What is Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma)?
When dogs develop brain tumors, they can most likely be meningioma or a glioma. The most common type of brain tumor is a meningioma, although some studies show that gliomas are the most frequent in dogs. These gliomas are tumors within cells that are non-neuronal. Non-neuronal cells, or glial cells, make up 90% of the cell types in the nervous system. The astrocytes are a type of non-neuronal (glial) cell.
Glial cells are imperative to the effectiveness of the nervous system. They work closely with the nerve cells by controlling nutrient content and other vital compounds that relate directly to the brain’s functions with the rest of the dog’s (and human’s) body.
Dogs that are slightly older to old usually get gliomas, and the ages usually span from over seven years to over ten years. It is common to short-nosed dog breeds, and these tumors are slow growing, yet very malignant and aggressive.
Brain tumor (Astrocytoma) in dogs is a form of brain cancer. Astrocytoma forms from the glial cells called astrocytes.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma) in Dogs
There are several different symptoms that your dog may have with astrocytoma. Symptoms include:
- Abnormal pupil reflex to light
- Seizures, mild to severe
- Loss of appetite
- Head pressing
There are several different types of cancerous brain tumors in dogs. In addition to astrocytoma, other types of similar brain tumors and cancers include:
- Choroid Plexus Papilloma
- Adenoma (Pituitary)
Causes of Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma) in Dogs
The actual specific cause of astrocytoma is not known. There is research still being conducted on canines that are post-mortem. Causes may include:
- Radiation exposure
- Trauma or injury
Diagnosis of Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma) in Dogs
During the testing involved to come to the diagnosis, there are several different diseases and illnesses that the veterinarian will need to rule out. Diseases and illnesses which have similar symptoms are other cancers, congenital disorders, metabolic diseases, degenerative diseases, trauma, and any infections caused by outside agents.
After giving the veterinarian a full history of your dog’s health and symptoms he is having, the veterinarian will need to do several diagnostic procedures. A full biochemistry profile, urine testing, blood work, and an electrolyte panel will give the veterinarian a clearer picture by ruling out any other diseases.
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to the veterinarian. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, complete blood count, and electrolyte panel to rule out other diseases.
The medical professional will perform or order an analysis of spinal fluid (cerebrospinal) and look for any increased counts of protein but without increased cell counts. This is a sign of the development of astrocytoma tumor in dogs. The veterinarian will also perform an MRI and any other complex imaging methods.
Treatment of Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma) in Dogs
Like many cancerous tumors, there are several different methods of effective treatment, if caught early. All dogs are different and all cancerous tumors can behave differently. Treatment methods include:
Chemotherapy is used to help any cancerous tumor slow down or halt any cancerous cells from growing. Chemotherapy can be quite effective if the cancerous tumor has not developed to the point of being unreachable by this type of therapy.
Radiation is a therapy that damages the DNA of cancer cells. This can be given alone as therapy or in conjunction with chemotherapy.
Surgery can be performed if the tumor can be operated on, but oftentimes cannot be operated on due to the location and the risks involved. Currently, research is being done on the effectiveness of surgery and the prognosis during and after surgery.
Recovery of Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma) in Dogs
Unfortunately, the prognosis for this type of tumor is poor. It can be elongated if it is caught early. It is very difficult to surgically operate on due to the location of the tumor, and regular visits with the veterinarian will need to be scheduled and kept to check the status of the tumor and to see if it is shrinking from the chemotherapy and radiation.
Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog was just diagnosed with a maningioma after having 2 seizures. The tumor is in the frontal lobe and not sure what coarse of treatment
A Meningioma is a tumour of the layers of tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord called the meninges and is the most common type of brain tumour with one scientific study of 97 Golden Retriever’s showing an unusually high occurrence in the breed. Meningioma’s rarely metastasize but may spread in to surrounding tissues. The treatment of choice is surgical removal with radiotherapy if incomplete excision took place; other treatments like anti-seizure medication and dietary changes may help the condition. Overall, the accessibility of the tumour and the ability to operate (if appropriate) will determine the prognosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Add a comment to Riley's experience
Was this experience helpful?