It is not easy to watch your beloved pet suffering from a brain tumor. You may have gone through an emotional roller coaster before finally making the decision to euthanize your dog. When is the right time to euthanize a dog with a brain tumor?
How long can a dog live with a brain tumor without treatment?
Brain tumors typically advance quickly, so the prognosis is poor. Without treatment, the average life expectancy for a dog with a brain tumor is 6 months. Even with treatment, this may only be extended by 8-12 months.
Most treatment for brain tumors is geared toward managing symptoms and keeping the dog comfortable, so they are not suffering.
When to euthanize a dog with brain tumor
A dog with a brain tumor can be difficult to treat and manage, so most vets will recommend euthanasia over continuing treatment. But you should be aware of the signs that indicate it’s time to consider ending your dog’s life.
- Wandering or restlessness
- Trouble eating or drinking
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Change in personality or temperament
- Lack of coordination (for example, walking into things)
- Repeated head pressing or circling
- Inability to walk (staggering)
What is the progression timeline of a canine brain tumor?
The early stages of a brain tumor may be as simple as your dog seeming to tire quicker than normal during walks or sleeping longer. Other symptoms may include changes in behavior, change in appetite, and panting.
As cancer progresses, other symptoms will begin to emerge, such as head tilting, poor coordination, and circling or disorientation.
Later stages of a brain tumor will cause more serious symptoms like seizures, loss of vision, and nystagmus (rapid eye movement).
The end stages of a brain tumor usually involve daily seizures, head pressing, sudden behavioral changes like fear or aggression, increased weight loss, and disorientation.
How can I help my dog with a brain tumor?
Pain management is always the first step. Most likely, your veterinarian will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to try and reduce swelling, along with opioids to control pain.
If the tumors are operable and can be fully removed, surgery is an option. There are always risks with surgical procedures so talk through the process with your vet.
In the case of brain cancer that has spread, surgery will not be suitable, but your vet may suggest chemotherapy. This treatment targets the cancer cells and can slow the progression of the disease. Some dogs may also see a reduction in tumor size following chemotherapy. As with any treatment, success is never guaranteed and chemotherapy is not a cure. It simply aims to slow cancer’s growth and give your dog more time.
Radiation may be offered, however, there are drawbacks to this treatment. As well as attacking cancer cells, radiation can also cause damage to healthy tissue. Small, regular doses are common with radiation treatment to try and prevent this.
For dogs whose cancer is advanced or if the owner chooses not to take offers of treatment, there is always palliative care. These therapies help to reduce any discomfort your dog may be experiencing so that they can pass as peacefully and comfortably as possible.
My dog has brain tumor and I have no money
If you have a dog with a brain tumor, you may wonder what financial assistance options are available. Here are some resources that may be helpful to you.
While many veterinarians do not offer direct financial assistance to their clients, they might be able to point you in the direction of organizations that assist families in need. You can also search for local charitable organizations in your community or even national organizations that provide grants for pets with cancer.
Local humane societies or animal rescue groups
Your local humane society or animal rescue group may offer financial assistance: This is less likely if your dog is not in their program, but it’s still worth asking just in case. You never know what kind of help might be available!
Your local community or government entities
Some communities offer financial assistance for pet owners living below certain income thresholds (usually around $30,000). The application process varies by state and municipality so it’s best to check with your state’s department of health services first before applying anywhere else.
Animal Cancer Foundation
They grant loans up to $5,000 for pet owners with limited resources whose pets have cancer. The loan may be used towards the partial or full payment of cancer treatments and medications. The average loan amount requested is $3,000. If you are interested in applying for a loan, you need to fill out an application form and send it back to them with the required attachments (vet records). For more information on the Animal Cancer Foundation, please visit their website at www.acfoundation.org or call them at 516-858-4960.
The Pet Fund
The Pet Fund is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit association that provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need urgent veterinary care.
