much for her. She walked into the hospital that morning with just a bit of a stiff neck and when she walked out in the evening she was not walking straight. I wish the Vet would have told me that this treatment was very strong, specially for a small dog.
It’s been a month that my beloved Diamond has passed and I miss her so much. Ask questions when doing the Cytosar treatment. If I could do it all over again I would have put her on a higher dosage of the steroids. ???
Cooper and Kids June 12, 2018 at 1:06 pm
Oh no! I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You must be heartbroken. To be honest, I wouldn’t have done anything differently with Cooper as he came out of it all good. He has had one relapse since but that is it. Again, so sorry for your loss 🙁
JG June 15, 2018 at 5:05 am
My dog 3 yr old rescue dog gusty was diagnosed last week with GME. He was treated and over came heartworm disease and was just starting to enjoy life. We started noticing he was becoming very clumsy, banging into furniture and walls and very lethargic. We had an MRI and spinal done because knew something was very wrong. He has been on a high does of steroids for 10 days now and has improved a lot. The Neurologist wants him to start Cyclosporine in addition to the prednisone and I am very scare to do this since he appears to be doing well. I know this is so we can taper him off steroids which are very hard on their bodies. Has anyone had experience with cyclosporine? Our vet also suggested doing Cytostar chemo and we declined that treatment. Any information is so appreciated we are so devasted by this diagnosis. So glad cooper has gone into remission! I had a golden retriever prior to rescuing gusty and love the breed!
Cooper and Kids June 24, 2018 at 12:09 pm
I’m so sorry to hear this!! My advice if you’re unsure, is to go and get a second opinion. We took Cooper to a specialist vet when our vet told us they were unsure of what was going on and it was the best thing we did. Good luck! Thinking of you.
Karin July 17, 2018 at 2:17 pm
I have read this and the comment from Gabby ( below) with the Welsh Pembroke Corgi jumped out at me! Our little Miss Mia ( one year old Pembroke) was diagnosed whit this horrible disease yesterday ( in Perth) i was wondering if they could be from the same bloodline or just a co-incidence? Good Luck with Cooper ( i can see the love in his eyes) Miss Mia is coming home today( slept in hospital last night) and will be on steroids moving forward. Have anyone a good diet for these special furr-kids of us? x
Cooper and Kids July 17, 2018 at 8:25 pm
Karin, I am terrible sorry to hear about Miss Mia! I hope she is responding well to the steroids and has a speedy recovery.
Duane Chambers July 19, 2018 at 7:24 am
Our four year old Jack Russell, Gracie began not wanting to walk then couldn’t walk or stand in March, 2018 during our winter camping in Florida. We were in St Augustine & made several trips to Matanzas River Animal hospital and they referred us to North Florida Neurology in Jacksonville. Dr.Hopkins began treating her immediately & did a spinal tap & MRI which confirmed spinal meningitis. By the time we arrived, Gracie was screaming in pain & not eating or drinking (couldn’t bend her head). After several days of treatment & a two week recheck, Gracie was sent home on baytril, pepcid and Prednisone indefinitely. It is now July & Gracie is much better, she plays & as always still constantly wags her tail. She can do our walk halfway (she uses a dog stroller when she tires) she still can’t jump & needs help up on the couch or car. It has been a slow process but she improves daily. She has gained weight which we are working on. The Prednisone is now 1/4 every other day. Today our local vet in Michigan wants to cut her dose to 1/4 every 3 days which I am concerned about. Any suggestions or thoughts or experiences by anyone would be welcome. I will call the neurologist in Jacksonville for advice also. Thanks! Every day that we have Gracie is a joy, she makes us laugh!
