Skip to comments.Has anyone had a dog with a brain tumor?
Posted on 07/14/2010 12:47:36 AM PDT by Judith Anne
I have two dogs, a mastiff, and a minpin. The minpin is 14 years old, blind, and has been officially diagnosed with a brain tumor accompanied by epilepsy about 7 months ago, although the epilepsy started before that, and a brain tumor was suspected.
It's not as bad as it sounds, for her. She started having seizures about once a month, and the vet said they would increase in frequency. Due to her age, no treatment was judged likely to help much, for very long. He said her lifespan would depend on how fast it grew, and how well she tolerated the changes. She's been doing very well until July 4, when she suddenly went blind.
The seizures have become more frequent, about twice a week, but they've gotten milder. I pick her up and take her outside about 4 times a day, and she is able to find and eat her food and drink water in her crate with no problem. I keep her in her crate most of the time now, because she seems happy there, or on my lap, and to keep her safe from being hurt during a seizure. The seizure meds don't help.
I'm not explaining this very well, I hope it's clear enough. Anyway, she's been with me since she was a pup, and since she is not suffering I can't bring myself to have her put down. I've decided to take care of her until she goes.
This is a dainty and beautiful tiny dog. She "mothered" the mastiff when we brought him home 6 1/2 years ago; she has been a faithful little shadow to me, all her life.
She has "accidents" now, but it's no fuss to clean up, I have several cushions I rotate through the laundry, and usually manage to get her outdoors often enough.
The problem now is some odd behavior: She has been vigorously digging in her pillows, sometimes for an hour at a time, about three times a day. She's too weak and small to damage the pillows; but it's surprisingly noisy, esp at night. I have told her to stop, and for a second or two, she does. Then starts up again. She also walks in tight circles for 10-15 minutes at a time. Plus, she has totally stopped barking, which is uncharacteristic for her.
I am assuming that these are behaviors related to the tumor; could these behaviors be a type of seizure? The meds we tried completely knocked her out, or didn't work at all.
Again, she doesn't seem to be in pain, still eats and goes to the BR outside, except for more frequent accidents.
Is it time? Any suggestions? I'm willing to keep her with me until she goes, but I do not want to make her suffer...
My parents had a dog that had frequent seizures. Interestingly, it always knew when it was about to have a seizure, so my mother knew when to hold onto it. I’m not sure but I think they said it was liver cancer. They had the dog put down eventually because it was either a matter of seeing it in pain all the time or just speeding up the inevitable.
I sent you a PM.
Now for the hard part. At the end I couldn't bear the thought of my doggies being alone at the final end with a stranger. At least please let somebody they know be there with the vet. It's something you or they will never want to do again but will hurt forever if they missed.
Yes, I don’t want my dog to suffer. She actually seems fine 90 percent of the time, and does not seem to have pain; no panting, no whining, she does tremble a lot, though.
When I take her to the vet for the last time, I will hold her in my arms and tell her what a good girl she is, over and over, as she goes.
I’ve done this once before for an aged, blind, deaf dog we rescued, who was with us for nearly 5 years.
I would never let my dog go without me holding her.
I’m actually praying she’ll go in her sleep, here at home on her soft cushion.
I would say let the dog go eventually on your terms. They’re always loyal to us, and they trust us; dogs will give their lives to save their masters from things like fires, enemies, and so forth. The hardest part about owning a dog is knowing we will outlive them. But I can’t decide for you.
It's about quality of life, not suffering as in "pain". It is very obvious you love your dog very much and have given her the very best life possible. Now it is time to do what is right for the animal. Perhaps you have a vet service which will come to your home and perform the euthanasia where she is most at ease and while you hold her. It is one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do but it is also the right thing to do and you will, in the end not regret having it done.
Thanks to both of you so much. Since there’s no emergency, and not likely to be one, I think I will put off the decision for a couple of weeks. My son and his family will be visiting, and I won’t have to drive that way. We all love the little dickens.
