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What are Brain Tumors?

A brain tumor is a serious condition caused by improper cell division in tissues associated with the brain. These cells are unable to receive the “stop growing” signal and continue to divide, forming masses that can replace or damage healthy brain tissue. Brain damage can cause abnormal behavior, weakness or lethargy, and difficulty moving. Only a veterinarian can properly identify and diagnose a brain tumor, so make an appointment as soon as possible if your pet exhibits unusual behavior or tremors.

A brain tumor is a malignant growth associated with one or more of the structures of the brain, classified by the type of cells in the tumor, the behavior, and any secondary changes seen in or around the tumor. Brain tumors may arise either from the neural tissue itself, or metastasize (spread) from associated muscle, bone or blood.

Brain Tumors Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $5,000 - $25,000

Average Cost

$12,000

Symptoms of Brain Tumors in Dogs

  • Tremors
  • Abnormal Behavior
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vision loss or impairment
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Tissue necrosis
  • Abnormal hair loss/growth
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Causes of Brain Tumors in Dogs

  • Exposure to carcinogens, either acutely or over one’s lifetime
  • Genetic predisposition
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Diagnosis of Brain Tumors in Dogs

Brain tumors vary widely in the type of malignant growth, their location, size and rate of growth. The symptoms of a brain tumor will be determined by two factors: the part of the brain the tumor is damaging, and any other structures nearby. For example, it is not uncommon for bone tumors deep inside the nasal cavity to spread to the brain, causing persistent sneezing and bloody noses, or for brain tumors beneath the eye socket to press on the optic nerve and cause blindness or double vision. Thus, any abnormal behavior or unusual symptom such as bleeding from the nose should be reported promptly to a veterinarian, as this may be an early clue to a hidden illness.

There are many steps a veterinarian can take to successfully diagnose a brain tumor, beginning with a simple head x-ray. This procedure can easily be done in most clinics and thanks to digital imaging, can provide results immediately. However, plain-film x-rays do not always provide enough detail to properly identify or even visualize the tumor, especially if it is of a similar density to brain tissue. Therefore, if the x-ray turns up an inconclusive or negative result, a CT scan with contrast is usually the next choice. A CT scan is essentially a series of pictures taken via a rotating x-ray camera that are re-assembled into a 3D image. To better distinguish the potential tumor from the surrounding tissue, a special dye will be injected using an IV. This dye often causes a sensation of tingling warmth, but is not painful and will not harm your pet.

Another diagnostic tool that may be used is the MRI. MRI technology using magnetic pulses to image the interior of the body, and is better for diagnosing tumors composed exclusively of soft tissue. These machines can be somewhat loud or intimidating, but owners may be allowed to accompany and comfort their pet.

Finally, when the tumor is confirmed and located, one or both of the following may be necessary. First, if the tumor is accessible to surgeons, a biopsy (small sample of tissue) will be taken for testing to identify the tumor. If the tumor is not accessible, or additional information is required, blood or cerebrospinal fluid may be taken for testing, as immunological markers may be present that will identify the tumor.

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Treatment of Brain Tumors in Dogs

The treatment for a brain tumor will vary widely based on the nature and location of the tumor, the size and how early it was diagnosed. In general, an accessible tumor will be removed surgically, along with radiation or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy with Cobalt-60 has shown significant increases in survival rates compared to surgery alone.

An inaccessible tumor cannot be treated surgically, and so chemotherapy/radiation may be employed. Steroids to reduce swelling and anticonvulsants to stop seizures may also be used to minimize symptoms and provide the dog with some comfort, but this is usually to ease the passing of the animal, and is not a cure.

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Recovery of Brain Tumors in Dogs

In general, outlook for dogs with brain tumors is guarded or poor. Well-defined, single brain tumors that have not grown to excessive size and may be accessed surgically have the best chance of a successful outcome. Tumors in groups or inaccessible to surgeons have the poorest prognosis. Radiation therapy can be used to extend a dog’s life over a few additional months, but is not usually a cure. Palliative treatment to make a dog more comfortable is often given, including steroids, anticonvulsants, and painkillers.

