August 29, 2014
Brain tumours and abscesses in dogs

Brain tumours are not common. They tend to occur in middle-aged and older dogs. The highest incidence is found in the short-nosed breeds that have large-domed heads, including the Boxer, Bulldog, and Boston Terrier. Tumours that can metastasize to the brain include cancers of the mammary glands, prostate, and lungs, as well as hemangiosarcoma.{{more}}

Symptoms depend on the tumour’s location and rate of growth. Tumours in the cerebrum produce seizures and/or behavioural changes. The dog may exhibit a staggering gait, head tilt, nystagmus (rhythmic movement of the eyeballs), and limb weakness or paralysis. These signs are progressive and continue to worsen. Late signs are stupor and coma.

Brain abscesses are focal accumulations of pus in the central nervous system (CNS), with clinical signs of a rapidly progressive mass lesion, often with necrosis and edema of the adjacent neural tissue. They are relatively uncommon in dogs and cats. The signs are similar to those of a brain tumour. These dogs will often have a fever. There may be a prior infection in the oral cavity, inner ear, or respiratory tract.

The most common locations are the cerebellum, due to a direct extension from an ear infection, and the frontal lobe of the cerebrum, as a direct extension from a chronic sinusitis.

Treatment: surgical removal of benign brain tumours may be possible in some cases. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have not proven to be effective against most brain tumours in dogs. There may be temporary improvement with corticosteroids and anticonvulsants.

Abscesses are treated with high doses of antibiotics. Corticosteroids are usually contraindicated. The outlook for recovery is guarded.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co Ltd Tel: 456-4981