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Thread: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

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    Default Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    Hello friends, I have an 8 year old bullie that we adopted (at 1) with a lot of problems. Spinal issues, entropion (after 3 surgeries, could not be fixed), missing teeth, skin issues, luxating patella. However none of these things have really held him back from being a happy, sweet boy until the last few months - he had one seizure maybe 6 months ago, and has been walking into things, getting lost in corners, and walking in circles for the last few months. While some days are better than others, he is generally out of it, though he does not whimper, still eats, and (generally) potties outside still. He does throw up (either plehgm or food) at least once a day. Currently he smells awful, despite bathing. (Vet is Monday.) Still, he is cuddley with me. All told, he lives probably 23 hours of the day on the couch, which is not much of a life.

    MRI to determine cancer and size is not an option (no one will put him under). My question is really, assuming he has brain cancer (as is common), how long this has taken to go from bad to worse in other dogs. I dont know whether we have a timeline of weeks, months or longer. Part of me wants to put him down now, but part of me thinks that it just isn't clear enough. I know he will not improve mentally, but there are few signs of pain.

    Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

    -Bullie mom of 2

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    I am really sorry to read your story, you took your bully on with a lot of problems and gave that dog the best.
    Only you can decide when the time is right,
    Thinking of you,


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    You are very kind, thank you jimmyjj.

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    I went through a brain cancer in my 14 year old Staffordshire bull terrier. She was 14, seen the birth of my 4 daughters and I adored her,
    We knew after lots of trips to the vet. I never thought I could do the deed, I wanted to hang on. But One day I knew it was time.
    It made it easer to get through that day but there's no words anyone can say anything after reality hits you.
    Hope all turns out the best it can


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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    I'm so sorry to see this. You've really done a great thing by doing all you've done for him for all of these years. We lost our Frenchy when he turned 8 years old to lymphoma cancer so I kind of know what you're going through and can only send my best wishes and prayers for you and your family. You will know when the time is right.

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    One of my bullies Tyson acted ( and smelled) just like you are describing with the exception that he peed in his sleep but our vet believed he suffered from cannine dementia. We did eventually pts. We were unsure but he hurt his leg pretty badly one day after being " lost" by the back door. We aren't sure how he hurt ot but he pulled it out of socket. The vet said that the kindest thing to so was to let him go and we did. I feel great about that decision. It wasn't easy, but I knew at that point it was right and he had lived a happy life with us. We still miss him , but it is a joyful kind of longing. One where we feel thankful for the time we had amd feel good about the life we gave him and the decision to let him go. ( he was a sickly rescue when I got hin) I hope you find this peacw when it's your bullies time as well. Don't worry , you will know.
    If tears could build a staircase and happy memories a lane, I could walk right up to Heaven and bring you home again!

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    I was unprepared in a way for all of these loving and kind words from people I have never met. Thank you, truly. I will pay your compassion forward.

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    I am a firm believer that you and only you will know when its time. Don't let other people tell you, you know him best. We lost one of our boxers to cancer about a year and a half ago. I tried everything to keep him comfortable and as long as he was eating and drinking and wanting to play it was all good. After a while he stopped eating and drinking and was getting lost in the house. It was so hard to watch my once very strong and muscular dog dwindle down from 75lbs to about 50 lbs. When he got lost behind the recliner we knew it was time. One of the hardest decisions I had to make but I know in my heart that it was the best thing for him. Miss that boy every single day!!

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    I can imagine. thank you.

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    I'm so sorry to hear about your baby… it's so hard I don't have any experience w/cancer, but I had older cats that passed w/kidney & diabetic issues. Everyone on here is correct when they tell you that YOU will know when it's time… you know your baby the best, and it's hard to say how long it may be. My cat Midi seemed to hang on forever, having many wonderful days and then one day he was tired… it was time for him to go home. It's very hard to let them go, but personally for me I was at peace knowing that their pain was over. I believe they are in a better place…

    We will be here for you every step of the way… you are NOT alone. Hugs to you and your family

    "What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller
    RIP Wellie, Bella, Winston & Roxie

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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    @tazmomma, your post just shows how much you love your bully Taz and what a loving parent you have been to him. Like others have said, only you will know the answer as to when the right time is and what's best for him. He sounds like such a sweetheart. Please give him lots of extra hugs and snuggles from us!




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    Default Re: Brain Cancer - Bully time line?