Cooper and Kids August 10, 2018 at 11:01 am
I am so glad to hear that Gracie is doing so well. My advice as always is to consult you vet if you are concerned. And to even get a second opinion from a specialist vet if you need more clarification. I hope she is doing even better now. Kind Regards, Mel
Judy August 9, 2018 at 4:37 am
I’m researching this condition because my vet suspects meningitis in my Whippet, Tate. He had exactly the same symptoms as Cooper – all the way down to it going away for a few months an then coming back. We are waiting for the results of the spinal tap now. She gave him a steroid shot and he slept all night, which he hasn’t done in a while because he couldn’t get comfortable because of the pain. This morning he seemed better. Wagging his tail and trotting around – not moving around stiffly and hanging his head. He ate most of his breakfast, which he also hasn’t done in a long time. It’s funny, over the past several months, I have become enthralled with a Facebook page called Billy Whippet which chronicles a Whippet who is recovering from parasitic meningitis. He had to learn how to walk all over again. I never thought I would face this. Fortunately, Tate has not reached that point. He is able to walk and function just fine.
Cooper and Kids August 10, 2018 at 11:05 am
Thanks for getting in touch Judy. I’m glad to hear that Tate has responded to the steroid shot. Fingers crossed he gets better and better each day now! And happy to hear that he didn’t get to that same point at Billy the Whippet. Keep us updated on how he goes.
Ashley August 14, 2018 at 8:53 am
I noticed that your dog was diagnosed 5 years ago. Is he still doing well since treatment? And has the meningitis ever come back? My dog was diagnosed this May with meningitis and was taking 7 pills a day. Now he’s down to just taking prednisolone, 1/2 pill every other day. I’m hoping he doesn’t ever have to go through this ever again.
Cooper and Kids August 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm
Yes Cooper has had one relapse since. it was about a year after he first had it but it was a much quicker progress. We knew exactly what it was so we got him straight onto the right meds, he responded so quickly to them. It was still hard to watch but much easier this time round. And he recovered perfectly and no issues since then. I hope all is ok with your dog.
Wanda August 18, 2018 at 10:31 am
Thank you so much for your information on Copper. It has help me so much. We too are in the same boat with our dog Zeus. Reading this is our story to the T. Just no confirm diagnosis. Zeus though has been running a high fever and they told us the same thing this last time. They suggested a spinal tap or to try an antibiotic along with pain meds to see if it helps. Which it has he also is back to his playful self. Just feels like we are waiting for the relapse. So if he starts feeling bad again we have done been referred to the specialist for the tap we just have to take him. Just a releave to hear your story we were and are just as you were hoping it’s not but also wanting to get a diagnosis. So I pray it’s not but if he starts to feel bad again, he is definitely getting the spinal tap.
Cooper and Kids August 28, 2018 at 1:07 pm
Thanks so much for reaching out. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through the same thing. Fingers are corssed that Zeus has a full recovery.
Yuna September 4, 2018 at 7:41 am
Thank you so much for sharing about Cooper’s victory over meningitis. It has given me much needed hope. Our 11 year old Golden Sourdough came down with meningitis and/or meningoencephalitis in July this year, her numbers from the spinal tap were off the charts many times over. The neurologists did not know what they were dealing with. She pulled through, is on prednisone and 2 antibiotics, and needs help to get up and be taken out to the loo with a special harness. My heart is shattered anew everyday. Cooper’s story and reading other’s comments here has given me much needed comfort. Thank you!
Cooper and Kids September 27, 2018 at 2:44 pm
Oh No you poor thing!! Must be so much harder in an older dog!! I really thought meningitis was more in puppies and younger dogs. I hope Sourdough is doing better and responding well to the meds. Thanks for reaching out and I’m so glad my post helped.
Danella Azzopardi September 17, 2018 at 3:27 am
My Chihuahua was diagnosed with meningitus 5 days ago and has been home from the specialist vet since yesterday. His initial improvement was dramatic from when we left him there. I’m concerned about recovery times and side effects of the steroids. Finding details of how Coopers recovery was is reassuring. I’m assuming after all this time he hasn’t had a relapse at all?
Cooper and Kids September 27, 2018 at 2:42 pm
Thanks so much for getting in touch. I hope your gorgeous pup has made a big recovery since you wrote to me. Cooper responded well to the steroids. He had all the side effects which was sad to see but it helped him. He did have one relapse about a year later but has been amazing since then. Good luck! And keep us posted how you go.
