How is cat meningitis treated

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Meningitis, meningoencephalitis, meningomyelitis in cats

The meninges is a system of membranes that surrounds the cat's central nervous system. When this system becomes inflamed, it is called meningitis. Meningoencephalitis is the inflammation of the meninges and the brain; meningomyelitis is the inflammation of the meninges and the spinal cord.

Inflammation of the meninges often leads to secondary inflammation of the brain and / or spinal cord, which can lead to various neurological complications. Chronic inflammation can also impede the flow of cerebrospinal fluid - the protective and nourishing fluid that circulates around the brain and spinal cord. This leads to an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and thus serious complications such as seizures and paresis.

Symptoms and types

Neurological symptoms commonly associated with meningitis, meningoencephalitis, and meningomyelitis, such as restricted mobility, altered mental status, and seizures, can be severe and worsen over time. Other symptoms that are commonly seen in sick cats include:

  • depression
  • shock
  • Low blood pressure
  • fever
  • Vomit
  • Abnormal increase in sensitivity to various stimuli (hyperesthesia)


The most common cause of meningitis is a bacterial infection in the brain and / or spinal cord that spreads from other parts of the body. Meningoencephalitis is usually due to infections of the ears, eyes, or the nasal cavity. Meningomyelitis usually develops after discospondylitis and osteomyelitis. In kittens and cats with weakened immune systems, such infections often reach the brain and spinal cord in the blood.

Meningitis in cats can be transmitted by ticks. You can find information on tick defense in cats on this page.


The veterinarian needs to have a comprehensive medical history of the cat's health, including what happened and what type of symptoms it was experiencing. The vet will then perform a full physical exam and several laboratory tests. These include the complete blood count, the biochemical profile of the blood culture and the urinalysis. These laboratory tests make it possible to identify and isolate the type of infection.

The biochemical profile may indicate liver and kidney involvement. Blood tests in the cat may show an increased number of white blood cells, which is a sign of persistent infection. Urinalysis can also reveal pus and bacteria in the cat's urine, an indication of a urinary tract infection.

Other diagnostic methods commonly used to identify the infectious agent include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), abdominal ultrasounds, chest and abdominal x-rays, and samples of the skin, eyes, nasal discharge, and sputum.

However, one of the most important diagnostic tests is CSF analysis. A sample of the CSF is taken from the cat and sent to a laboratory for cultivation and further evaluation.


In severe cases of meningitis, meningoencephalitis, or meningomyelitis, the cat is admitted to the veterinary clinic to prevent more serious complications. Once the pathogen is identified, your vet will administer antibiotics intravenously to maximize effectiveness. Anti-epileptic drugs and corticosteroids may be prescribed to control seizures and reduce inflammation. Cats who are already severely dehydrated will be given immediate hydration therapy.


Fast and aggressive treatment is essential for a successful result. Their effectiveness depends on numerous factors and the overall prognosis is often not favorable. Unfortunately, despite treatment, many cats die from these types of infections once they reach the central nervous system.

However, if treatment is successful, it may take more than four weeks for all symptoms to subside. The cat's activity should be limited during this time and until stabilization.


Treat your cat's ear, eye, and nose infections promptly to prevent these infections from spreading to the nervous system.

Posted in Cat DiseasesTagged Meninges, Cat, Meningitis, Meningoencephalitis, Meningomyelitis, Ticks