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Brain Tumors Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $5,000 - $25,000

Average Cost

$12,000

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Brain Tumors Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Magic

dog-breed-icon

German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Panting
Tired
Stumbling
Confusion

Hi, my dog Magic has recently started to act very tired all the time. He would occasionally yelp whenever he would stand up. And then he would just start walking around and bumping against walls and occasionally almost falling over. I took him to the my veterinarian and he said that he has a fever and prescribed Magic some steroids and antibiotics. Today is the first day of me giving him those, so I’m sure not much has changed, however he laid in one spot for about 6 hours and currently he is just walking around and putting his head in corners. Again, occasionally stumbling and almost falling over. He also would shake his head back and forward for about 2 seconds and then stop. My vet didn’t say anything about a brain tumor, he only said fever. Could these symptoms be caused by just a fever or should I have him looked at more closely?

Aug. 14, 2018

Magic's Owner


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0 Recommendations

Head pressing or staring at corners is a concerning symptom which may be caused by a few different neurological conditions, if this wasn’t discuss with your Veterinarian yesterday you should call them to add this symptom to the list to keep your Veterinarian informed. One day of treatment is unlikely going to show any improvement and it may take a few days or a week before an improvement is seen. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 14, 2018

Okay, I called and let him know. He said just to give it time and let the medicine do it’s job and if he doesn’t improve to bring him back in

Aug. 14, 2018

Magic's Owner

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Dexter

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Mix lab-pitbull

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures

My dog started having seizures just before he hit 7 years. He has always been in puppy stage and he still is. First two seizures were 6 months ago within 24 hours. Then he had two more over the six month course. I understand he is in the gray zone by the age, epilepsy vs tumor. I’m trying to schedule an MRI for him as not knowing is killing me. Could dogs be just normal for 6-7 months between seizures if it’s brain tumor? His last doctor visit last week was all normal except for two seizures in a week. Thank you!!!

June 18, 2018

Dexter's Owner

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0 Recommendations

The brain is still considered a mystery for medicine and doesn’t always follow a logical pattern; but generally we would to see seizures more often in cases of brain tumours, but not always which is why it is important to have an MRI scan done to confirm whether there is a tumour (or other pathology present). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 19, 2018

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Emma

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Shetland Sheepdog

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bulging Eye
Runny Nose
Uveitis

Emma presented with allergies and red itchy eyes at first. So we have her APOQUEL. Then her right eye started to bulge and left eye appeared to have anterior uveitis. Then the vet said she had something systemic. After running all of the blood work, tick test, chest x-ray, and ultrasound, everything came back normal. Now they suspect she has a tumor somewhere in her brain or behind her right eye cause it to bulge, which also explains why the left eye is so inflamed. She isn’t responding to presnisone or doxycycline. Lethargic, panting, uncomfortable, all signs of pain. I can’t get in to see an internist for another week and I keep going to the ER and they keep sending me home. 1) Is she going to before I can get to see the internist?! 2) did the Apoquel do this to her?

June 12, 2018

Emma's Owner


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1 Recommendations

As far as I am aware, the issues which Emma is presenting with are not associated with Apoquel (Oclacitinib), see link below for prescribing information. If the eye is bulging and there is an unknown cause, I would be tempted to do an ultrasound of the eye to see what is behind. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/products/dogs/apoquel/downloads/final_apoquel_pi_030116.pdf

June 13, 2018

Thanks, I read the pamphlet too. Doesn’t apoquel suppress the immune system? The cancerous tumors could have stayed at bay for at least a couple more years. She showed no signs of cancer before I gave it to her. Then two weeks later, full blown cancer. I’m sure Apoquel accelerated the growth of the tumor. There’s just now way this is a coincidence.