Jeff September 28, 2018 at 11:05 pm
My 2yr old Aussie, got Meningitis, 2 months ago. She’s gotten 2 chemo treatments and has been on Steroids. Still wobbly, but is able to walk.
Abby October 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm
Our boxer may also have meningitis and we have started steroids today. I was wondering, due to the steroids increasing the need to drink and pee…how did you handle the night? You mentioned he had to pee every half hour? Our doggie is already having accidents in the house, but being up all night letting him out sounds defeating…what did you guys do?
Cooper and Kids October 14, 2018 at 2:42 pm
Hi Abby, I am so sorry to hear this! We have a doggy door at our house. We usually lock it at night time so he can’t go out but during this time we left it open for him. Is there any chance you could leave a door open? Or maybe too unsafe?! Good luck and i wish your dog a speedy recovery!
Gail October 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm
Thanks so much for this article. Our 11mth old goldie Cash has same symptoms (two episodes 6 weeks apart) and spinal tap has also shown its meningitis. We are awaiting bloods and cultures to determine if its steroid responsive or bacterial. Just getting through the next few days on antibiotics, strong painkillers, fluids, handfeeding and lots of love.
Cash has gone from a mischievous energetic pup to a tired fretful almost geriatric like dog over the past four days.
Was great to read a story so similar to ours and hope we both have great outcomes, with the return of our lovable cheeky pups to full health.
Cooper and Kids October 14, 2018 at 2:40 pm
Oh Gail I am so sorry to hear that this has happened to Cash too!! Sounds the same as Cooper. I hope he is ok and responds to the medication very quickly. Please make sure to keep me updated on how he goes. Fingers and toes crossed for a quick and speedy recovery.
Elizabeth November 3, 2018 at 12:20 pm
My 1 1/2 year old Chihuahua was diagnosed with non bacterial meningitis. She’s currently in the hospital and they are giving her steroids and kemo meds. I visited her and she’s in worse shape than she went in . She only had a slight head tilt, now she has a very aggressive head tilt to the right and is doing the gator roll. I feel helpless and can only pray she survives. Please share any information that helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel
Cooper and Kids November 10, 2018 at 2:55 pm
Hi Elizabeth. how is your girl doing? I so hope she is on the improve since you wrote to me. Just go with your gut. Get a second opinion with a different vet if you need.Wishing you and her all the best. Kepp me posted how she is please. Mel xox
Stephanie November 22, 2018 at 6:11 am
My 2 year old Groodle has been diagnosed with steroid responsive meningitis on Monday. He deteriorated rapidly and we almost lost him but he is now slowly recovering. How long did you have to continue steroid treatment for Cooper?
Cooper and Kids November 22, 2018 at 11:49 am
Oh no Stephanie, you poor thing!! Cooper responded quite well to the drugs, he had the usual side effects but we could tell quite early on that they were helping. My Fingers and toes are crossed for you that your groodle has a speedy recovery. If you have any concerns, make sure to go to a specialist vet and get a second opinion.
Cheers, Mel xox
Stephanie November 24, 2018 at 3:55 pm
Thanks Mel. I’m happy to report that Charlie has taken really well to the meds and has recovered tremendously in the last two days. We are expecting a full recovery ????
He is being treated by a specialist vet at an animal hospital here in Sydney.
Did Cooper have any long term changes? Charlie’s behaviour/temperament is very much the same and his playful nature is slowly starting to show again as he gains more energy but he has completely stopped barking. He was a very very barky dog and that was our biggest issue with him but now I would give anything to hear him bark again. Our vet has said that this could be long term but it’s too early to tell and something to monitor.
Cooper and Kids November 27, 2018 at 1:44 pm
So great that he is going to make a full recovery!! How interesting is that about the barking!? Cooper didn’t have anything like that. I mean the meds made him so food obsessed and a total scavenger and he is still like that, but I have a feeling that’s very much a golden retriever thing too.
Fingers crossed Charlie continues with his great recovery. Mel xox
Eloise November 25, 2018 at 10:28 pm
Omg wow! Our German Shorthaired Pointer, Fletcher was diagnosed with Meningtis back in September this year. Caught it just in time, Fletcher had a high temp and extreme pain. He was on pretty high dose for his medication but after a few reviews the dosage was lowered until the Friday just gone 🙁 we woke up to him having the same symptoms and took him straight to the vet, unfortunately he has a relapse and is now back up to his original high dosage. Can totally relate as the sick effects are just horrible and nothing worse then seeing our baby’s unwell. I Hope Cooper is doing well. Xx
Cooper and Kids November 27, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Oh no Eloise, I am so sorry to hear this!! How is Fletcher doing now?? Any better?? The one thing our vet told us is that you have to decrease the meds very slowly over time. We had a whole plan mapped out to avoid a relapse. Make sure you’re seeing the right person. Our vet wasn’t so sure about the treatments so they put us onto a specialist vet which was amazing. Cooper is 6 now and doing amazing!! Good luck with Fletcher, please keep me posted on how he goes. Mel xox
Angelia Lemons December 15, 2018 at 4:34 am
Our 8 year old Boxer named Buster was diagnosed with meningitis 5 days ago. He is responding to antibiotics and a steroid shot. My question is about him sleeping a lot. Is it normal that dogs with meningitis sleep ALOT ? And about how long will the depression last ? He looks so sad.. I’m praying he recovers soon… thanks Angel from Oklahoma
Cooper and Kids January 7, 2019 at 1:32 pm
I’m so sorry to hear about Buster.
Cooper’s episodes were years ago now. For specific details like those I highly recommend chatting to your vet.
Sorry I couldnt be more helpful! I wish Buster a speedy recovery.
Michelle January 3, 2019 at 8:40 am
Hi, Came across your story by chance and wanted to say thankyou for giving us a little hope.. my daughter has a tiny chihauhau, Dexter who is 5… only weighs 3.5lb. He collapsed Monday and started to fit, he has been at the vets since and today we have been told they strongly believe he has meningitis. We should know more tomorrow but we just feel so helpless, he cannot stand and dos not appear to see..but has ate a little food today. Pray for us xx
Cooper and Kids January 7, 2019 at 1:23 pm
Hi Michelle. You are welcome. How is Dexter doing?? I so hope he is on the mend since you wrote in to me!
Marisa bateman January 4, 2019 at 4:20 am
My 5 year old pembroke welsh corgi, Gary, just passed away 2 weeks ago after fighting meningitis for 3 months. He started with the stiff gate and yelping pain. We are lucky to be close to CSU vet hospital in Colorado and they diagnosed him right away with the CSF tap. He was on steroids, Cyclosporine (yucky drug) and phenobarbital. He pretty quickly developed seizures and they were manageable…but about once every month we would end up in the ER with some worsened case of seizures. Then he really turned a corner for the last 3 weeks..he was amazing! Running, playing, being himself….then one day he woke up and I could tell it wasn’t going to be a good day for him… I took him to work with me and he has 11 seizures..I administered Midazolam and rushed him to the vet…. they kept him overnight, and sent him home the next morning. He wasn’t well…could barely walk and just laid around… I spent 36 hours on the floor with him…loving him and talking to him. Then he had a massive grand mal, and his eyes glazed over as we rushed him back to the ER. Unfortunately he never really came back. He was breathing on his own, but the neurologist said he was brain dead. we had to let him go on my birthday and I am heartbroken. He was my guy…my best little buddy. We fought HARD for 3 months…we spent $12,000 (thank GOD for good insurance..PetsBest is amazing) but in hindsight, I think I put him through too much…we knew from the beginning that this is a very hard disease to manage and his quality of life was WAY more important We had pee pads all over the house, bowls of water everywhere and he was just a shell of himself on all those drugs…a literal zombie. It will always break my heart…I just wish I would’ve read between the lines more with my vet…she was trying to be supportive and keep positive…but it was always bad for him.
