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A family up the road have two Irish Setters, they are Henry's playmates and I was concerned to hear that the youngster, about 10 months old, was at the vets on a drip, they thought she had swallowed a tennis ball or similar, she was in a lot of pain. This was 3 days ago, I saw the lad out this evening with just one of the girls again, the youngster has got meningitis, he said that apparently it isn't so serious in dogs as it is in humans, she has to stay at the vets another 2 days and will then be allowed home.

I was asking him all sorts of questions but he didn't know the answers, he wasn't even sure which vets she was in but he's a nice teenager and I can understand him letting his parents deal with everything.

Anyway, I just wondered, as their other dog is unaffected, is this something contagious, would she have picked it up like a bug?  I'm not worrying about whether Hen has been to the same places or anything, I was just curious as to whether anyone knows anything about it.

I've got everything crossed that little Poppy comes though ok, she is such a darling girl, so full of life, bless her.

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Hi Sheree,

I lost my bitch Anna aged 8 years old to meningitis. The vet said it was not contagious and certainly none of my other dogs got it. Apparently it is more an auto immune condition. I hope that Little poppy comes home soon........

That is very sad to lose your dogs to that disease.I was unaware that dogs could even get meningitis.I know what the dogs feel like as I had meningitis when I was six.I was lucky to survive.
Is it possible that a head injury can lead to this? like a bump on the head?  I know there is a viral and a bacterial menningitis in humans as my daughter had the viral at 16 and they thought she caught it from the pool where she was a life guard.  Would be interesting to know what causes this in a dog and what the symtoms are in dogs.  Hope little Poppy is soon home and on way to a full recovery
With my bitch Anna, there were very little symptoms.....she started limping from her rear right leg, then the next day she was lame on her front leg, then she collapsed and by the time I got to the vet she went into a coma and died two days later. Some dogs respond to steroids , very sadly she did not. She was a very fit 8 years old, who was running in the paddock the day before she went lame not showing any sign of illness.

So sorry for those of you that have lost your dogs to this, my heart goes out to you.

I do sometimes see the mother and father so can ask more questions then, providing Poppy does recover of course, she is just so sweet and has taught the older one to play as she was quite reserved before Poppy came on the scene.

The only thing the lad told me the other day was that she was in pain and vomitting so they thought she had an obstruction, x-rays had proved otherwise.  Today he updated me with what it was but he couldn't answer any questions, although he did think she had been moved from the vets to a specialist.

I'll update as soon as I hear anything.

Catherine thank you for the information...I am sorry you lost your IS to this.  This is something I had not heard of dogs having so will follow this to hopefully hear that Poppy is soon home.
Gosh it all sounds so tricky for this little one - do let us know how she gets on

A good friend has a Labrador who survived meningitis.

She lost and eye as a young puppy - a cat scratched it and the eye did not respond to any treatment they tried. They tried so hard that the puppy's defenses were down. The vet believed the eye was the way the infection got in - and as soon as she recovered her eye had to be removed to prevent further problems - she is a very happy 4 year old bitch.

The very first symptoms started with me, that is why I remember it all so well. She was becoming very unconfortable around the house, so my friend asked me to take her outside for pee a poo while he finished packing. She began to loose her balance in our way back and I warned my friend that this looked very serious - in fact 15 min later, as we got her out of the car in the vet, she no longer could walk. It was all so fast that the vet decided her only chance was a medication that could damage her joints in the future, but the way she was going down nothing else they had there would save her. The medication worked and the Bolota's joints are fine, so it worked out just fine, but she is actually the only case of surviving meningitis that I ever heard about. Never heard of a cases where it was contagious either.

It is sounding very scary for those that are/have been involved with cases of meningitis, poor Bolota, I'm so pleased she survived.  I don't usually see the owners of Poppy until the evening walk, and then only sometimes do we bump into each other. I will definately update the thread as soon as I have any news.