June 13, 2018

Emma's Owner

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Chase

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Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hello, my golden retriever, Chase (11 y/o), had 3 grand mal seizures over a period of 7 hours. We rushed him to the emergency clinic where he was administered phenobarbital. Before his seizures happened, he had a clean bill of health, aside from being treated for hypothyroidism. His CBC blood work at the vets on the night he seized came back perfect and did bro have any concerns on his chest X-ray aside from arthritis. He has not had a seizure since being put on a 2x/day dose of oral phenobarbital, and he is regaining coordination and regular behavior relatively quickly. We live in South Carolina and have many toads that come on to our property, as we live off of a river/swamplands, and have read that some species secrete neurotoxins, but would value input regarding possibility of this being caused by a brain tumor. He has an MRI scheduled.

June 7, 2018

Chase's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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At Chase's age, if you are able to have the MRI, I think that is a good idea. Sudden onset seizures in an older dog are always concerning. I'm glad that he is responding to the Phenobarbitol so well, and if the MRI finds no lesions, your veterinarian may guide you in weaning him down off the medication with the chance that a toad was to blame. I hope that all goes well for him.

June 7, 2018

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Clara

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Boxer

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Sickness, Wobbly
Sickness, Wobbly, Rolled Eyes

We lost our deaf, white boxer, Clara, on 12/04/18 totally out of the blue! She woke us up being sick and her eyes were in the back of her head. She was very wobbly on her back legs and there was lots of bile, sick, some wee & poop everywhere. She struggled to walk out to the toilet and when she did she stood still facing one way. She toppled over and when we ran to pick her up she collapsed onto one side. A few hours later we were told by the vet the blood test had come back as pancreatitis and she was on a drip & pain relief. Three hours later she had deteriorated and within an hour she had crashed and was being kept alive by a machine (Leading up to this she seemed in perfect health albeit I had noticed she had been having trouble chewing hard chews for around 4 months and her teeth were in perfect condition as was her mouth). She had also had head tremors in the past but not in our company for over 18 months. Her nose was wet and cold throughout all of the time she was sick. She had always been mean to other dogs since our other boxer was attacked. We are confused as they had been running around on a long walk (she was always walked at least 1.5 hour walks a day). Do you think we should of done more for her, we are confused and utterly devastated as is her brother.

April 15, 2018

Clara's Owner

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1 Recommendations

It is difficult to say specifically what exactly has happened here and I would recommend having a necropsy done to help get more answers to ease concerns you may have. Without having more information or examining her I cannot say what specifically happened or if there was more that could have been done on your or your Veterinarian’s part. Sudden death is always distressing, especially in the lead up everything was normal. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 16, 2018

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Toby

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German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Restless
Whining
Siezure

My 13yr old German Shepard has had 2 seizures within about 2 months of each other. After the first seizure, I was told it could be a brain tumor because he seems to have some nerve issues in the back leg. It took him longer to flip his paw back over and notice she was pinching it. The blood work was fine and they basically said wait and see. After the second seizure, this Dr. did blood work - which was fine and started him on phenobarbital. She didn’t mention anything of a brain tumor. He’s an anxious dog to begin with, but these meds seem to make him extremely restless. If this is a brain tumor, is the phenobarbital a necessary medication? And to get an MRI is an hour away. He’s terrible in the car and I’m debating if it’s worth putting him through that, as if it is a tumor - I don’t think brain surgery would be doable at his age. Can he just be treated as if he had a tumor?

