Tumors suck: and brain tumors are the worst above all. Having your dog with this condition can be heartbreaking.

We do not know what causes brain tumors, it’s an uncommon disease. But if your dog is diagnosed with it you may ask is there treatment? And if there isn’t, when should I euthanize my dog?

There’s a lot to discuss and consider about this, allow us to start.

What’s a Dog Brain Tumor

Like any other tumor, it is due to an abnormal and irregular cell division. This can be developed in the skull, the meninge, the brain itself, the cranial nerves, or the pituitary gland.

While the main reason why this happens is uncertain there are potential candidates. Some hypotheses point to environmental or chemical toxins, dietary factors, genetic issues, and a weak immune system.

There are breeds that seem to be more prone to develop brain tumors, such as all the short noses or flat faces, like Pugs. Also, dogs with long noses and heads, like Collies. And finally, some other breeds susceptible to this are Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, and Terriers.

Diagnosing Dog Brain Tumor

A brain tumor will probably be aggressive and fast, that’s why we need to diagnose it the earliest possible, to extend the lifetime of our dog.

Please notice that these symptoms aren’t for brain tumors exclusively, but they are the only way to detect them. Please check with your vet if your dog has 2 or more of the following:

  • Behavioral changes.
  • Decreased vision.
  • Panting.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Depression.
  • Weakness and lethargy.
  • Head tilting.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Increased barking.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Seizures. This is the most common early clinical sign of a brain tumor.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.

If you fear that your dog might be a candidate for a brain tumor, ask your vet, he’ll make some blood tests that will show if it is the case.

Brain Tumor Treatments and Expectancies

If the tumor grew unnoticed your dog will need emergency treatment to stop seizures and reduce the brain swelling. The study will include an intravenous catheter to deliver medications such as anticonvulsants and steroids.

With the symptoms under control, you can consider:

Brain Surgery

This procedure will attempt to remove the tumor within the brain. It isn’t always possible and it’ll probably be expensive, as well as it can be dangerous itself. Whether this is possible or not will be decided by a specialist in neurology

This is probably the best choice when accompanied by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. As by itself, it won’t cut the origin of the tumor.

This could extend the dog’s life up to three years.

Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy

The intention with this is to shrink the tumor as much as possible. It will consist of a three-week, five days per week, daily brain irradiation, which will also include anesthetics. By itself, this treatment could add seven months to two years of life.

But if combined with some other treatments, it’s really hope-giving, yet it’s not a definitive solution.

Stereotactic Radiation

One of the latest advancements in this field. It’s essentially radiation therapy, but with more precision in the working area. Focusing only on the tumor and avoiding possible brain damage.

It also is more efficient, which traduces into fewer sessions. One to three being specific. Lastly, it is considerably less invasive, so no anesthetics are needed.

Medical Treatment

This consists of the administration of some drugs and steroids to prevent brain swelling. By this, you could give your dog some comfort while going through this disease. Anyways by itself, medical treatment will only add a couple of months to the life expectancy.

While combining the three of the possible treatments, or just radiation therapy and medical treatment, the life expectancy could be one to two years longer. Adding brain surgery to all these options will surely add three or more years.

It’s important to notice that none of these will likely heal your dog completely, and all of them are experimental. Which means there are high possibilities of side effects.

Brain Tumor Prognosis

Even with all the care and treatments in the world, the prognosis won’t change. At some point, your dog’s brain will stop answering the way it should.

Since a brain tumor will cause nervous system impairment, you have to prepare yourself to say goodbye. Because the kindest option at this moment would be to euthanize.

How Do I Know When to Euthanize

Euthanizing time may vary between affections. For example, a dog with arthritis should be euthanized when he stops having the will to move due to the pain.

So in this case you would like to consider:

  • Worrying weight loss.
  • Incontinence.
  • Pain regardless using analgesics.
  • Lack of will to eat, drink or move.
  • Seizures despite anti-seizure medicaments.

When one or more of these are met, your dog is probably suffering too much.

It surely isn’t an easy choice to make. But the last thing you owe to your dog is making his leave comfortable. Make sure that when the time comes, he is warm, stress-free, and with lots of love around him. 

You surely tried the best for him, and without doubt, gave him a good life. That’s all we can do, give our best to them.