Brain Tumors In Dogs - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Brain Tumors In Dogs - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

A tumor refers to an abnormal cell growth which can occur in any part of the body. Tumors can be benign or malignant, and are also known as neoplasms, which are synonymous with cancer. Brain tumors in dogs are not very common, but they can occur for no apparent reason, which is why the signs of brain tumor in dogs need to be recognized as soon as possible.

For more about the treatment and most common symptoms of brain tumor in dogs, keep reading here at AnimalWised. In addition, we’ll be answering all of your questions regarding brain tumor in dogs progression and dog brain tumor life expectancy.

Brain tumor in dogs: benign or malignant

Before explaining the signs of a brain tumor in dogs, it is important that we clarify the difference between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor in dogs.

Benign tumors in dogs grow slowly and do not spread to or destroy the surrounding areas. Treatment for benign tumors usually require surgery. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, invade other parts of the body and tend to spread, resulting in metastasis. Metastasis refers to the growth of new tumors from a primary one, by the transfer of cells through the lymphatic or circulatory system.

For more, we recommend reading this article where we discuss cancer in dogs.

Brain tumor in dogs: characteristics

As we’ve already mentioned, brain tumors are not, fortunately, frequent in dogs. However, when they do occur, they usually occur in middle aged to older dogs, from five years old. Brachycephalic dogs with shorter snouts, such as boxers and bulldogs, are more likely to suffer from brain tumors than long-snouted dogs, such as German Shepherds. Additionally, it’s important to know that secondary malignant tumors may develop in the brain. These usually stem from metastasis in other parts of the body, such as the mammary glands or lungs.

The most frequent types of brain tumors in dogs are meningiomas and gliomas. The main causes of these two brain tumor types vary and could include dietary, environmental, genetic, viral factors, etc.

Keep reading below to discover the main symptoms of brain tumors in dogs, as well as the most common treatments types.

Brain tumor in dogs: symptoms

In these cases we cannot speak of a clear symptomatology, since this will depend on the location of the tumor and its growth. In general, the following are among the most common symptoms of brain tumor in dogs:

  • General or localized seizures
  • Alterations in the mental state
  • Behavior changes
  • Uncoordinated walk
  • Inclined head
  • Nystagmus (which is the rhythmic and uncontrollable movement of the eyes)
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis in the extremities

All of these signs of brain tumor in dogs are progressive and can worsen, leaving a dog in a comatose state. This is why it is incredibly important to go to the veterinarian as soon as you notice any of these above mentioned symptoms.

Signs of a brain tumor in dogs

Does my dog have a brain tumor? If you observe any of the above mentioned symptoms described above, we recommend going to your veterinarian as soon as possible to find out.

Canine vestibular disease or brain tumor?

Because dog brain tumors are so rare, and their symptoms are easily mistaken for other disorders such as vestibular syndrome, poisoning, infectious diseases or even brain abscesses, an accurate diagnosis may take some time. However, a correct and professional diagnosis is key in making sure that the tumor is identified and treated in time.

A dog brain tumor can be detected by a complete neurological examination as well as specific tests, such as electroencephalogram, a cerebrospinal fluid analysis, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. A definitive diagnosis will be done by pathological anatomy. Blood, urine, chest and abdomen x-rays can also help to identify tumors in other parts of the body, that may have reached the brain through metastasis.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss mast cell tumors in dogs, otherwise known as mastocytoma in dogs.

Brain tumor in dogs: treatment

If the tumor is benign, surgery is the most common treatment of choice. This surgery, however, will depend largely on where the tumor is found, as some areas of the brain are difficult to operate on, being such a large and delicate organ. In this regard, it should be noted that these types of operations should be left to experienced and specialized veterinary surgeons.

If, however, surgery is not possible or is not considered necessary, cancer in dogs can be treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Side effects of chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc., and many fail to act effectively on the brain. Radiation therapy requires a specialized veterinary center. Unfortunately, none of these techniques have been 100% proven effective against brain tumors. Therefore, in terms of brain tumor in dogs progression, or dog brain tumor life expectancy, prognosis will depend on the individual case.

On the other hand, symptoms of brain tumors in dogs can be alleviated with corticosteroids and anticonvulsants. These cannot, however, slow down brain tumor in dogs progression.

Dog brain tumor: when to euthanize

As we’ve already mentioned, brain tumor in dogs life expectancy varies according to the individual case. Treatments do generally significantly improve brain tumor in dogs prognosis.

There is no specific wrong or right time when it comes to canine euthanization. In the case of an untreatable dog brain tumor, and your animal is in severe pain, we recommend consulting your veterinarian about the possible and best options for your individual case. You can also opt for contacting a pet hospice for additional advice.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss, is my dog dying? - symptoms & advice.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

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