Brain Tumors in Dogs and Cats

Common info

A brain tumor is a severe condition an effect of abnormal cell division in the brain-related tissues, which results in the uncontrollable growth of the malignant cells. Brain tumors more commonly found in dogs rather than cats. The symptoms found in brain tumors in dogs and cats include lethargy, loss of appetite, seizure, urination disorder, etc.


The cause and risk factors of brain tumors are still unknown but it believed that dietary, environmental, genetic, chemical, and immune system factors are all involved.


Brain tumors are an effect of abnormal growth of cells that may originate in the brain itself, in the tissues close to it, by the spread of cancer in other organs into it, or compression of the tumors in brain-covering membranes, such as bone or nasal cavity, etc.


  • Lethargy
  • Aggressiveness
  • Abnormal vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizure

The most commonly observed clinical sign of a brain tumor in dogs is seizures. This is particularly true if the dog is 5 years of age or older when the first seizure occurs. Additional signs of a brain tumor may include abnormal behavior (more aggressiveness), a disorder of perception, hypersensitivity to neck pain, abnormal vision, circling, movement disorder causing a wobbly gait. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy and urination disorder.

Treatment and Prevention

There are three ways of treating brain tumors in dogs, i.e. neurosurgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy; all of which aim to remove the tumors or minimize their sizes as much as possible while controlling the brain tumors-related symptoms, such as brain edema, etc. Neurosurgery may get rid of the entire or parts of the tumors whereas radiation therapy and chemotherapy may shrink the tumors or decrease the chance of post-surgery recurrences. Medications may prescribe to control the brain tumor's side effects, such as seizures.

  1. Wagwalking | Brain tumors
  2. Bagley, R. S., & Gavin, P. R. 1998. Seizures as a complication of brain tumors in dogs. Clinical Techniques in Small Animal Practice, 13(3), 179–184.
  3. Rossmeisl, J. H. 2014. New Treatment Modalities for Brain Tumors in Dogs and Cats. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 44(6), 1013–1038.
  4. Thomas, W. B., Wheeler, S. J., Kramer, R., & Kornegay, J. N. 1996. MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING FEATURES OF PRIMARY BRAIN TUMORS IN DOGS. Veterinary Radiology Ultrasound, 37(1), 20–27.
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