    Hi, I'm so sorry you're dealing with this with Taz, I don't have any experience with brain cancer, but my 14 year old Jack Russell Oreo, passed away 3 years ago from cancer in either her stomach or her bowels. The vet suspected it was her bowels, but said at her age, and how sick she was doing thousands of dollars for tests to diagnose where the cancer originated from, wouldn't change her prognosis. She told me it would come down to her quality of life, and that people can live with cancer of the bowels, and so can dogs. She said we would know, when her quality of life as a dog wasn't there anymore. If she could no longer hold her duties, or she couldn't walk, if all she did was sleep and not walk or play anymore, if she nl longer ate her food, then her life as a dog wouldn't be a quality life for her. Most dogs won't show signs of pain, because it shows weakness, so you won't always know if your dog is in pain or not. In the end we didn't hav to make the heartbreaking decision to put Oreo down, because she passed away in her sleep. I was very close to making the decision, because she couldn't walk up and down the front door steps to go outside anymore, and she started having accidents in her crate, and she looked so sad, she didn't eat very much, and slept a lot. My son was very attached to her and didn't want us to put her down. I feel so sad for you that you may be facing this hard and heartbreaking decision, but you gave him a great life of love and he knows you love him, they depend on us for everything, just like a child, and they cannot make decisions for themselves, even in the end, we want to keep them with us, because we love them so much, and we can't bear to see them go, plus we feel guilty, that maybe it's too soon to let them go, or we didn't do enough, but I think it's a selfless act and its because we love our bullies that we can let them go, and do what's best for them, even if it hurts us or makes us sad. Sending my thoughts, love, hugs and prayers that Taz is okay, and that you enjoy whatever quality of life you are blessed to have him, and for as long as you can. Please keep us posted on how he's doing, and feel free to come on here to talk,vent, or share your feelings or questions you may have. We are all here to listen, and we understand.


    I found this information on brain tumours in dogs, and printed it for you, I hope it helps.


    Print view


    for pet owners london : Factsheets : Brain_Tumour


    Brain tumour or cancer


    Brain tumours in dogs and cats are unfortunately as common as they are in people. Brain tumours can be devastating diseases and sadly cannot be cured in most animals.


    At present the only options for treatment are to improve the animal's quality of life and help them to live for as long as possible. Unfortunately all brain tumours are eventually fatal diseases.


    What is a brain tumour?


    A tumour (or cancer) is a growth of abnormal cells within a body tissue. Tumours in the brain can develop from brain cells (primary brain tumour) that have started to grow uncontrollable or the tumour may be the result of spread of a tumour elsewhere in the body. Common primary brain tumours include tumour arising from cell forming the lining of the surface of the brain (meningioma), the lining of ventricle (ependymoma), the choroid plexus (choroid plexus tumour) or the brain parenchyma itself (glioma).


    Fragments of tumours elsewhere in the body can break off from their primary source and travel in the blood to the brain where they settle and start to grow. The signs seen in animals with brain tumours are usually the result of the tumour growing and causing pressure on the surrounding normal brain tissue. This causes brain damage and inflammation.


    What are the signs of a brain tumour?


    Brain tumours can cause a wide variety of clinical signs which vary according to the part of the brain that is affected. Often the first sign to develop is seizures (fits). These seizures are often very severe causing the dog to collapse, salivate profusely, thrash around and occasionally void its bowels and bladder. Unfortunately, these seizures are likely to be permanent. Other signs commonly seen are blindness, changes in the dog's personality, profound lethargy, circling and disorientation. Some people may notice that their dog appears to have a 'headache'. As with seizures, some of these signs may be permanent whatever the treatment course that you decide upon.


    How will my vet know that my dog has a brain tumour?


    Your vet may suspect that your pet has a brain tumour because of the signs you describe.


    The brain cannot be seen on standard X-rays so special diagnostic tests are needed to allow your vet to take pictures of your pet's brain. Diagnosis of brain tumours is based on imaging the brain either with a CT-scan or an MRI-scan. Although these tests are very good for detecting the presence of a mass in the brain, they are not good at identifying the exact nature of this mass (ie whether it is a tumour, inflammation or even bleeding within the brain).


    A sample of the fluid from around the brain may need to be taken to rule-out an inflammation of the brain and, in rare cases this can reveal the presence of a certain type of tumour called lymphoma. In order to confirm the exact cause of the mass and, if it is a tumour to find out how malignant it is, a tissue sample must be collected. This sample can be obtained either by inserting a biopsy needle through the skull. If surgical removal of the mass is planned a sample may simply be collected at the time of surgery.


    Aggressive tumours may spread around the body (metastasise). Brain tumours can spread to the chest and tumours from other sites (especially lung, liver, prostate, and mammary gland) may spread to the brain. X-Rays of the chest and abdomen as well as abdominal ultrasound may be necessary to confirm that the tumour is not elsewhere in the body.


