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Do any of you have experience with brain tumors?

Rgeurts
September 15th, 2012, 04:26 PM
We saw Dr. Marsden yesterday due to Nookies more frequent/severe middle of the night seizures. He got his "camera" out (an infra scope of some kind) and looked him over, then focused on his head for quite some time.

When Nookie was younger, and had the Meningoencephalitis, he would shake his head and cry often. He's done it ever since, but only once in awhile, but has started again lately. When he does it, we will rub his head, between his ears and he relaxes completely. I told Dr. Marsden about this as well. He asked if we had ever had an MRI and I said no, but initially, when Nookie started having seizures, they thought he may have a brain tumor, but also said it was highly unlikely due to his age, then actually diagnosed the Meningo through a spinal tap, so the MRI was never done. He said it's a possibility as the blood isn't "moving", but that if he does have a brain tumor, we're extremely lucky to have had him as long as we have. Nookie is now 2.5 yrs old, and Dr. Marsden said the holistic treatment could have held it at bay. I asked if we should get an MRI and he didn't think we need to. He said if it is a tumor, the only treatment is radiation, and that probably wouldn't be as effective as the holistic treatment he's been getting, so the only thing the MRI would do is tell us whether or not he has a tumor.

My questions are:
Is there any other way to diagnose a brain tumor other than an MRI? I would hate to put Nookie through being "put under" just to find out it isn't a tumor and risk a relapse of the Meningo. But if it IS a tumor, maybe it's an operable one seeing as he has lived with it this long.

Is surgery an option? I have googled and found a few cases where surgery was viable, depending on the tumor "type" and size, but none of them really say whether or not it's curative, or how long is expected before returning.

So Shaun and I are pretty worried, and sad for our boy (and of course, ourselves). :(

I just don't know what to do. I'm hoping someone may have some experience with this. If not, thanks for taking the time to read it anyway.

hazelrunpack
September 15th, 2012, 06:57 PM
Oh, man, Robyn! :( One more thing to worry about? :grouphug:

The only thing I know about brain tumors is that the few dogs I've known that had them didn't live more than a few months. So Nanook's longevity is perhaps an argument that he doesn't have one?

I suppose that, like with people, operability depends on the type and location of any tumor, but I don't know anyone who's had surgery done on their dog for this.

Can they do the MRI with just a light sedative? If it would set your mind at ease it might be worth it, especially if they don't have to knock him out with a general...

Sending :goodvibes: your way!! :2huggers: Hang in there!

MaxaLisa
September 16th, 2012, 05:55 PM
My girl had a brain lesion. They thought it was a brain tumor, I did not okay the MRI, she would not have survived it - it is not just anesthesia they give, but most of the time also require contrast, which is also hard on a dog. When they did bloodwork, it sure looked like it was infection, and I completely believe that the lesion was from Bartonella instead of a brain tumor. Regardless, it behaved like a brain tumor, and she died in just the way that the ER vet at the university said she would, since that part of the brain was affected. She did not have seizures, though I know many brain tumors are accompanied by such.

At UC Davis in California, they are doing surgery on brain tumors in dogs, in an effort to study them in humans. I believe that's one reason the vet there was as bad as she was, she was really trying to get me to okay things to get my girl in that study, which was not in her best interests.

My dad's oncologist confirmed for me later that my girl's bloodwork did not look like a brain tumor - very weird things with her blood going on.

In terms of management, I'm a huge fan of trying doxycycline at an aggressive of 10mg/kg twice a day (roughly 5 mg/lb twice a day), to see if it arrests the seizures. I don't recall if you have ever tried that. My girl had "falling spells", and it stopped those. I now know it was a precurser to the lesion. With your boy's history, if he has never been on a prolonged period of aggressive dose doxy, I really would be curious if it would help.

I'm so very sorry, he is much too young to be having all of these very serious problems :grouphug:

Rgeurts
September 17th, 2012, 10:59 AM
Oh, man, Robyn! :( One more thing to worry about? :grouphug:

The only thing I know about brain tumors is that the few dogs I've known that had them didn't live more than a few months. So Nanook's longevity is perhaps an argument that he doesn't have one?

I suppose that, like with people, operability depends on the type and location of any tumor, but I don't know anyone who's had surgery done on their dog for this.

Can they do the MRI with just a light sedative? If it would set your mind at ease it might be worth it, especially if they don't have to knock him out with a general...

Sending :goodvibes: your way!! :2huggers: Hang in there!


