Monday, April 29, 2024

Canine Brain Tumors: Signs To Watch For

A canine brain tumor is a mass inside your dogs cranial cavity. It may be cancerous or non cancerous. There are different levels of malignancy and depending on the level, the treatment options will vary.The mass may be the main tumor or possibly a secondary tumor, that has spread from another part of the body. Brain tumors are more common in older dogs (and cats too), but can also develop in younger pets.  

Signs Of A Dog Brain Tumor

Symptoms of a dog brain tumor vary depending upon the location of the tumor in your dog's brain. 

Forebrain Symptoms-responsible for "thinking," behavior, and final integration of sensory information
  • Behavioral abnormalities such as loss of learned behavior and depression
  • Increased or decreased appetite and thirst
  • Constant pacing or circling
  • Decreased awareness and vision on one side of the body,
  • Seizures
The Brainstem-regulation of motor function (the ability to walk), the level of wakefulness, and the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.   nerves that control movement of and sensation to the face, the eyes, the throat, larynx and tongue, and the muscles of mastication 
  • Head tilt
  • Leaning and falling to the side of the head tilt
  • Drunken gait with loss of balance (ataxia)
  • Circling to the side of the head tilt
  • Involuntary flicking of the eyes (nystagmus)
  • Loss of appetite and vomiting
  • Abnormal eye position (strabismus)
The Cerebellum - The cerebellum controls coordination of movements and interacts closely with the vestibular system to control balance and posture. Signs of a tumor in the cerebellum include:
  • Uncoordinated gait characterized by dramatic goosestepping (hypermetria)
  • Head tremors that are worst when the animal is intent on something (i.e., food) but disappear when the animal is relaxed (intention tremors)
  • Swaying of the trunk
  • Wide based stance
  • The animal's strength remains normal
How is a brain tumor diagnosed? 

If your pet is over five years of age and you notice any of these neurological symptoms, it's important to bring your dog to the veterinarian. Testing will include a complete physical and neurological examination, routine blood work (to rule out other causes), CT or MRI (MRI will show more detail and is the first choice), possible surgery or biopsy to determine type of tumor.

Treatment and Prognosis

The options for treating brain tumors usually include surgical removal, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and palliative treatment of the symptoms or a combination. Alternative holistic care can also be an important part of your pet's care plan.  Holistic supplements that can help are:
  • Happy Paws-  Organic hemp extract oil that is helpful for dogs and cats with anxiety, cancer, pain, mobility issues, seizures and stress. Happy Paws anti-inflammatory hemp extract CBD oil may help reduce muscular nerve pain and inflammation.
  • Dog Brain Booster- Provides vital support to the brain with ingredients such as acetyl l-carnitine and phosphatidyl serine, scientifically proven to support brain health.  This leading brain support supplement can help reduce and prevent dog seizures, help dogs with dementia, brain tumors and other brain disorders.
  • Amazing Omegas- Omega -3 fatty acids have well-documented anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is often associated with tumor development and progression. Some research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may support cognitive function and brain health in aging dogs.
The goal of treatment is to help maintain and extend, for as long as possible,  a good quality of life for your pet.  Many clients have reported that the supplements for dog brain tumors complemented other treatment modalities (e.g. radiation) and helped their pet feel better overall. 

Author:  Susan Blake Davis
Updated 4/29/2024
Originally Published 12/2014