Cooper and Kids January 7, 2019 at 1:21 pm
I’m so sorry to hear this Marisa. I’m sure Gary knew how loved he was. Thank you for sharing your story. Sending all lots of love and strength during this hard time. Mel xxx
Tracy bailey January 8, 2019 at 4:06 am
Hi, thank you for the post. There is a face book page called Dogs with meningitis. I am a member as my pup Ted has SRMA. It is really helpful and supportive.
Cooper and Kids January 8, 2019 at 10:52 am
Yes thanks Tracy, I am apart of that group too! It didn’t exist when Cooper was going through it- So great to know people have support now, it’s great. I hope Ted is going to be ok. Wishing him a speedy recovery. Mel xox
Rae Trenchard January 8, 2019 at 7:40 pm
So happy to have read your story about Cooper & that you have had a positive outcome…Our beautiful 3 year old Maremma, Diesel was diagnosed with meningitis & has had home treatment with a drip, antibiotic & steroid injections & is now on antibiotic & steroid tabs…We have a wonderful mobile lady vet who diagnosed it as soon as she saw him & followed up with a blood test..She saw him on New Years Day & started treatment straight away…He had a very high temperature, was panting a lot, flinched & cried when we went to touch his face, walked like an old dog….was laying around & sleeping a lot…Didn’t want to go for a walk at all & he is usually waiting at the door twice a day for his walks…He had a spurt of extra energy over the weekend, so we took him to the park & he was happy to see everyone…But the last two days hasn’t shown any enthusiasm about anything or anyone, including us…He is still eating & drinking a lot, because of the meds…Early days for us, hope the outcome will be a positive one for him also
Cooper and Kids January 9, 2019 at 6:55 am
Oh Rae I am so sorry to hear about Diesel. Fingers and toes crossed for a speedy recovery. Please keep us posted.
Noreen June 6, 2019 at 2:36 am
THANK YOU FOR THIS!!! We are going thru this now with our 12-year old & your story is giving me hope in the midst of non stop crying. Thank you!
Carol Bell December 24, 2019 at 11:05 pm
Im so happy yo hear about a success story concerning this horrible disease. We were less fortunate with our gorgeous westie Bobby. He was 6 and started off with diarrhea, high temperature and a slight tremble in his back legs. I took him to the vets who advised he had pancreatitis so gave 2 injections and prescribed drugs. I took Bobby home where he deteriorated. The next day found he could hardly walk, bare his own weight and he appeared to be going blind. I rushed him back to the vets where they decided to keep him in overnight, get him on a drip and monitor him.
The next day I was told he had rapidly deteriorated, he was blind, couldnt sit and they were now convinced this was neurological… The word meningitis was not mentioned. I had to take him to a pet hospital who immediately recommended an MRI and a spinal tap. I agreed, it was done and we found out he had encephalitis. He was put on hard chemo like steroids and started to make some progress the following day.
The next day the hospital called to say he had some siezures they were trying to control. They called back 2 hours later and was told we had 2 options, either completely keep him under anaesthetic giving time for the steroids to work with no guarantee or put him to sleep. An interim report had come back from the lab and it was confirmed he had meningitis.
I went to see my beautiful boy and he was crying, totally stressed out, blind, unable to sit never mind walk. He had not eaten any food in 6 days. To me Bobby was asking me to end his pain and that is what we did. He was really stressed out but eventually went peacefully. All of this happened in a period of 6 days.
I now remain angry as I feel the vet should have picked up on the signs. He was seen by the vet twice and 2 days were wasted treating him for pancreatitis.
My beautiful boy is no longer in pain, I miss him so much and I really think a jab needs to be created to prevent this horrible disease. I personally had never heard of encephalitis and I wasn’t aware dogs could get meningitis. How he got it I have no idea, he was perfectly OK and healthy, no infection, nothing to warn me.
I hope all these dogs who have had this horrible disease continue to stay healthy and recover.
