Hollywood FL’s Top Vet Explains Why Brain Tumors in Cats and Dogs are So Challenging to Treat
While brain tumors occur in both dogs and cats, particularly those over 5 years old, tumors are more common in dogs with some breeds, boxer, Boston terrier and golden retrievers actually being predisposed to the disease.
Brain tumors in both species are identified as primary or secondary. Primary tumors are those where the tumor originated within the brain or its membrane and include meningioma, glioma, choroid plexus papilloma, and pituitary adenoma or adenocarcinoma. Secondary tumors are caused by cancer that has metastasized to the brain from some other area in the pet’s body. Examples of secondary tumors include hemangiosarcoma, mammary carcinoma, and melanoma. Unfortunately, these tumors have a very poor prognosis because they’ve already spread through the body.
Symptoms and Treatments for Dog and Cat Brain Tumors
Symptoms associated with brain tumors in both cats and dogs are caused by pressure exerted by the cancer mass on the brain. Symptoms may vary depending on what part of the brain the mass is affecting. Symptoms are typically progressive and get more pronounced as the size of the tumor increases but not always.
Symptoms that are common in both dogs and cats include:
- Decline in mental alertness
- “Drunk” gait
- Head pressing
- Going in circles
- Loss of vision in one eye
- Increased vocalization by cats and less purring
- Loss of appetite but increase in thirst
The most effective treatment is removal of the entire tumor by surgery but unfortunately that is rarely possible. Of course in the case of secondary tumors, removing the brain tumor does nothing to mitigate the effects of the other cancers in the body.
Chemotherapy is an option for some types of cancer providing the pet is healthy enough to survive the general anesthesia required to administer it. Radiation is another option that can be used to slow the growth of the tumor but is rarely able to eradicate it.
Controlling symptoms is a common approach to dealing with brain tumors and there are a number of options to relieve the pressure on the pet’s brain. At the end of the day, pet brain tumors can be treated but rarely completely cured.
If you have questions about pet brain tumors we encourage you to contact Hollywood’s favorite veterinary hospital DPC today!