Something cute: both the dogs, the mastiff and the minpin, both love ham hocks for an occasional treat. The mastiff gets very annoyed with the minpin, because his ham hock lasts about 5 minutes, hers lasts a week. He constantly checks the crate to see if it’s still there. She ignores him completely, but buries her treat (very heavy for a little thing like her) in the pillows where he cannot see it.
“Hello. I work as a full time vet tech and I have seen several cases like yours.
First of all this could mean a middle ear infection. Animals will get out of balance and constantly turn to one side..often times in circles. Are the circles the dog is making all in the same direction?
Could also be the result of a stroke or dementia. This can cause them to lose equilibrium. You should definitely see a vet for this problem.
The other poster is right...it could be anxiety but spinning in circles randomly for 30 minutes most likely isn’t anxiety especially if you haven’t seen this problem before.
If you have any other info on what she is doing and what happened before this started I may be able to give you some more specific advice.”
Just from me: I noticed that when my dogs were getting ready to leave, they slept a lot more and liked to be alone. It was almost as if by becoming more aloof, they were preparing us. If a stroke is involved, organ failure might not be too far behind. If she’s having seizures and the meds don’t work, I might be inclined to keep her from having to go through more seizures, although I am also inclined to wait and see if she can still enjoy life enough. It’s hard to do, deciding when. You and your beloved pet are in my prayers.
Thank you so much for your help. She is in good health, except for the brain tumor. It is gradually taking away her abilities. Her ears are fine, no infection. She sees the vet twice a year, just went a month ago. No heartworms, skin and coat in good condition, teeth good, just, seizures and blindness.
I was thinking the new behaviors, this past two weeks, were likely due to the tumor. Vet said brain tumors are not unusual in minpins.
10 years ago, Our little dog had similar, first blindness vet said don’t worry she’ll still get around pretty good.And she did and still seemed happy and playful and healthy.Then weakness in her back legs, first assumed to be arthritis, then a few months later a mild seizure and then a big one that ended similar to a stroke. She couldn’t walk and was yelping hysterically, she couldn’t feed herself. It was the weekend and there was no way to have her put to sleep.We thought she was dying and dug a grave. She was sleeping and would wake up and yelp. But by morning she stabilized and my father fed her some yogurt. The yogurt gave her strength and the next thing you know she was trying to walk. At first the back legs didn’t work, but with his guidance she started walking again, eating heartily, acting happy and playful and we decided if she was that determined we would postpone putting her to sleep. She lived happily and playfully another three months, then one morning she had a big seizure and passed away. She was seventeen
She seemed to enjoy her last days and lived with as much enthusiam as she did when she was healthy and young. I’m glad we allowed her to remain those last three months instead of putting her down.We were told seizures were common in very elderly dogs.
She’s a smart cookie. : )
Forgot to say, one of the breeds used to create minpins is the dachshund, so her bed digging may simply be practicing hole-digging for vermin.
Thank you VERY much. When the kids were visiting over the fourth, among other things they dug a nice deep grave for her, because she was suddenly blind, and not drinking water for a day.
She, too, perked up, and although she’s not very active, she does eat and drink and respond to her name, and pretend to bite when I tickle her ears...she’s never actually bitten anyone.
Put her down. she is suffering in ways that you can’t imagine, IMO. I know it is hard, they become very close to a person and it breaks your heart when they die.
Dachshund and terrier, yes. And boy, are they a delicate and beautiful little dog!
The digging is a brand new thing, but the tumor could be invading some instinctive part of her brain that triggers the behavior...
That is my worst fear...if I were sure that was true...
I personally haven’t had to face that yet, but my dog is 15 1/2, and I know the day will come. My mom and I recently got into an argument because I said I didn’t have it in me to have my girl put to sleep if something happened. She would have to be in an immense amount of suffering because otherwise, there is no way I could put her in the car and drive her to her death. I only hope that God takes her for me.