Gabriela Sayegh January 9, 2020 at 9:24 am
Our sweet 4 month old puppy, Gus, was diagnosed with Auto-Immune Meningitis on December 22nd, 2019. It was by far the hardest and most emotional experience my husband and I experienced. Your whole story matches what we went through. We saw several doctors and we were given completely different answers until we saw the last Dr. who concluded it was meningitis. We were terrified and worried for Gus, but went ahead with the Spinal Tap and began treatment. Prior to his medication he lost weight and collapsed because his back legs gave up on him. He is on week 2 of Steroids and he is improving so much- THANK GOD. Thank you for sharing this story.
Susan July 2, 2020 at 7:01 pm
Has he made a full recovery? Our dog just keeps going up and down . One minute she is ok the next not. i hate seeing her like this I just want my Luna back
Cooper and Kids July 14, 2020 at 12:11 pm
Hi Susan, yes he sure has! This article was written many years ago and he nearly 8 now and doing great. Check in with your vet if you are unsure. Wishing Luna a speedy recovery. Good luck!
Holly July 19, 2020 at 1:51 pm
I am so happy to hear Cooper has done so well. It is reassuring. Our puppy was just diagnosed with SRMA a few weeks ago at the age of 10 1/5 weeks. He is now almost 13 weeks old. We are reducing the prednisone for the first time, by a third, tomorrow. When you reduced the prednisone did the peeing get better? We are at our wits end cleaning up after him and trying to potty train him at the same time. Unfortunately this all happened about 4 days after his 2nd vaccines, so he will end up behind on them and not be able to go out in public until he is much older. Any advice is welcome.
Cooper and Kids July 21, 2020 at 1:24 pm
Firstly I am so sorry to hear you are going through this, especially with such a young puppy.
Where do you live? I think you should get a trainer to help you given how young your pup is. Perhaps your vet has someone they can recommend. You should be able to still potty train and socialise your pup in different ways. But try and get a rewards based, trainer to come and help out. Good luck!
Sharron Castle April 3, 2021 at 3:38 pm
Thankyou so much for sharing your story about Cooper. Our Australian bulldog Hamish (2yrs, 10mth old) has been diagnosed with the same disease. It took four vets to get the diagnosis after 3 weeks. He is stablising now but we have good days and very down days. I am feeding him vet food ‘recovery’ which is high nutrients and also boiled chicken, rice, vege and pumpkin to keep his fibre up. He is not the same dog right now but we working hard to help him recover.
The right side of his face is paralysed and I have to put drops in his eye every two hours, I’m hoping we can save it. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. We are at about 5 weeks into recovery now and only just dropping the dose of prednisolone. I have found all of the readers comments most helpful too, thank you all. We are in Perth, Western Australia. I have found a fantastic vet in Applecross who is a god send.
My advice is to keep your dog’s spirits up, give lots of love, let them rest as much as they want, stay upbeat and get a bloody good vet who knows about this disease and is well recommended. Waves vet in Success were amazing as well, they saved him as he went down a few times over the first few weeks.
Coopers story has given me great hope. My hubby and I are heartbroken and almost at the point of being broke but we’re determined to get him well.
Best wishes to everyone who’s dog has to go through this. It’s good to know there is light at the end of the tunnel and kind people to share advice to help others x
Cooper and Kids April 8, 2021 at 2:19 pm
Sharron, thanks so much for getting in touch!! I am so sorry to hear your are going through this too with Hamish!! So good they finally worked out what was going on and great that you have found a vet that you trust!! Good luck and wishing him a speedy recovery! Mel xox
Karen April 29, 2021 at 10:35 pm
Hi, it’s so great to find this site. My 13 month cairn terrier developed meningitis at 4 months and still has flare ups. Our neurologist has been trying to lower the Prednisone dose over the last 5 months. She will do great then have a “flare up, lethargic, stays in bed, no eating/drinking. we increase her prednisone and she recovers. This seems to happen every 3/4 weeks lately. We live in Florida and believe we need a meningitis specialist. Has any other fur babies had this experience? Thanks much ❤️
Kate September 17, 2021 at 9:07 pm
I have just come across your article. I have a Japanese Chin, Geisha, who are year ago presented the same symptoms as Cooper. We too went to AVC in Kensington after Geisha suffered a week of tremors and seizures – the last being at our Vet. She was admitted to AVC for a week in ICU and she too lost a lot of weight following the medication required for her to help combat her GME diagnosis. A year on, she’s a happy confident and independent little girl again, though a relapse terrifies me, as she only just made it through the first time.
