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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Brain Tumors and Abscesses

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Condition Overview

Brain tumors are not common in dogs. 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.

Symptoms

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

A brain abscess is a collection of pus in or around the brain. The signs are similar to those of a brain tumor. these dogs will often have a fever.

Causes

With a brain abscess, there may be a prior infection in the oral cavity, inner ear, or respiratory tract.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of tumor or abscess is made by neurological examination and special tests, including EEG, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and CAT scan or MRI.

Treatment

Surgical removal of benign brain tumors may be possible in some cases. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have not proven to be effective against most brain tumors 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.

Prevention

There is no prevention for this condition.

Support

Please contact your veterinarian with questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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