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Dog Brain Tumor: When to Euthanize?

Euthanizing a dog with a brain tumor is a difficult chore since dogs are considered family members. As a result, it is essential to provide your dog with an everyday existence in which he may carry out all of his activities without the need for medical assistance. His typical life is centered on his daily routine, workouts, eating habits, frequent checks, and so on.

Consider euthanizing your dog if he cannot communicate, eat, run, or bark due to severe discomfort in his body.

When to Euthanize a Dog with Brain Tumor?

Many dog owners must decide whether to euthanize their dog suffering from a brain tumor, with or without therapy. Unfortunately, there is no cure, and the sickness frequently worsens to the point where a dog’s quality of life suffers greatly. Even after seeing how harmful a brain tumor may be to a dog, it can be challenging to determine when euthanasia is the right decision. Here are several indicators that it’s time to consider end-of-life care for your dog.

It is best to euthanize your dog when your dog is unable to:

  • Eat
  • Walk
  • Control bladder
  • Control pain
  • Maintain weight 

If a dog gets dementia due to a brain tumor, it may endanger itself. A dog suffering from a brain tumor, for example, may go out into traffic because they are oblivious to the risk. Therefore, if you see a severe decline in your dog’s quality of life, you should always visit a veterinarian regarding euthanasia choices.

Why is the Brain Important in Dogs?

Your dog’s brain is a complicated organ that regulates his thinking, learning, and behaviors. But, like our human brains, it is also responsible for processing and integrating information from around the body.

The brain is a conglomerate of nerve tissue separated into three major sections: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem. Each component performs specific duties, and information is sent into these critical regions, providing commands on rational conduct.

The cerebrum, often known as the cerebral cortex, is the core of the brain. This is in charge of receiving and processing sensory data like vision, hearing, touch, taste, and pain. 

The cerebellum is the second portion of your dog’s brain. That’s in the back of the brain and is connected to the brainstem and cerebral cortex. The cerebellum is the brain area that governs or is primarily responsible for your dog’s voluntary movement and posture. The cerebellum is linked to the cerebral cortex’s sensory-motor region through thalamic relays.

The brainstem is the third region of the brain. This is at the base of the brain and is linked to the spinal cord and cerebellum. The brain stem is divided into the pons and the medulla oblongata. All nerve fibers that leave the brain and go to your dog’s muscles will pass via the brain stem. The medulla oblongata joins the brain to the spinal cord and is located near the base of the brain. It regulates a variety of activities, including your dog’s heart rate and breathing, as well as salivation, coughing, sneezing, and digestive functions. Together with the pons, the medulla oblongata serves as an actual relay location for hearing and balancing information, taste sensations, and motor reflexes. In addition, the pons serves as a conduit for nerve fibers to convey sensory data between the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex.

What is Dog Brain Tumour?

A primary tumor develops within the brain due to abnormal cells and irregular cell division. Tumors can form in the pituitary gland, skull, cranial nerves, and brain envelopes called meninges.

The exact reason is yet to be determined. However, plausible causes suggest that environmental and chemical exposures are harmful. Dietary variables, a weaker immune response, and hereditary concerns all play a role.

What Are the Different Types of Brain Tumours?

Brain tumors are either primary or secondary. Primary tumor is the site of cancer’s initiation within the brain’s somatology and membranes.

Primary tumor includes:

  • Choroid Plexus Papilloma
  • Pituitary Adenoma
  • Meningiomas
  • Glioma Tumour
  • Adenocarcinoma

Secondary brain tumors develop from cancer cells in another body region and spread to the brain via metastasis. Or cancer of the nasal cavity extends from a neighboring non-nervous system tissue and progresses into brain tissue. Secondary brain tumors indicate that the disease has spread all through the body. 

Some of the secondary brain tumors are:

  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Mammary carcinoma
  • Melanoma

What are the Causes of Brain Tumors in Dogs?

The cause of the dog brain tumor is not yet known. However, chemical and environmental toxins may trigger tumors in dogs’ brains. 

What Are the Symptoms of Dog Brain Tumor?

Brain tumors can affect any portion of the brain and create a wide range of disorders.

Symptoms that accompany brain tumors in dogs are:

  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor balance
  • Stupor
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Loss of hearing
  • Decreased vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pacing or circling
  • Headache or neck pain
  • Behavioral changes
  • Weight loss

Seizures in dogs might be the only indicator of a brain tumor. A brain tumor can cause pain by influencing the brain or spinal cord’s pain processing section, inflaming or stretching along the meninges.

How is Brain Tumor in Dogs Diagnosed?

A brain tumor is diagnosed by scanning a mass near or inside the brain axis and checking for lumps caused by infection. MRI features alone are frequently assumed to be adequate for diagnosing a brain tumor. However, infectious tests on the blood or/and spinal fluid and cerebrospinal fluid analysis commonly rule out infection.

Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy may be used to shrink or remove a brain tumor. In addition, steroid treatment, pain medication, and seizure medicine can all control cancer symptoms. However, the conditions may lead to euthanizing your dog. 

How is a Dog Treated with Brain Tumor?

You can treat brain tumors in dogs in the following ways. However, the treatments ease discomfort, as brain tumors are not curable. 

  • Medication: Some brain tumors will react to chemotherapy, even though the brain is complex for these medications to enter.
  • Radiation: Most brain cancers are often treated with radiation. It can deliver therapy to a specific location while remaining unaffected by the rest of the body. However, there is still a danger of causing damage to healthy tissues surrounding the tumor.
  • Surgery: Depending on the size and location of the tumor, certain canine brain tumors may be surgically removed. Following surgery, radiation or chemo is frequently used to eliminate any remaining cancer cells.
  • Palliative: This is the treatment method preferred by most dog owners. It simply helps maintain your dog comfortable for as long as possible without treating cancer itself. Pain relievers, steroids, and anti-seizure drugs are examples of palliative care.

How Fast Brain Tumor Spreads in Dogs?

The spread of the brain tumor will depend on the location of the brain tumor in the dog. Tumors in the brainstem, for instance, can spread quickly if they impair the portion of the brain that regulates respiration, but a minor tumor in the forebrain might lie undetected for months. Most individuals first notice the progression of brain tumors in their pets when their behavior changes. 

What is the Life Expectancy After Diagnosis?

After diagnosis, the lifespan of dogs suffering from brain tumors varies based on the treatment, tumor size, and spread. Treatments may improve your dog’s health. On average, your dog survives for:

  • 2-4 months with supportive care only
  • 6-12 months with surgery
  • 6 months- 3 years with radiation therapy and surgery
  • 7 months- 2 years with only radiation therapy
  • 7-11 months with chemotherapy

Are Some Breeds of Dogs More Prone to Brain Tumor?

Dogs with shorter noses and flatheads, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, and dogs with long heads and noses, such as Collies, are more susceptible to brain tumors. Other breeds  that are more vulnerable are:

  • Terriers 
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Boxer
  • Old English Sheepdog

Conclusion

It is not easy to euthanize your dog, whatever the reason is. However, it is best not to consider the act cruel. You and the veterinarian will decide to euthanize a dog with a brain tumor. The amount and development of symptoms will be determined by the type and location of the brain tumor. You and your doctor will use this to assess your dog’s quality of life. In addition, this will be the factor to determine when and how to euthanize your dog. 

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