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Traumatic Encephalitis in Dogs

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Vanmathi Arulselvam , Devadharshini Kamalakannan, Abiramy Prabavathy Arumugam, Devadevi Narayanan and Vijayalakshmi Padmanadan

Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Kurumbapet, Puducherry, India

Department of Veterinary Medicine, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Kurumbapet, Puducherry, India * Corresponding author: Devadharshini Kamalakannan, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Kurumbapet, Puducherry, India. Email:


Introduction: Traumatic encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain caused by external trauma. This condition can lead to the manifestation of various nervous signs. Case report: A three-year-old male mongrel was brought to the Small Animal Medicine Unit of the Veterinary Clinical Complex, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Puducherry, India, with a history of hit injury, inappetence, haematuria and circling gait for the past three days. Clinical examination revealed circling gait and swelling at the base of the penis with other normal vital parameters. By the third day, there were some nervous signs, such as circling, head pressing, and torticollis with insomnia. Haemogram revealed anemia and neutrophilia with no evidence of blood parasites or protozoans. Radiological examination of the head and neck revealed increased atlanto-occipital joint space. The condition was diagnosed as traumatic encephalitis and was treated with Mannitol, Phenobarbital, Diazepam, and Renerve plus. A neck collar was also advised for immobilization of the neck. The dog collapsed after 20 days despite the symptomatic treatment. Conclusion: The secondary infections caused by encephalitis can leads to death in animals.


  1. The inflammation of the parenchyma of the brain is known as encephalitis, and there are various causes for this condition which are both infectious and non-infectious. This includes bacterial, viral, fungal, rickettsial, parasitic, toxic agents, and immune mediate1. Encephalitis can also be caused due to injury, which can disturb the protective coverings, such as skin, meninges, and blood-brain barrier. This is less likely to happen if the blood-brain barrier is intact2. Allergy, old dog encephalitis, and infections spreading from eyes, nasal sinus, and external ears are also probable causes. These infections can cause degenerative changes and form necrotic foci and microabscesses in the brain, which can obstruct the blood flow and cause cerebral dysfunction and increased intracranial pressure3. The clinical signs in non-infectious encephalitis include convulsions, nystagmus, photophobia, salivation, muscular tremors, paresis, ataxia, complete paralysis, deviation of the neck, incoordination, circling, abnormalities of posture are other signs of encephalitis3. Diagnosis for encephalitis is mostly based on history, clinical signs, and blood investigations. Computed tomography or magnetic resonance Imaging can show micro focal, contrastenhancing lesions. This can act as strong evidence for the presence of encephalitis in addition to abnormal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, increased protein level and leukocyte count). Cerebrospinal fluid examination can be done to identify infectious and other cerebral diseases4. Serology tests for infectious agents in CSF may be helpful in diagnosis4. Symptomatic treatment includes reducing the intracranial pressure with Injection of Mannitol 20% (2.2 g/kg Intravenous for over 30-45 minutes)5, anticonvulsants such as phenobarbital and corticosteroids such as prednisolone and dexamethasone and antibiotics such as cephalosporin’s to control secondary bacterial infections5.

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