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Neurological disorder or infection?


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Three nights ago after playing Frisbee in the yard as my wife and I do every night after work our 4 year old BC did something very odd that started a sequence of events.


She started missing the Frisbees and not chasing them as hard as she normally does but was not acting odd in any way. Then after picking up a Frisbee that she just missed (which is unusual for her) she turned to me and started to howl. I have only heard her howl once her whole life. She then went into a frantic state of running around and bumping into me and the bushes while barking incessantly as if she was being chased. She was not aggressive in any manor to me or my wife but was jumping into the back door to get in the house like someone was chasing her. We got her into the house and she ran around frantically like someone was behind her or she was looking for something. After several minutes of the is she calmed down and we eventually got her to go to sleep for the night. - very nerve racking –


She had seems very tired and achy for the next morning which we thought might have been from the frantic running and jumping around in the yard. Her back legs seems stiff but her personality was ok. That night she has at least one episode of this frantic pacing (which at the time she did not display any pain or stiffness in her legs) and took a while for her to calm down.


Next day same thing, now we are waiting for our vet appointment (and trying to get in asap) which was made because of our concerns for the weird behavior, my wife comes home to find her limp and unresponsive. Breathing and eyes barely open. I rushed home and we took her to the vet immediately. She felt cool/ clammy to the touch. The vet immediately thought it was a case of poison intoxication and was administered activated charcoal and an IV. Because they were closing soon and did not have anybody to monitor her we took her to an ER for the night to continue the path that was started. Long story short (little tired now and cannot remember the exact sequence of all the events) nothing abnormal in the blood, urine, joint fluid etc. But is now howling every few minutes, as if she is not in pain but trying to tell us something. She can barely walk and is having trouble walking up and down steps when I pick her up from the ER.


After a day back at the vet she seems ok but they suggest bringing her to a neurologist for an evaluation because they cannot seem to find anything abnormal other than a slight fever, trouble moving, the howling and confused frantic state she is now in. On the way to the neurologist she seems fine, personality back and walking a lot better! The neurologist does an exam and cannot find any joint pain and comes to the conclusion that it may be encephalitis, a brain lesion, tumor etc. so we probably need to get an MRI and a spinal tap before using antibiotics or steroids that may be needed for whatever may be ailing her. But now she seems like she is on the road to recovery and it is after 5:00 on Friday so we decide to try to make it thru the weekend. We make it home and she looks like she might just come out of it when she starts with another howling episode after being home for an hour or so. Frantic again, but she is moving around with no problem. Her legs look great and her gait seems fine. We got her to lay down for the night after a few more episode and then realized that we need to get her back to the ER as the episode start coming again and more frequent now, every 5 min or so between them.


The neurologist called the ER to notify them we were coming in and to start her on steroids and antibiotics as they seem to think it may be encephalitis or meningitis (we felt we needed to get her started on some sort of treatment asap). We are now waiting for Monday to schedule a MRI and Spinal tap because it does not seem the medication is helping her, she is still howling and acting franticly.


The good news is that every vet and doctor we have seen has been great and wanting to communicate with the others to help figure this out but nobody can seem to pin point what it is because they have never seen this scenario of test results and behavior.


Has anybody had an experience like this that can offer some help or insight. Has anybody had a BC that exhibited this behavior?

Does anybody know how long it takes for the steroids and antibiotics to take affect? or how to know if they are working?


Any help would be greatly appreciated, we are extremely worried for our little girl!!!

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Wow I'm so sorry. You must be worried to death, I know I would be. Yes it does sound neurological to me. If the meds are working you should start to see some results within a day or so.


One thing you may want to check out is the meningeal worm I know someone whose bc had one and it took major seizures. Don't remember exactly what treatment (its been a few years) but I think it was steriods and high doses of ivermictin, plus antibiotics.


It's going to be a long wait until Monday..keep us posted.

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Just got an update, she is having less occurrences of the howling but is still doing it. Last night about one every half hour and today only a couple of times, but she is not mobile and might just be calming down. Back to the neurologist is guess?


I can not find information on dogs with the meningeal worm but it sounds pretty similar...

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I also want to pass on my wishes that your dog improves. The poor girlie must be so confused.


With regards to the meningeal worm infection: I find it interesting that meningeal might cause seizures in a dog. A meningeal worm infection in livestock generally leads to stumbling, then proceeds to paralysis (i.e. the animal can not walk). This is because the meningeal worm migrates into the spinal cord.



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