Thanks, Hazel :grouphug:

Dr. Marsden had said the same, it would be highly unusual to have had one this long, if that's what it is. So he thinks that if he does have one, it's been the Chinese Herbs that has kept it at bay, or he has just developed it. He was quite concerned over the frequency/severity and the change to nighttime seizures, and the fact that when he checked his pulses, the blood wasn't "moving" in that area. I'm kinda wishing he hadn't said anything, with me being the worrier that I am :rolleyes:
And since telling me, of course I had to google, and found that Nookie actually has a few of the symptoms such as frequent urination (after the most recent nighttime seizures and lasting at least a week or 2), head shaking/crying, respiratory issues, clumsiness etc. But, those can also be attributed to other things, so who knows. An MRI would make me feel better (unless it turns out he does have a tumor), but I don't know that I would want to put him through that unless there was a chance of saving him. I wouldn't do that to him just for my own peace of mind. I guess the best thing to do would be to call down to the Washington State University and speak with someone in the Neurology Dept. That's where I took Thorin for his surgery, and they were just wonderful. I'll also call Dr. Marsden again and talk to him about it a bit more. Thank you again :grouphug:

My girl had a brain lesion. They thought it was a brain tumor, I did not okay the MRI, she would not have survived it - it is not just anesthesia they give, but most of the time also require contrast, which is also hard on a dog. When they did bloodwork, it sure looked like it was infection, and I completely believe that the lesion was from Bartonella instead of a brain tumor. Regardless, it behaved like a brain tumor, and she died in just the way that the ER vet at the university said she would, since that part of the brain was affected. She did not have seizures, though I know many brain tumors are accompanied by such.

I'm so sorry. That must have been awful for the both of you :(
How long did she live once you received the "diagnosis"?

At UC Davis in California, they are doing surgery on brain tumors in dogs, in an effort to study them in humans. I believe that's one reason the vet there was as bad as she was, she was really trying to get me to okay things to get my girl in that study, which was not in her best interests.

I would put Nookie in one, if it were to study the animal itself, and not for human reasons. And if he were allowed to remain with me during the study, and not tormented or hurt. But unfortunately, a lot of the people behind those studies, especially the ones where they are studying animals for human sake, don't care about the animal at all.

My dad's oncologist confirmed for me later that my girl's bloodwork did not look like a brain tumor - very weird things with her blood going on.

In terms of management, I'm a huge fan of trying doxycycline at an aggressive of 10mg/kg twice a day (roughly 5 mg/lb twice a day), to see if it arrests the seizures. I don't recall if you have ever tried that. My girl had "falling spells", and it stopped those. I now know it was a precurser to the lesion. With your boy's history, if he has never been on a prolonged period of aggressive dose doxy, I really would be curious if it would help.

I'm so very sorry, he is much too young to be having all of these very serious problems :grouphug:

We have never tried Doxy. I am going to talk to Dr. Marsden about it. I have read up on it a bit and there don't seem to be any contraindications with the seizures like there are with a lot of the antibiotics, or immune issues such as with the sulfa class. I'm thinking he needs a course of antibiotics anyway. Since the last seizure, he has been peing every 1-2 hours and leaked a bit in the house a couple of times. It's odd though, no odor and it isn't dark like when he has an infection, but who knows. I'll be taking a sample in today. Thanks for the info :) :grouphug:

Rgeurts
September 18th, 2012, 10:22 AM
We took in the urine sample and Nookie has another infection :(
They said there is a lot of bacteria as well as red and white blood cells, so back on the Amoxi-Clav. But I guess I'm thankful that there is a "reason" for the frequent urination. He's just one of those dogs that are prone to infection. The good news is that his PH is back in the normal range and no crystals!

I did speak with the Neurologist at the Washington State University and asked a bunch of questions. I told her what's going on and that he has been seeing a Holistic vet, and what Dr. Marsden said about the blood not moving. She actually knew what I meant! She said a tumor would definitely be suspect, but also that structural changes in the brain itself can do the same thing, as well as cause all the issues he's having. She also said if it is a tumor, it would have to be an extremely slow growing tumor to have had it since a pup, or it's one that just deveoped. They are doing a brain tumor study right now. If your dog does have a tumor, and it's accessible for biopsy, you only pay $500 and they pick up the rest of the tab, but we won't be going that route at all. I asked her if it was an operable tumor, can it be curative? She said the way they treat brain tumors is with radiation and chemo, so I'm assuming they don't even operate on them. An MRI is the only way to diagnose it, and he would have to be put under a general. So with Nookies history of not being able to tolerate western medicine and the risk of relapsing his Meningo, I wouldn't even think of putting him through that just to "know" what it is. If there's no chance of curing him, We won't be putting him through any of that. He still has a good quality of life, but I think that would change with any treatment or an MRI. So we're just going to trust Dr. Marsden, as we have (and with good reason!) for the last 2 years, and whatever happens, happens. We will just love our baby for as long as we have him and :pray: the Holistic treatment continues to help :lovestruck:

hazelrunpack
September 18th, 2012, 12:16 PM
Sound reasoning, Rgeurts! I'll add some :goodvibes: and a few more :pray: that Nanook continues to respond to the holisitic protocol. :grouphug: At least you got an answer for the frequent urination!

Rgeurts
September 18th, 2012, 01:31 PM
Sound reasoning, Rgeurts! I'll add some :goodvibes: and a few more :pray: that Nanook continues to respond to the holisitic protocol. :grouphug: At least you got an answer for the frequent urination!

Thanks, hazel :grouphug:

And yes, at the risk of sounding like a bad mommy, I was relieved to hear he has an infection again :o
At least there's a good reason for the urination. Was weird though, usually when he has an infection, his urine is dark and very smelly. I guess that's what threw us off this time. It looked and smelled normal :confused: