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Pickle and Pebble get into a pickle

Pickle and Pebble are one-year-old whippet sisters whose joyful lives suddenly took a turn when Pebble started feeling unwell. Over a few days Pebble became lethargic, was in pain, unwilling to eat and developed fever. When examined by our neurology team, it was immediately clear that Pebble had severe spinal pain, particularly in her neck. 

After performing blood tests, an MRI scan and a spinal fluid analysis the diagnosis was made: meningitis. 

While the team started treating Pebble accordingly, two days later we received a call that something didn’t seem quite right with Pickle. Although she could have just been missing her sister, her carer correctly suspected that it was something more serious, and indeed, when examined, Pickle had very similar – although milder – signs to Pebble. Tests confirmed an identical diagnosis of meningitis. 

 “I cannot tell you the expression of surprise on Pebble’s face when she saw Pickle walking in our wards. They were so happy to see each other and they immediately made it clear that they wanted to stay in the same kennel!” – Lorenzo, Head of Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Both Pickle and Pebble responded very well to their treatment and returned  home together feeling much, much better

Lorenzo says, “The most common form of meningitis that we see in puppies is not caused by bacteria or parasites but is caused by an immuno-mediated disease where their own white blood cells turn against their meninges (membrane layers which protect the brain and spinal cord) for reasons and with mechanisms that still have to be completely disclosed.”

This disease is better known as SRMA (Steroid Responsive Meningo-Arteritis) and is treatable if recognised promptly and treated aggressively, although in some cases relapses can occur. We know that whippets are among the most represented breeds for this disease so there is likely some predisposition, but it is very uncommon to have two littermates presenting with this disease simultaneously. We believe that most likely Pickle and Pebble living together have been exposed to a common trigger that caused this immuno-mediated reaction. Both of them had diarrhoea the week before presenting, which could possibly be related to what happened. More research is still needed on this field.”


Thank you for reading Pickle and Pebble’s story. For regular news and patient stories, be sure to check out our InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.

Take care,

Team Ralph 🐾

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