Vet Cancer Society
The Vet Cancer Society has many resources for pet owners. If you Google “financial assistance for dogs with brain tumors” or something similar, you’ll find lots of pages that have been put together by people who have dogs with cancer.
Some veterinary hospitals offer payment plans for pet owners who cannot afford to pay for the entire cost of treatment upfront. After discussing your plan options and qualifying, you can begin treatment right away. We also encourage pet parents to check with their own community veterinarians as they may have additional payment options available as well.
You can also get a card from CareCredit, a credit card designed specifically for pet owners needing emergency vet care, or other similar services offered by pet clinics or hospitals. You could be approved for up to $10,000 if you qualify, but it’s important to make sure you’ll be able to pay it back on time. They offer low monthly payments and no interest if paid within 12 months.
Please note: This list is maintained for informational purposes only. We cannot guarantee that these organizations will provide financial assistance in all cases.
What are the signs of a brain tumor in a dog?
Dogs can develop many of the same cancers that humans do. Things include cancer of the brain. Although older dogs have a higher risk of having this disease, it can occur in younger dogs.
Unfortunately, symptoms of a brain tumor are also commonly seen in simple conditions like infections. This means that diagnosis may be delayed and the tumors will have progressed further.
Symptoms of brain cancer include:
- Loss of balance
- Loss of vision
- Changes in behavior
- Tilting the head (a sign of pain)
- Pain in the neck
Other signs may include weight loss, changes in eating and drinking habits or persistent cough. Since these symptoms are common to many different illnesses, it can be difficult to diagnose brain cancer early on.
Is panting a sign of brain tumor in dogs?
Excessive panting is a common symptom associated with brain tumors. The simple reason is that the dog is experiencing pain and panting can help to alleviate some of the discomforts.
Depending on where the cancer has spread, the dog may also be having difficulty breathing. Drooling may also occur in addition to excessive panting.
What does prednisone do for dogs with cancer?
Prednisone is a corticosteroid – an anti-inflammatory steroid medication – that is used to treat pain and swelling. It works by mimicking natural hormones produced by the dog’s immune system.
Prednisone is used to prevent the body’s inflammatory response and to reduce the reactivity of the immune system, which can make the symptoms of cancer worse.
This medication is most commonly used in conjunction with surgery or chemotherapy, but it is also used as part of the end stage care when there are no further treatment options to explore.
As well as easing the symptoms of cancer, prednisone can also increase a dog’s appetite. This helps to reduce weight loss caused by the brain tumor and keep the dog fitter for longer.
Perhaps most importantly, prednisone can help to slow the spread of the cancer to other areas of the body. This is known as metastasis. The immune system can overreact, allowing cancer cells to travel from the brain to other organs.
Prednisone inhibits the immune system, making metastasis less likely. Additionally, this medication can help to stimulate red blood cell production and reduce anemia.
Conclusion of brain tumor in dogs
You can watch for signs that the tumor’s progression is affecting your dog’s quality of life. If the dog seems to be in pain, is having seizures, or is losing her appetite, it may be time to put her down. Brain tumors are generally treated with surgery and radiation. Your vet can tell you if these treatments are viable options for your dog.
What you should remember is that there are a lot of variabilities when it comes to brain tumors. Some are benign and some are malignant. Some have a great prognosis and others are almost always fatal. You can find a lot of information on the internet about the type of tumor your dog has, but this can be overwhelming. Talking to your veterinarian about your dog’s specific case will give you a better idea about what you should expect and how long your dog may have left.
No one wants to put their dog down, but sometimes it’s in the animal’s best interests. If your dog is dying or suffering from an incurable illness, you may decide to euthanize him or her. It’s important to consider the welfare of the animal rather than holding on for your own sake.
Your veterinarian can help you decide if euthanizing your dog is the right decision for both you and your pet. There are many factors to consider when deciding how much time is left for your pet, as well as how they are coping with their illness or injury. The most important thing is that you make this decision with compassion and love for all involved parties, including yourself!