If I were you, I’d wait and see. See if there is anything to keep her comfortable. If she’s suffering badly, then you have to make the decision.
Well, I’m praying she goes in her sleep. Prayers for you and your pup...
Yes, they are, very dainty for all their resemblance to a the doberman pinscher! Both breeds are elegant in form, if not also a little intimidating when they want to be.
I’m so sorry about your friends and pets. I’m not a veterinarian, but I think the trembling may indicate pain. I have watched two people waiting, trying to stay alive until a loved on arrived on their flight. Though they were in tremendous pain, the held on by sheer will power. All through their waits, they trembled. I am crying as I write this. Please understand your pets loved you—I ask you not to let them go through pain because of indecision.
I have decided. As long as she is eating, I’ll wait a couple of weeks for my son and daughter in law so they can drive us to the vet. She doesn’t tremble in her crate (except during a seizure), I think that’s because she feels safe to move around even though she cannot see, she knows where everything is, food, water, pillows, door, etc. It’s a huge crate, I didn’t use it much at all until she went blind last weekend.
Judith Anne, I know you and I have had our differences on the RF, but I nursed my dog, 14 years old also, while he had cancer, up to his death in October, 2007, so I have some notion of what you’re going through. I couldn’t put him down, he loved me so and I him. He was happy and comfortable, I made sure of that, and it wasn’t the cancer that ultimately caused his death.
There are things you can do to slow the growth of tumors that aren’t that expensive. The tumor probably isn’t a glioma, it’s coming on too slowly for that, imho. Anti-inflammatories will probably help. There are numerous possibilities. I used Metacam at a higher, “off label” dosage under the supervision of a sympathetic vet. Metacam is an NSAID, (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), and can work wonders for pain and inflammation.
Caution is in order, though. Some small percentage of dogs do not react well to Metacam, there is a risk and the first day it’s used needs to be set aside for observation of the dog. If anything untoward appears to be happening, especially blood in the urine or stool, treatment needs to be ceased immediately and get to the vet right away. You’ll need to be watchful for this for the duration of treatment. Do take the warnings on the label seriously, they’re dead serious, and under no circumstances should you use any other NSAID or aspirin in combination, it’s fatal. But, it did help my boy, helped keep him happy and comfortable.
An holistic vet familiar with herbal treatments and accupuncture (don’t laugh, it was very helpful for mobility with mine, and cheap, $25 per treatment) would be a good thing to seek out. Herbal anti-inflammatories can be used in conjunction with NSAIDs whereas no other NSAID or even aspirin can be used together. You’d be surprised what is beneficial, and you’d be surprised how advanced the Chinese have been with this for a very long time.
A gradual change in diet (with an older dog, very gradual) can be another godsend. I chose Innova Evo, canned. He loved it, his coat came in so shiny, his eyes bright. That was just my choice, there are many others out there, or you can even cook your own, but get the grain out of the diet, only leaving brown rice if grain needs to be included. The thought is that high protien is the way to go, with carbs “feeding” the growth.
Good luck with seeing your baby through on God’s time, I know the bittersweet ordeal myself. It just didn’t seem to be my decision to make, and I couldn’t violate the trust he had in me. He passed away at the only home he ever knew with his head in my lap.
I still miss him, always will. If you’d care to FReepmail me, I can share some links and such.
I don’t care about our differences at a time like this.
FYI, I’ve been giving her raw beef cut up in tiny pieces or fresh raw hamburger three times a day, she LOVES it, plus her treats. She likes to drag a ham hock around her crate until it is nearly gone, and she has one now, buried under the pillows where the mastiff can smell it, but not see it. I cut her raw meat into tiny pieces because she almost choked on a larger piece one time.
Outside, she stands and trembles until her business is done; won’t walk anywhere in the grass due to being blind I guess. In her crate, she’ll move around because it’s familiar territory, and she doesn’t tremble then except during a seizure.