    Can brain tumours be treated?


    Advances in veterinary care for pets mean that brain tumours can be treated, although unfortunately there are few tumours which can be cured. Treatment is usually aimed at providing your pet with the best possible quality of life for as long as possible. Whatever treatment course you decide upon, if your dog is having seizures they should be given medication to control these - as the seizures are likely to be permanent.


    How can brain tumours be treated?


    The treatment and prognosis for brain tumors vary with the type of tumor. The most appropriate treatment for an individual depends on a number of factors, including the type of tumour and the general health of the patient.


    There are 3 basic options for the treatment of tumours:


    Medication alone


    There is very little chemotherapy options for brain tumours because the brain is a very protected site and most drugs cannot penetrate it. However treatment may help to reduce some of the signs seen in a patient with a brain tumour. A combination of anti-inflammatory medication (corticosteroids) to reduce the swelling and pressure caused by the tumour, and drugs to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures can be prescribed. In some cases this may relieve a lot of the symptoms and make the animal feel a lot better. However, animals on this combination of drugs are often very thirsty and hungry and may need to go to the toilet more often - occasionally this can cause problems with wetting in the house. The drugs used to control seizures may initially may your pet more sleepy but most dogs get used to the drugs after a couple of weeks. This approach does not cost much and there is little risk of making your pet worse, however, in some cases this may only provide relief for a couple of months.

    Medication and radiation therapy


    While many brain tumours in dogs and cats are relatively benign and amenable to surgery, some are deep seated and therefore pose significant surgical risks. Radiation therapy can result in dramatic and rapid improvement of signs. The benefits of this treatment far outweigh the risks in most pets. Most animals suffer any side-effects from the radiation treatment but these might include; occasional nausea, mouth ulcers, ear infection or, rarely, blindness. Most of the side-effects of radiation can be controlled with additional medication. The advantage of using radiation treatment in addition to medication is that it can provide a longer period of good quality of life than with medication alone. Unfortunately, radiation rarely completely destroys the tumour and average remission times are 8 to 14 months before the tumour recurs.

    Medication, radiation therapy and surgery.


    The ultimate goal of cancer surgery is to remove the tumour completely. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible with brain tumours and there are nearly always tumour cells left behind which cause the tumour to regrow. However, by removing as much of the tumour as possible at surgery, the remaining cells may become more 'sensitive' to radiation. The polytherapy approach (combination of medication, surgery and radiation) is the mainstay of treatment for most brain tumours in man. The aim of treatment is to remove the bulk of the tumour by surgery to give other therapies a better chance of success.


    Surgery also allows the vet to obtain a sample of the mass and identify its nature, which may make it easier to give a more accurate prediction of how well the patient is likely to do. Not all brain tumors can be removed surgically, practicality depends on their position within in the brain. Tumours that are on the brain surface are more likely to be amenable to surgery. To reach a tumour deep within the brain the surgeon would have to cut through a large area of healthy brain tissue and this could have devastating effects for the recovery of the patient.


    Surgery is the most invasive and costly option. Although many dogs recover well and without complication brain surgery can rarely cause irreversible damage to the brain. Some owners report that their pet's personality and behaviour has changed after surgery. Brain surgery does carry a risk, particularly if the patient has other health problems as a lengthy anaesthetic is needed. Occasionally the patient may not recover from the surgery. The benefits of this option are that it potentially offers the longest period of quality of life for your pet.


    Will my pet suffer during treatment?


    The aim of treatment for a brain tumour in pets is to prolong the period in which they enjoy a good quality of life. Your vet will not want to prolong your pet's life if your pet is unhappy. Discuss all your concerns with your vet before your pet starts treatment and every stage of the course. It will always be your decision as to when your pet is no longer happy. At this time the best option for your pet will be to ask your vet to put him or her to sleep.


    How long will my pet live?


    Predicting how long your animal can live with a brain tumour can be very difficult as this estimation depends on many factors including the type of tumour (which determine how quickly it grows), its size and place within the brain and finally the treatment used. Although many animals survive only a matter of months after diagnosis of a brain tumour, with help they can have a good quality of life.


    If you decide to opt for treatment this time may help you to come to terms with what is happening to your pet and to have some happy memories to keep. As a rough guide, average remission time ranges from 1 to 6 months with corticosteroids alone, from 8 to 14 months with radiotherapy alone and 12 to 20 months with surgery followed by radiotherapy.


    If you are concerned about the health of your pet you should contact your veterinary surgeon.

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