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Clinical presentation, diagnostic findings and long-term survival in large breed dogs with meningoencephalitis of unknown aetiology
  1. I. Cornelis, DVM, DECVN1,
  2. H. A. Volk, DVM, PhD, DECVN1 and
  3. S. De Decker, DVM, PhD, MvetMed, DECVN1
  1. 1Clinical Science and Services, The Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hatfield, UK
  2. 2I. Cornelis is currently at Department of Medicine and Clinical Biology of Small Animals, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke 9820, Belgium
  1. E-mail for correspondence: ine.cornelis{at}


Although several studies indicate that meningoencephalitis of unknown aetiology (MUA) might affect every dog breed at every age, little is known about clinical presentation, diagnostic findings and long-term survival in large breed dogs. The aim of this study was therefore to compare the clinical presentation, diagnostic findings and long-term survival between large and small/medium breed dogs diagnosed with MUA. One hundred and eleven dogs met the inclusion criteria. 28 (25 per cent) dogs were considered large breed dogs compared with 83 (75 per cent) small/medium breed dogs. Large breed dogs presented significantly more often with a decreased mentation. Age, gender, duration of clinical signs prior to diagnosis, presence of seizures or cluster seizures, variables on complete blood count and cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and all variables on MRI were not significantly different between small/medium and large breed dogs. Median survival time was 281 and 106 days for the large and small/medium breed dogs, respectively, with no significant difference in survival curves for both groups. Although considered not typically affected by MUA, 25 per cent of dogs included in this study were considered large breed dogs. Therefore, MUA should be included in the differential diagnosis for large breed dogs presenting with intracranial neurological signs. If diagnosed with MUA, large breed dogs also carried a guarded prognosis.

  • MUO
  • Inflammatory CNS disease
  • Myelitis
  • encephalitis

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