Reg, I’m praying she goes in her sleep before my family comes in a couple of weeks. I’ll post it on this thread if she does.
The two dogs have actually saved my life, twice. My husband died of cancer here at home in 2007, the dogs grieved with me, but still needed to be fed, walked, let in and out, petted, groomed, etc. They literally kept me going while I was crazed with grief. Then, after my heart attack, I stayed with my son and his family for a while, and he brought the dogs into their home; I had to walk them, clean up after them, groom them, feed them, etc. My son said if anything happened to me, he’d give them away to a good home. I was horrified, and determined to recover. No one could appreciate them the way I do!
Thanks for telling me how you managed things with a beloved dog. What a bond they weave into our lives...little strings attached to our hearts...
My wildly beloved old Minny went through similar symptoms in 1997 and eventually died from it 8 years ago and no one ever knew what it was.
The diagnoses ran from strokes, epilepsy, brain tumors and everything else under the sun.
Turned out to be undiagnosed/untreated Lyme disease [aka “The Great Mimic”] which was unheard of here at the time but *rampant* where she’d been born in 1989...NJ.
She passed away in 2002 after a cortisone shot for her alleged “stroke” completely crashed her immune system, allowing the Lyme to finally overwhelm her.
Less than a year later, her 4 year old nephew [born and lived in the swamps of SC until he was 6 months old] had the exact same symptoms and the new vet immediately tested him for Lyme...and he was positive.
Two months on Doxycline ended it and he’s been fine as frog hair for the last 9 years.
How was the “brain tumor” diagnosed?
Lyme can cause ‘cysts’, scarring and inflammation in the brain that *could* appear as a tumor.
I’m just throwing this out here in hopes of helping your baby.
Whatever it is, I will pray for you all and my thoughts are with you.
My pomeranian died last month after turning 16. Not to elaborate on his condition,but he grew progressively worse over a week’s time. The problem was, due to the trauma he suffered on his last vet’s visit, and his heart and lung condition,another visit would likely have killed him. On this,the vet and I were agreed. So for over a year,no vet’s visits. We fed him prescription dog food, and he acted pretty normal during this period. We couldn’t lift him any longer, because that was too painful for him. He couldn’t be lured into his pet cage either. Should we try take him to the vet,knowing this would hurt him? Well,Monday morning June 7 we found dead on the living room floor in a sleep position. So, I had to handle my own dead dog in order to take him to the vet for disposal. This was something I had braced myself for,99% certain for sometime he would die at home, but still it was hard to do. At least,he died in his sleep,and we gave him the home he might not have had.
The vet (a very nice young lady) looked in her eyes, said she needed an x-ray, it was seen then. When the seizures first started, she said that was the likeliest cause at her age. She’s never been tested for lyme, I could get that done, couldn’t hurt. But she does have a brain tumor, it’s a mass, and not round.
Thanks thanks thanks everyone, so very much. The kids don’t like to see me emotional, so I don’t talk with them about her much.
It really helps to hear other people’s stories; I don’t mean to be macabre, just knowing how other people got through it, ideas for helping her, facing the end with other people who understand, means so much to me.
.....Is it time? Any suggestions? I'm willing to keep her with me until she goes, but I do not want to make her suffer...
This is just my experience. When my dog was 16 years old, outside he would walk in circles, they would get tighter and tighter. At times I'd interrupt him so he would change directions or I would walk inside his circle in such a way that would force him to walk in a better straighter line. There were times when in the house he'd go into the bathroom and get stuck beside the toilet and wall. I'm not sure why he'd do this but someone else with an older dog told me that her dog did this too, kinda walk into a corner and just stay there.
