Hero Pet Noni, the little dog that caused a huge scare

Bow Wow Meow Hero Pet Noni

Seemingly out of nowhere, Noni the Italian Greyhound, struggled to stand for long periods and would fall over after just a few steps.

To make matters more confusing, 3 year old Noni – who had been a very healthy young man until then – didn’t appear to be in any pain.

As Noni’s mum Loren explains, she first noticed that something was wrong on the Sunday of a recent long weekend, as luck would have it. As Noni’s regular vet was closed, they headed to the emergency vet, who assessed Noni and informed his increasingly anxious parents that their pup’s issues were neurological.

Noni would need to be seen by VRH, a specialist hospital for animals that provides comprehensive neurology services. Unfortunately, an appointment with the neurology specialist wasn’t available for another week and a half.


Noni’s condition deteriorated quickly

In the meantime, Noni’s condition was deteriorating quickly. Loren explains,

“By the Tuesday he could hardly stand up and would just turn towards his right side and fall over. We had to hold him up so he could go to the toilet.”

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Noni struggling to stand


Not happy to wait any longer, Loren took Noni to his regular vet who let VRH know of the seriousness of the situation, and they agreed to take him straight in.

After assessing Noni, the vet at VRH explained to Loren and her partner that Noni would need to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and possibly a cerebrospinal tap to figure out what was happening.


Noni’s diagnosis

“We knew then that a diagnosis of meningitis was the best case scenario, because it is so treatable,” Loren says. “Even so, my partner and I drove home and cried all night!”

The following morning, Noni had the MRI and the spinal tap under general anaesthetic. He spent three nights in the hospital “getting the absolute best care available”, reports Loren.

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Noni getting treatment at the vet hospital


The MRI showed swelling in Noni’s spinal cord as well as the front right side of his brain, confirming a diagnosis of meningitis. This is serious condition referring to inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

The results of the spinal tap would show if Noni had contracted bacterial or immune-mediated meningitis. Until they came through, he was treated for both types, with steroids as well as antibiotics.

It turned out that Noni had immune-mediated meningitis, which is caused by an inflammatory response in the body in which the  immune system attacks its own tissues.

“I’d never heard of such a thing!” Loren says. “He will now be on steroids for the next five months or so. But he has responded VERY well to the medication so we hope there will be no relapse.


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What meningitis signs should you look out for?

The usual signs of meningitis are fever, neck pain and rigidity, and painful muscle spasms. Dogs may have these signs without any sign of brain or spinal cord dysfunction, according to the MSD Veterinary Manual.


Noni’s treatment cost thousands of dollars

For us, money is no issue when it comes to our Noni, however there was that slight anxiety on-top of everything else that was going on. “Will this all be covered?”, “Will I have to pay up front?” All of those fun thoughts on top of “will my dog make it home?!”

By Loren’s estimate, the cost for the first night in hospital was $2,300 plus $800 for every 12 hours after that. The MRI and spinal tap was another $4,500 on top of the hospital stay.

“In the end, the VRH processed all our insurance claims for us which was a HUGE relief. We only ended up paying just $900!

I am so unbelievably grateful for the VRH and Bow Wow Meow for working together to do what they could to alleviate the added stress of finances to what is already an awful experience. 

The staff at Bow Wow Meow have also been so wonderful in following up to see how Noni is tracking.”


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Noni is back enjoying life on the beach!


The happy outcome

“I am so pleased to say that Noni is back to normal and running around without a care in the world! Completely oblivious to the pain and anguish he caused us such a short time ago! He’s back getting all of the cuddles and treats that he can possibly get!”

There is nothing better than hearing an outcome like this! We are delighted to learn of Noni’s speedy recovery and wish him a long, happy and healthy life  ♥


We are so impressed with Noni’s resilience through his challenging ordeal that we have chosen him as our second Bow Wow Meow Hero Pet.

We recognise that there are many pets out there who are facing challenges every day. These dogs and cats are all heroes to us. If you would like to nominate your fur baby as a Bow Wow Hero Pet, please let us know.


This article is written by

Nicky Klugman

Nicky is our Marketing Communications and Content Specialist. She is an animal-lover who is particularly interested in animal behaviour and the relationships between humans and their pets. While growing up, dogs were always an integral part of the family. Nicky is mum to three human sons and a rescue pup called Dobby.

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*Please note, any pet insurance advice provided is general only. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.