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Oreja

dog-breed-icon

Spaniel

dog-age-icon

1 Month

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Panting

Hello, My dog had a tomour removed last week from her stomach. The vet told us that as she was 13 it was risky but if it was removed it could give us 1 or 2 more years with her as she is so healthy otherwise. She is a bright and energetic playful cocker spaniel with no other health problems. Unfortunately the tumour was diagnosed as grade 3 malignant cancer and after the op she has been struggling with her breathing. Panting and 60 breaths per minute . She is eating well, drinking water and faeces still healthy . She looks so young and bright but her breathing hasnt got back to normal . Yesterday she suddenly started turning around in circles like she was drunk and vomitting a lot. 5 or 6 times a lot of yellow mucous. She seemed confused and dazed and slept a lot afterwards. She woke up and we noticed that she cant walk forwards, only sideways . She seems to have lost some of her sight and hearing and isnt her usual perky self. She doesnt respond to the usual things but just looks a bit swithced off. I took her back to the vet and he said he thinks she may have a brain tumour as the report from the other tumour found cancer in her lymph and advised paying attention to other organs. As all her organs and lungs are fine in the scan he thinks that a tumour in her brain could have bene there for some time and we didnt know. He gave her a sedative and said that to do a scan wasnt worth it as it would just label the problem and that there was still no cure at her age and with the diagnosis of the malignant form of cancer she has. -he said that she had had a seizure and there could be more to follow. She is just lying there with sad eyes and shallow fast breathing. I dont know how much pain or discomfort she is in and whether the kindest thing to do before another seizure is have her put down. I cant bear the thought of this as she is like a little person . She has always been a dog with such a strong playful personality and so much affection . Just a bundle of love and pure anegel. I just dont want her to be in any pain and if the next seizure is unpleasant fo rher like what happened yesterday I dont think that we could bear it. She still has a good appetite and loves chicken . she is drinking water still. And moving her head to look at us wherever we walk. She cant seem to focus or move her head properly however. Her movements are limited. IS there nothing we can do to help her now? Is the vet´s advice correct that due to her age to put her through another anaesthetic to get a brain scan to find out which tumour it is , is not worth it due to the diagnosis we already got from the other tumour? I just dont know what to do or how to help her. The most important thing is her and her not suffering. Is it likely that another seizure will come soon? Is there anything we can do to keep her more calm and comfortable? The vet said to stop giving her medication as it was making her sick . Just omeprazol for her stomach . But if she is panting is she in pain?Any advice would be appreciated

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Cooji

dog-breed-icon

Yorkshire Terrier

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures

I have a 13 year old Male Yorkie. In the past he is just a normal Yorkie except when we got back from camping this past weekend. Monday morning 9 Sep 2019 I was trying to rub his forehead and I felt a bump and when I look at it there was a 1/8 of inch cut. On that day I noticed that he is limping from his left front leg and having a hard time to get up. I called our regular Vet and told them that I was bringing my dog in. While in the Vet office and the Vet came in I was pointing it out that he has a bump on his forehead with a cut she look at it didn't say anything she came came back and prescribed Benadryl for inflammation for arthritis. Wednesday morning 9:20 AM he has seizure my wife pick him up to calm him down it lasted about 30 seconds and he was fine. On about 10:40AM he had another episode this one lasted about 45 seconds. Called the Vet. On about 12:45 PM he had another one called the Vet and she said to take him to the Emergency Room. On the way to the Emergency Room he had another episode. Presented as a Critical triage. Physical condition all came back normal. Neurological System: Altered mentation with negative menace. X-Ray Minor hairline fractures noted along dorsal-most aspect of calvarium. Before all of this episodes he was just a normal healthy dog playing, eating regularly, sleeping he has no seizures in the past. Friday Morning I called the ER an spoke to the Doctor and he said that our dogs conditions has not changed at all and the pupils ar not responding to the touch.

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Pepper

dog-breed-icon

schnauzer

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Disoriented

Schnauzer started having seizures 5 months ago and has had 21 seizures. Drs suspect brain tumor. Now she wobbles and falls now and then but it’s not a seizure. What is it? Had echo, not heart, not Cushings

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julie

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Greyhound

dog-age-icon

14 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Excesssive Barking For Hours

i have 14 yr old italian greyhound julie .she is blind ,but now started excessive barking for hours. we have started her on trezasone to stop the hours of barking and calm her down . vet thinks it could be a brain tumor. what are your thoughts ?

Brain Tumors Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $5,000 - $25,000

Average Cost

$12,000

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