Each dog will develop tumors at a different rate, depending on several factors. The progression of a brain tumor can vary greatly depending on the type and location of the tumor, it is still important to know how fast tumors can progress.
What is the progression timeline of a dog with a brain tumor?
At first, your dog might show signs of exhaustion or even depression. He may have trouble standing up or walking and he may seem to tire more easily than usual. He also might have changes in behavior such as becoming anxious and disoriented. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to visit a veterinarian immediately.
Most dogs will not show any signs of the brain tumor until it reaches its advanced stages. Dogs that have a brain tumor that has reached its later stages may exhibit symptoms such as:
- Changes in behavior
- Loss of coordination and strength
- Unusual crying or whining
- Seizure activity
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weakness in hindquarters, difficulty lifting hindquarters to urinate or defecate
- Head tilt (dog tilts head to one side)
The end stages of a brain tumor typically involve daily seizures, head pressing (pushing or rubbing the head into objects), sudden behavioral changes like fear or aggression, increased weight loss and disorientation.
Each type of tumor has its own progression timeline. As they grow, they affect different parts of the brain and result in different symptoms.
How long do dogs with brain tumors live?
The life expectancy of dogs with a brain tumor varies depending on the size of the tumor and how advanced it is. The average life expectancy for dogs with a brain tumor without treatment is 3-6 months, but with treatment, it may be extended by 8-12 months.
Treatments are highly individualized based on tumor location, size, and general health. Medical care may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these.
The primary goal of treatment is to keep your dog comfortable and give him the best quality of life possible.
When is it time to put a dog down with a brain tumor?
Time is precious when it comes to dogs with cancer. The best dog cancer treatments are not always the most aggressive ones. This can especially be true when treating a brain tumor in dogs.
Treatment can prolong life but also cause pain and suffering. If your dog is suffering seizures due to brain cancer it may be time to consider putting them down if the seizures cannot be controlled.
You should also consider putting your pet down if they are in mental distress or pain even with medication. The most important thing you can do for a dog in this state is to not prolong their suffering.
Some dog owners may wish to pursue additional treatment options even if the prognosis is poor. However, you should always make the decision that is best for your dog. Although a dog might have a long lifespan with cancer, quality of life is more important than quantity at the end of their life.
If your dog shows signs that their quality of life is being diminished due to their brain tumor it may be time for you to consider euthanasia even if treatment options are available. Your veterinarian can help you through this difficult time.
How do you comfort a dog with a brain tumor?
If your beloved pet has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, you’re probably wondering how to comfort your dog during this difficult time. While there isn’t a cure for brain tumors in dogs, medications can help to slow down their progression. A variety of prescription diets are available for dogs that have tumors or other neurological disorders, and these may be recommended by your veterinarian.
Here are some tips for comforting your dog during this difficult time:
Consistency with medications. It’s important to give your dog the same doses of medication at the same times each day to ensure that they’re getting the right amount of medication. Check with your vet to see if any changes need to be made to the dosage, and ask whether it’s okay to continue giving your dog a medication that was prescribed by another vet.
Treats and toys. Keep plenty of treats and toys on hand so that you can reward good behavior whenever you see it. Your dog will appreciate having a few special things available when they have trouble feeling well. Dogs tend to be less interested in food when they’re not feeling well, so make sure you provide enough treats so that they don’t lose too much weight during treatment.
Dietary changes can help reduce inflammation and support brain function. Some diets are designed specifically for dogs with cancer, while others that contain antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may also be beneficial. Since certain foods can cause stomach upset in some dogs with cancer, ask your vet if there are any foods that should be avoided.
Adjusting lighting levels in your home can help prevent discomfort from headaches and nausea that some dogs experience from tumor growth on the brain stem.
Treatments such as steroids can help reduce inflammation and swelling of the brain, which may alleviate symptoms such as confusion or aggression. Anti-seizure medications can help reduce seizures caused by brain tumors.
Your vet may prescribe a course of radiation or chemotherapy to slow tumor growth or relieve symptoms. Sometimes this can also be used in palliative care. If the treatment is successful, you’ll need to continue treatment long-term to keep tumors at bay.