Like your experience, the vets and nursing staff at AVC have always been helpful and their level of care for Geisha outstanding. Would love to know how Cooper is doing now, in 2021 xx
Cooper and Kids September 19, 2021 at 3:02 pm
How Scary!! But glad they were also super helpful for you!! Cooper is fantastic!! He is 9 and in great health. Only had 1 relapse but nothing since.
Lesley September 19, 2021 at 2:08 am
My 11 month old pup has just been diagnosed with SRMA, it’s early days but he is responding well to his medication schedule (🤞🏻It continues ) He’s a little lethargic but otherwise a near to normal as he was pre illness. Does anyone have any advice on exercise, can he play etc as normal or should we be restricting him to avoid exhaustion? Other than excessive thirst, hunger & urination are there any other side effects I should be looking out for? Many Thanks 🙂
Cooper and Kids September 19, 2021 at 3:00 pm
Thanks for reaching out Lesley. Definitely have a chat with your vet about this.
Sherida July 9, 2022 at 5:21 pm
What an interesting and informative feed, so many affected by this disease sadly
Our 15 month golden retriever Maui developed SRMA 4 weeks ago , we were on vacation and the pet sitter knew that something was wrong and got him straight to our vet . They immediately suspected SRMA and put him on steroids, antibiotics and fluids , he was lethargic with sore neck and temp. The next day there carried CT scan and spinal tap to confirm no neck damage and also to establish if def SRMA as did not want him on steroids if not 100% sure . CT results back the same day – no damage and S TAP the following day confirming their suspicions we are now 4 weeks on and on prednisone now .5mg per kilo x 2 per day ( reduced from 2 days on 2mg then 12 days on 1mg twice er day and gut protection . However, it looks like we will be changing meds due to the. side effects – Maui has lost 8 kg ( muscle wastage) 34-26Kg, constant panting and excessive drinking and urination . He also has had diarrhoea so treating this too as thinks someithn picked up as immunity so low , eating lab reports form this now. we are so hopeful he will recover and. my heart goes out to all those affected by SRMA . I have had dogs for 26 years and this is the first I have heard of it.
Celine Pinault July 25, 2022 at 12:22 am
Thank you guys SOOOO much for sharing your story! Our rescue pup Morgan was clinically diagnosed with SRMA and I wasn’t sure what to expect. A lot of info on the web says dramatic improvement 1-3 days and we’ve seen some, but definitely not “dramatic”. After reading coops story I felt a lot more at ease that this will take time. We only recently adopted Morgan from Egypt and we thinks he’s had this illness for at least a few months before we adopted him. He had they exact same symptoms as you described coop as having, so again, reading your story has been so helpful for my mental well being. Thank you again! 💜💜
maggie November 19, 2022 at 6:02 am
we have a 8 month old that has bean on medication for 2 months. when do you start seeing the puppy in them come back. mind you she has bean sick and in pain for much longer but they first though it was from an overbite. we preformed dentel surgery and only after realized there was something else causing all the pain.
We are ready to meet are puppy as this has bean going on since she was 12 weeks old and she seems to become less excited with life every day
Laura March 22, 2023 at 3:27 am
thank you so much for writing this post. this really helped me to identify what was wrong with our 15month old pup and push for the vets to investigate further. she is back home from the specialist after mri and spinal tap to duagnose and on a high dose of steroids. it’s so sad seeing her so lathargic but I know she’s onthe mend now. so thank you.
Cooper and Kids March 23, 2023 at 8:19 pm
so glad this helped you!! i hope your dog is going to be ok.