Dog Care – Inflammation of the Brain

Dog Care – Inflammation of the Brain

Under this general heading can be grouped encephalitis, meningitis, the involvement of the brain during uraemia and advanced kidney diseases, acute toxaemia, and so on.

The symptoms may come suddenly as with a fit, or may appear gradually. Although the animal seems conscious he is, for the most part, more or less oblivious of his surroundings although there may be occasional periods of comparative lucidity.

He does not recognise his owners, although he will react to food and sometimes to loud noises. In mild cases the dog tends to wander about aimlessly and restlessly with a vacant expression; in more serious cases he will walk round in small circles, always in the same direction and, if restrained, will struggle to continue this circling. Violent cases will try to climb the wall and bump into obstacles. Often the dog will cry, whine or howl, and the high-pitched typical meningeal yelp is a very distressing and ominous symptom.

Little can be done by the owner. Pending arrival of the veterinary surgeon, the dog should be given a sedative or Chlorbutol (from three grains upwards) and put in a darkened, empty room or a large kennel where he cannot injure himself. Ice packs or cloths wrung out in very cold water are often useful when applied to the back of the skull during a quiet period.

Except in very mild cases the prognosis of this condition is extremely unfavourable, and where permanent damage to the brain exists recovery is impossible; it is kinder to have the animal put to sleep. The veterinary surgeon should be asked his frank opinion of the dog’s chances. He should always be consulted immediately whenever the brain is involved.

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If treatment is to be tried, such as general anaesthesia for some hours to rest the brain or powerful sedatives, the sooner it is begun the better. As it can be provided only by a qualified person, one should be consulted without delay.

Bruising Bruises come from a variety of causes, but doubtless the commonest is an argument between dog and motorcar. Whilst bruising is not likely to produce more than a temporary stiffness in a young dog, in old ones neglected bruising may leave a chronic myositis (a type of rheumatism). In addition, with severe cases of bruising in old dogs, the histamine-like products released from the damaged tissues may produce kidney embarrassment or some degree of shock.

The injured area should first be searched for any minor cuts or grazes. These should be bathed and cleansed with a little warm antiseptic solution. Warm compresses to the bruised area will greatly relieve the local pain. A hot water-bottle, a warmed pad of Ther-mogene wool or a kaolin poultice provide the local heat required.

A little warm water by mouth with glucose added is advisable as a mild stimulant, and if the bruising is extensive, and as a routine with old dogs, it is wise to give a little bicarbonate of soda every two or three hours until about twelve hours after the injury. This by its alkalising action helps to counteract any acidosis or kidney impairment. According to the size of the dog, A�-1 teaspoonful is adequate, and this amount can quite easily be given dissolved in a little warm water or warm milk.

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Limited exercise should be given for 5-7 days following the injury, and diet should be light and preferably fluid. Particularly for old dogs, where the bruising may have been extensive, barley water for a week or so is better than ordinary drinking water.