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Brain inflammation in dogs happen when the immune system of a dog attacks the brain. It is also known as encephalitis. It may either happen exclusively or your dog will suffer from encephalitis and also meningitis. The latter is inflammation of the meninges. Encephalitis generally occurs in an adult dog or a younger dog. Some dog breeds are more vulnerable than others, like Chihuahua, German Short-Hair Pointers, Pug and Maltese.
Encephalitis or brain inflammation symptoms
Brain inflammation symptoms vary as per the brain area affected. Symptoms start suddenly and progress happans extremely fast. The list of symptoms include pain, decreased pupil size, behavioral changes, balance loss, blindness, tilting head, uncoordinated movements, fever, seizures, unequal pupil size, depression, stumbling, decreased responsiveness, face paralysis and excessive circling.
Causes of encephalitis in dogs
Most dogs suffer from encephalitis from non-infectious causes. A few are idiopathic. This means the cause remains unknown. All of them are autoimmune diseases, where immune system goes on a warpath with itself. Infectious causes, however are much less common. These include fungal infections, viruses, bacteria, parasitic infections, protozoa and rickettsia.
Diagonizing encephalitis in dogs
An exhaustive reporting of onset and the extent of the symptoms of the dog will help in aiding diagnosis. Do not forget to include any kind of incidents or recent injuries which could offer an alternative explanation when your dog behaves differently than usual. The veterinarian may complete a comprehensive physical examination, complete blood count, urinalysis and chemical blood profile. Results of such tests could reveal the possible reasons for inflammation of the brain. This will begin with fewer blood cell count. If this occurs, it means infection.
The brain structure of the dog and its functions will be examined with CT scans and MRIs. There could be a sampling of cerebrospinal fluid which will then be checked by experts for further analysis. Such tests will be adequate to evoke a positive diagnosis when it comes to brain inflammation. In a few cases, analyzing a sample of brain tissue could be the sole way to confirm such a diagnosis.
Initial aim will be on reducing the symptoms severity. There is a good chance that the dog will need intensive care and hospitalization. If an infection is responsible for brain inflammation, the cause will be treated on an individual level. This is usually done through customized antibiotics. To treat brain inflammation, medication given is designed to decrease the inflammation and also to suppress the immune system. The list of medicines used in treatment include prednisone, procarbazine, cytosine arabinoside, leflunomide, azathioprine and cyclosporine. The cost of treating brain inflammation varies from a couple of hundred dollars to more than a couple of thousands.