As to the stopping barking, maybe there's something wrong with her throat. I was always convinced that there was something wrong with my dog's throat. The vet ignored that no matter how many times I begged her to check it. Vet said that maybe he just didn't have the need, or want to bark. One night he got stuck on some boxes in a back room. A strange sound woke me up. I don't know how I could possibly have heard that sound considering the distance the was from me and the sound was not loud. Turns out that that sound was him barking. I gathered he had lost his vocal chords.
Maybe your dog is in a stage of life where she feels she no longer needs to bark. That she's on retirement and the other dog should take up the barking... like passing the baton.
As to the digging at pillows, I'd say let her do it. I'd consider that as her getting exercise. Older people develop strange habits, no reason a dog shouldn't also. Also, as older people go back to their childhood, she may be thinking she's back at being a puppy and is digging for voles in the garden. Just make sure she has no chance of hurting herself while she's doing it. I'm not sure how digging at pillows can be loud, maybe give her towels to dig at?
Indoor accidents happen. For my dog who weak as he was refused to wear a diaper, I made him a bathroom section in the living room. Thick plastic placed on the floor, covered that with cardboard and topped that with wee wee pads. I bought wee wee pads by the case and changed the ones that were soiled. When my dog was no longer to get up by himself, I'd help him up every four hours and lead him to this spot. I didn't want him to suffer from UTI.
Is it time? Only you will know. Your dog will let you know. You'll just know. I don't know how to explain this. It's a gut feeling. My dog passed away in my arms, at home.
Love your dog, talk to her, remind her of the fun times and other pets and people she knew. Watch her reactions, you'll be quite surprised. Ask her what she wants, explain things to her. I did this with my dog. I received most of the answers through my dreams or had "gut" feeling answers. I felt I got to know my dog best through the last six months of his life.
What’s really odd (and kind of funny, too!) is that the kids just had a family conference with me, and they have decided I’ll go live with my son, daughter in law and grandkids for the winter. Nobody wants me on my own in the country for another winter. So, I’m losing my independence for the winter at least, plus my dog. Heck, darn, rats, shoot, nuts!
They’re afraid I will pass away, and the mastiff will eat me, LOL! I said, if I do, I won’t care if he does. But daughter said it would be hard to find a good home for him after that...she was joking, but they were also serious. Them digging the grave for the minpin was kind of symbolic, in a way.
I had a brain tumor. I can tell you what it’s like.
Among other things, they cause headaches. One of which lasted for almost 3 months non-stop. Every second for almost 3 months. It hurt, and I suffered for a very long time, almost 2 years. (Long story.)
I had my old Mickey dog put down many years ago. She was a Border Collie mix that I had gotten as a small pup. She lived to be 14 1/2. She was my BEST FRIEND.
I drove her to the vet, myself, and held her while she was put to sleep. It was the one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure in my life. (I had my support group follow me there though.)
Mickey wasn’t on her death bed. Over the last 6 months of her life, her health declined. She went mostly blind. She needed help getting up and down the porch steps. She couldn’t hold her poop in (would just fall out where she slept). She would get “lost” right there in the house and bark for my help.
She wasn’t in severe pain or on her death bed.
**She had NO QUALITY OF LIFE anymore though.**
I loved my dog enough to spare her from her mere existence, hard as it was.
After going through my own health problems years later, I can only say that what I did for my old Mickey dog was true love. There’s a huge difference between living and existing.
p.s. I took Mickey to the GA mountains (where we used to live) for a fun-filled weekend, and I fed her moon pies and Big Macs, something she was never allowed to eat before. On the way to the vet I pulled over, shaking and choked up so bad I could barely breathe, and asked how I could drive my best friend to be killed. But I looked at my dog, my best friend, and I knew that waiting would not make her life better, only worse. It was hard, but it was the right thing to do.
p.p.s. My tumor was removed 9 years ago. I have only existed since then, not lived. It’s been no life, just misery. I look forward to my day of “release”.
