To describe the signs that may be associated with intracranial inflammatory conditions, magnetic resonance (MR) images of 25 dogs that had inflammatory cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were mixed with those of a control group of 40 dogs that had CSF negative for inflammatory disease and reviewed without knowledge of the clinical signs or diagnosis. CSF was considered inflammatory if the protein level was >0.25 g/l and the white cell count was >5 mm−3. Abnormalities were found by MR imaging in 19 (76%) dogs with inflammatory CSF. Two dogs had focal lesions, 10 had multifocal lesions, and seven had diffuse lesions. Lesions affected all divisions of the brain. Mass effect was identified in seven (28%) dogs, including one that had a choroid plexus carcinoma. Lesions were hyperintense in T2-weighted images in 18 dogs and hypointense in T1-weighted images in six dogs. Multifocal or diffuse intraaxial lesions that were hyperintense in T2-weighted images were observed in 17 (68%) dogs with inflammatory CSF. Administration of gadolinium resulted in enhancement of intraaxial lesions in nine (36%) dogs and enhancement of meninges in seven (28%) dogs. Six (24%) dogs with inflammatory CSF had images interpreted as normal.