berner.org

Fw: Meningitis "Jeanne Schoech" Sun, 11 Feb 2001 09:04:22 -0800

Hi Pat,

I know you have a really full plate right now, but felt you might be interested in my post to Nikki and Dana. If I have given any misinformation that you know of, please let me know! Thanks. Jeanne

----- Original Message -----

Re: Meningitis "Jeanne Schoech"

Dear Nikki and Dana, > So very sorry to learn about your Edgar's problems with meningitis. > Hank had asetpic meningitis and I'll cut & paste the "blurb" I put together > about Hank's asetpic meningitis for Animal Planet feature on BMDs. The show > is to air Feb. 17th and should cover briefly/in part aseptic meningitis. I > am assuming aseptic meningitis is what you are dealing with. It is indeed a > scarie thing. Please keep in mind the recovery rate is very good. Yes, it > is true some dogs must be on lifetime support of steroids (minimal dosage), > but the majority eventually recover. I think one of the things that make >this particularly difficult is that every dog seems to react a bit > differently. > We did have a spinal tap done on Hank after a particularly nasty relapse. This was done by a neurologist in Denver who had extensive experience with asepic meningits in Beagles. However, the tap was inconclusive due to Hank having been on steroid treatment. We also saw an auto immune specialist afew months later who recommended we stop the steroids, let Hank become symtomatic and run tests again. I was not willing to do this as Hank was maintaining on the pred by this time and remembered far too well the excruciating pain "becoming symtomatic" meant for him. There is another med, Immuran, which has proved help in some cases. Your vet is the best source to ask about this. Also, we used some homeopathic meds/remedies with the initial onset that I believe were extremely helpful. I obtained these thru Marina Zacharias http://www.naturalrearing.com/ and followed her recommendations after a phone consult with her. There is also information about meningitis on the Berner L home page under health links (page one) at http://members.tripod.com/bernerplace/index.htm

Hum... Some of this is a repeat of the following or of what you may have already learned. Sorry- Just trying to cover the bases... I am by no means an expert on aseptic meningitis. Just someone who has traveled this road and know how much the support and input from others meant to me. If you have any questions or even just need to talk, please don't hesitiate to contact me. Email is sticks@chaffee.net and my phone # is 719-539-0429, afternoon or evening. I am and will be sending thoughts of healing and health for Edgar. Please keep me posted. Jeanne Schoech, Salida, CO HANK'S ASEPTIC MENINGITIS AND RECOVERY (INCLUDING HIPS) Hank became symptomatic of aseptic meningitis at 3 months of age. These symptoms were stiffness of gait, lack of appetite, unable to bend his neck (curved back), and fever. A call to the breeder alerted us of aseptic meningitis within the line and a visit to the Buena Vista Vet Clinic & blood work confirmed the a. meningitis. Steroid (Prednisone) treatment was begun immediately with positive results. Ft. Collins Veterinary School was consulted by our veterinary doctor as well. Homeopathic support was also used for approximately 2 months of the treatment. The standard treatment for a. meningitis is prednisone with gradual reduction of dosage. For Hank the reduction of steroids proved somewhat difficult; perhaps because he wasgrowing so rapidly. Hank's steroid treatment began July 30, 1998 and ended December 1999. During this time he experienced several minor relapses: I would notice a falling off of his appetite or stiffness in gait, pale gums, or seemingly difficulty in swallowing. After a call to Dr. Kettering, we would increase the steroid dosage (minimal) with good results. Hank also experienced 2 major relapses after reduction. The worst crisis was Dec. 1998 with all of the above symptoms (as well as extreme pain) returning.

At that time we consulted with Dr. Patricia Luttgren in Denver for a spinal tap. With an increase of steroids Hank returned to non-symptomatic. Another major relapse occurred in Feb. of 99. Again, with steroid increase,

Hank recovered. From this point we were able to continue reducing the steroids very gradually with ceasing treatment Dec. 99. Hank has not been symptomatic from that date and continues to do well. Side effects of steroid use were increase in appetite and thirst as well as dullness in his

coat. We did have to watch his weight and the need for more water made housetraining somewhat more difficult (thou we made it!). Long term use of steroids can be very damaging. However, Hank was never on a very large steroid dose as compared to dosages of older dogs experiencing an initial onset of a. meningitis. To date, he has not experience any difficulty. Hank was neutered in April 2000. We had his hips x-rayed at that time and sent the pictures to OFA for evaluation. That evaluation returned "mild hip dysphasia." Hank had not and continues to show no symptoms or problems with his hips. However, we are trying to support his health by the following: -Feeding a quality dog kibble in addition of yogurt, vegetables, raw bones, and fruit. -Exercise by walking, playing, and training classes -Limit the stress on joints of jumping by helping him in & out of vehicles, etc. -Use of vitamins C, omega acids, and glucosamine In both instances, I felt the necessity of seeking as much information as possible about these health issues. Thanks to a network of caring people (our local veterinarian, Hank's breeder, several Colorado breeders, a Florida breeder, as well as the Berner L, Bernese Mt. Dog Internet mailing list) information and support was available, helpful, and valued beyond words.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Dana and Nikki Walsh"