I did play with her for a good while this evening, our game of me hiding hamburger in my hand, and her going after it until she “wins.” In the crate, I do have puppy pads, but she usually pees on the pillow, so I have several I rotate through the laundry.
I like your ideas. She quit barking when she went blind last weekend. I didn’t notice right away that she was silent...she seems to feel safe in the crate (it’s really large) and gets around okay in there, knows where everything is. The mastiff almost never barks, he’ll growl if there’s a strange car in the drive, but only barks for the grandkids or a stray dog outside. He does “talk,” though.
I’m so sorry.
I truly hope things go as easily as possible for you all, considering....:(
My heart just breaks for you. Hugging you in prayers.
Isn't that the truth.
Well, thanks, but I’m generally ok. I get a bit worked up on the Relgion Forum, but hey! Don’t we all.
I am so very sorry for your pain.
I will light a candle for you this morning.
I just lost my favorite Siamese cat Memorial Day Weekend.
He had a horrible cancerous tumor growing in his mouth, and when it broke open and started bleeding, I knew time was short.
When they stop eating, that seems to be the time...
I fall apart over dog stories.
FWIW, I’m still grieving for a Dobermann who died in 1984 and Minny who died in 2002.
Am I crazy?
Probably...but they were both suddenly and “impossibly” sent to me when God knew I needed them most.
They both saved me when everything in my life made it not worth living, anymore.
It’s extremely hard to lose the only things who kept you going when you really had no reason to go on.
And so, that’s why I’ll always have dogs.
They may think they need me but the truth is that I need them.
You’re doing a lot better with your situation than I did...I admire you for that.
Thank you so much. I love Siamese, they are brilliant...my fawn mastiff has pretty much siamese coloring, except light tan feet and tail.
No. You are NOT crazy. Dogs are healthy to have as companions: they are protection, even the small ones can alert us to danger; they are huggable, and we all need hugs, big time; they are uncritical, and that’s good for us psychologically; they are funny, they will study us and think of the goofiest things to do; and they teach us, because if we all loved God the way our dogs love us, we would be saints.
I love dogs, almost all of them. I’ve only met a couple of bad dogs in my whole life.
Your story hit home. I had a 13 1/2 yr old border collie, and know how bad it is. To the original poster: I waited (different type of cancer). In the end, I am glad I did, but it’s all a roll of the dice. It’s so hard to tell if they are suffering, and dogs can show amazing resiliency.
I wish I had some words of advice. All I know is this: my dog died in my arms. That matters more than anything else. Either way you decide, make sure that you are with him when he goes. But I’m sure you know this.
I wish you the best.
I highly recommend Lugol’s iodine. you can buy it at jcrows on line.
Start by giving him a drop every day (in alittle broth or something like it) and increase to 2 drops/day. Iodine is a hugely important mineral that we are all very deficient. It promotes apoptosis which is the natural death of cells. The reason cancer flourishes is because the cells won’t die.
We ALL need iodine; way more than the US RDA.
Couldn’t hurt, at this point. She’ll drink it in her water, I’m certain.
Thank you so much. She WILL die in my arms, unless she goes in her sleep
See that she does
He came right out to the house and put Toby down.
They gave him a muscle relaxant that made him sleepy, prior to the final injection.
One suggestion,try to hold yourself together in the final minutes. Tell your pup, what a wonderful companion he has been.
My buddy Sammy died in January from a brain tumor. We learned of it first in November when he started having seizures. The days in between were tough with the weight loss, odd behavior at times, bath room breaks in the house. But I am so glad that he could come home for a while and be with us, and we could take a few more walks together.
When the time comes, you will know.
I loved that dog and it broke my heart when he was gone.
Post #16 says is best.
Put her down. she is suffering in ways that you cant imagine, IMO. I know it is hard, they become very close to a person and it breaks your heart when they die.
I know this sounds strange, but they will look at you as to say, “it is time for me to go”. You don’t want to see her suffer anymore than she already is.
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