Hi Sheree, a diagnosis of 'Meningitis' in dogs is used to describe a group of diseases that start with the symptoms of extreme neck pain.  These dieases are inflammatory diseases that are immune mediated in their origin.  Unfortunately they are lifelong diseases and there is no cure but the disease can be controlled with steroids and the use of a chemotherapy drug every three weeks.  I am a veterinary nurse and we have several dogs who come in every three weeks for their injections and they live very happy lives.  It is just a commitment for the owner to keep up with the treatment.  The dogs also have to have regular blood tests to check their blood counts to make sure they are not reacting to the medications.  The disease is not catching or hereditary and it is unclear why some dogs suffer from it. 

We usually send dogs to a specialist  and they take a sample of their spinal fluid to confirm the diagnosis.

I am sure Poppy will be fine in the long term!

Thanks so much for that Jo..it's pleasing to hear that there is hope.  I'm sure Poppy's owners will make sure she receives any treatment necessary, they are very nice people and their dogs are very much loved members of the family.

I have heard from Poppys owners, they have joined ES and are waiting for confirmation of their membership, however, Rita asked if I would please post the following on her behalf:

We just found out our puppy has meningitis and therefore I searched on google: Irish setter meningitis.
Your webpage came up with MENINGITIS IN DOGS and I read about an Irish setter puppy with meningitis. I thought it was amazing that there was another Irish Setter puppy called Poppy who had similar problems. It took me a few minutes before I realised that the story was actually about our dogs. No problem Sheree, I can understand that you are worried since meningitis in human is very infectious. It is also nice to read that you think our son is a "nice teenager". I then signed up to Exclusively Setters because I thought you would all like to hear how Poppy is doing and what the symptoms were in her case.
Poppy was just in her first season. She is an eight months old Wendover Irish Setter. On Sunday she went to bed with no warning signs what what going to happen next. My husband heard her cry at night once, but he thought she just had a bad dream. In the morning when I let her out of the cage I knew straight away that she was not well. She was very stiff and did not look happy. She did not eat and after a couple of hours she started coughing. I phoned the vet and we could go and see him straight away. We wondered if she swallowed a part of a tennis ball because our older dog needed surgery when she swallowed a pebble when she was a puppy. The vet gave Poppy an antibiotics injection and kept her in for observation. We picked her up in the evening and we hoped the antibiotics would help. She was in a lot of pain and when she was not any better the next morning we took her to the vet again. They X rayed the whole body and they could not find a foreign body or any other abnormalities. She had a raised temperature all the time. The vet then thought it was some kind of a flu virus. We picked her up again in the evening but that night Poppy (and us) hardly slept and was very uncomfortable. She wanted her legs stretched out completely and she was crying when we tried to touch her. Therefore we took her to the vet again on Wednesday and I think the vet made the decision to refer her to Davies Veterinary Specialists in Higham Gobion for further examination when he realised that the pain was mainly in Poppy's neck. Luckily we could get an appointment straight away and the diagnosing vet checked her over and suggested that it might be meningitis, but the cough did not fit into the diagnosis. We had to hospitalise Poppy and they were going to radiograph the chest, MRI scan the neck, lung wash (because of the cough), blood test and finally do a spinal tap. After a long and upsetting wait the vet phoned us on Thursday afternoon to tell us the MRI scan showed that there was no swelling of the brain, the lungs were fine but that the spine was inflamed. Diagnosis: Steroid responsive meningitis.

Poppy received morphine over the last couple of days and they started with the steroid treatment last night. I just spoken to the nurse again and Poppy ate for the first time since Sunday. They will have to monitor her over the next 3-4 days to get the painkillers and steroids intake right. The vet thinks Poppy coughed because she was drooling excessively and it was painful to swallow and therefore some got into her lung. We really miss Poppy in the house. She is such a sweet loving affectionate dog, much more than Harriet, our 5 year old bitch.
Sorry, this ended up as such a long message, but I just wanted everybody to know about the symptoms, because we also have never heard of meningitis in dogs before. I will keep you all up to date, but at the moment we are feeling quite positive and we cannot wait to get Poppy home, hopefully on Monday. Thank you all for the good wishes.




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