Encephalitis is inflammation of the nervous system – specifically the brain and spinal cord. The condition can cause many types of symptoms, including seizures, loss of sight, and changes in behavior. Some pets also experience balance and coordination issues, such as ‘head tilt’ or partial facial paralysis.
There are two types of encephalitis – infectious and idiopathic. Infectious encephalitis is the result of exposure to an infectious disease, such as those caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Idiopathic encephalitis refers to all other cases of encephalitis unrelated to an infection, usually arising from an unknown cause. Blood work and a spinal tap can help identify the presence of infectious disease and assist veterinary neurologists in making a diagnosis.
Treatment for encephalitis is dependent on the type of encephalitis a pet has been diagnosed with. For example, infectious encephalitis may require treatment with antibiotics designed to kill active infection within the body. For pets with idiopathic encephalitis not caused by an infectious disease, veterinary neurologists may recommend immunosuppressant therapy over the course of several months. In addition to treating encephalitis, treatments may also be available to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, such as anti-convulsants for pets experiencing related seizures.
For more information about treating encephalitis in pets, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.