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Brain Tumors in Dogs

Brain tumors are not common. They tend to occur in middle-aged and older dogs. The highest incidence is found in the short-nosed breeds that have large-domed heads, including the Boxer, Bulldog, and Boston Terrier. Tumors that can metastasize to the brain include cancers of the mammary glands, prostate, and lungs, as well as hemangiosarcoma.

Symptoms depend on the tumor’s location and rate of growth. Tumors in the cerebrum produce seizures and/or behavioral changes. The dog may exhibit a staggering gait, head tilt, nystagmus (rhythmic movement of the eyeballs), and limb weakness or paralysis. These signs are progressive and continue to worsen. Late signs are stupor and coma.

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Rabies in Dogs

Rabies is a virus that may affect the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including dogs, cats and humans. Though preventable, there is good reason that the word “rabies” evokes fear in people. The disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii, and everywhere throughout the world except for Australia and Antarctica. Annually, rabies causes the deaths of more than 50,000 humans and millions of animals worldwide. Once symptoms appear, the disease results in fatality.

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A brain abscess is a collection of pus in or around the brain. The signs are similar to those of a brain tumor. These dogs will often have a fever. There may be a prior infection in the oral cavity, inner ear, or respiratory tract.

Treatment: The diagnosis of tumor or abscess is made by neurological examination and special tests, including EEG, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and CAT scan or MRI. Surgical removal of benign brain tumors may be possible in some cases. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have not proven to be effective against most brain tumors in dogs. There may be temporary improvement with corticosteroids and anticonvulsants.

Abscesses are treated with high doses of antibiotics. Corticosteroids are usually contraindicated. The outlook for recovery is guarded.

 

 

 

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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