Brain Lesion...autoimmune?

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Brain Lesion...autoimmune?

This is a discussion on Brain Lesion...autoimmune? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello Everyone, We have had a he** of a month....Last Wednesday, we were booked to euthanize our 7 year old retriever mix (toller and golden) ...

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Old 11-10-2009, 10:31 PM
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Brain Lesion...autoimmune?

Hello Everyone,

We have had a he** of a month....Last Wednesday, we were booked to euthanize our 7 year old retriever mix (toller and golden) b/c of probable brain tumor...he has been on prendisone now for a week (vet offered this treatment and we would do anything to save our big guy) and has made drastic improvement...this time last week, he wasn't moving at all and we were syringe feeding/watering him.

Long story short....first week of October, Baby stopped pooping. then he stopped eating. he would turn away from favorites like peanut butter and "dog desserts". he became listless. still drank and peed. Took him in on the 11th of October after calling my vet all week the week before with questions; she suggested Pepcid AC and thought he may have eaten something that didn't agree with him. Ended up at the MVS (MI Vet Specialists) in emergency; at this point on a Sunday afternoon, my husband and I were sure he had a bowel obstruction and didn't want to risk any internal damage. $900 later, X-rays and bloodwork came back normal with just two small bladder stones (nothing according to the vet)....we were sent home on anti-nausea and anti-diarreha and given appetite stimulants with the hesitant diagnosis of gastritis/pancreatitis (they wanted to do an ultrasound if he didn't improve in 2 days).

Well...he never started eating. He did eat cooked eggs that night, but I think in retrospect the appetite stimulants kicked in for a minute and he couldn't resist. By Wednesday of that week, he was presenting with new symptoms...unsteady gait and head tilt. I called my vet panicked and she called in a script for Antivert and told me it was probably geriatric vestibular. I called MVS back, and they said the same thing and that I should come in to see a neurologist. Vestibular is only supposed too last 72 hours to a week max, so I figured we would wait it out.

He progressed with the symptoms until by Halloween he wasn't walking at all. He went that weekend not walking and by Monday looked like a dog zombie...it was a nightmare. I was totally checked out of work and personal life....he was the only thing on my mind. I couldn't believe my dog, who just a month ago was galloping through the doggy park happy as could be would end up like this. The more research we did at home, the more it pointed to a brain tumor. He was having lip tremors at this point, which I found out were focal/facial petite mal seizures.

After 2 weeks of force feeding him and lifting him outside to pee (he weighs almost 70 pounds) we made the call to have him euthanized. Our hearts were literally broken, but anyone who looked at the dog could understand (my mom and best friend were stopping by daily to feed, water, and bring him outside and they agreed that he had no will to live).

Last Wednesday was horrible. My husband and I were bawling on our way to the vet and the poor dog was lying on the blanket in the backseat in the same position he had been laying in for a week (we were "flipping" him over periodically; he was literally not moving a muscle at this point).

We brought him in, and our vet was just in tears. She hadn't actually seen him to this point (just phone calls and script fills; we also tried Zeniquin in case this was an inner ear infection). She wanted to do another CBC on him, a urinalysis, and a neuro exam before calling it quits...of course we said yes.

Neither her nor the neurologist could confirm a brain tumor through motor tests; he still had some resistance, but was presenting with the paralysis. She offered the steroid treatment...and by this past Saturday, he was running around again. He is not 100%, but is doing almost everything he was.

Vet says unpredictable life expectancy; we would have to get an MRI and then a biopsy to show what this is....either autoimmune or tumor.

Anyone else know of/have a story like this? I would love any feedback.

Sorry so long a thread; lots to vent here. I was facing possible pet therapy last week...

Thanks,
A
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:42 AM
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Welcome!! My family dog Mandy has a brain tumor as well-cerebellar so the symptoms are weakness on one side, tripping, spinning, nastigmas etc. So hopefully I can really help you here!!

FIRST though-you really need to confirm it's a tumor. Our old vet (who we DO NOT see anymore) thought there was no need to confirm as there was no treatment-but there is and the treatment was wonderful -more on that later.

There are a few other conditions they thought she had-I'm visiitng mum tomorrow-so I'll grill her on the other things -and your going to want to rule them out. The treatment will be very different.

On that note-we thought her tumor was growing again as she had a major relapse in September and we were going to put her down IT turned out to be a severe ear infection-that caused the same symptoms, and that was easily treated-she's back to normal now. With the sudden onset and progress like your describing-I think your vet needs to put your dog under and really dig in those ears right away.

Quote:
prendisone now for a week (vet offered this treatment and we would do anything to save our big guy) and has made drastic improvement...this time last week, he wasn't moving at all and we were syringe feeding/watering him.
Prendisone is not something they can be on long term-but it really works to get the swelling down and get the symptoms under control
A side effect is being really hungry and thirsty-so the refusal to eat is not normal on prendisone.

Quote:
Anyone else know of/have a story like this? I would love any feedback.
YES-very very similar

I would see a specialist asap! They confirmed Mandys tumor on MRI and CT, and it can be treated. Different types of cancers can be treated differently but brain tumors in dogs (IF inoperable-her's was, as its' on the brainstem) are generally treated with radiation.

Mandy was treated in Saskatchewan for one month-the program has since moved to Calgary but you could phone them and they will hook you up with either a closer clinic or details on how to have your dog treated there.

There are very few clinics set up to do this, so most of their animals are from out of town-Mandy was there for a month, for treatments every day. We missed her-but she had the best care. The dogs go home with the vet students every day, are at the clinic just wandering around(after waking up from treatment) rather then crated (They only take three at a time) and they phone you every single day to update you.

This is where Mandy was treated
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
And the program moved here (someone's on mat leave so they moved it)
Home | Veterinary Medicine - University of Calgary


My vet (not the one who treated her with radiation, but our family vet who figured it all out and figured out the radiation facility etc) could certainly talk to your vet?
Let me know-I will pm you her info. She'd have no trouble consulting with your vet for tips etc.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:14 PM
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Hi Mikey,,

Thanks for all the feedback...we are in a bit of a financial halt when it comes to the MRI. We would either need to take out a loan or use CareCredit. We are really on the fence about this, because our research showed that step one is the MRI, then a biopsy, then we would know if it is operable...has this been the case with Mandy? If so, that is $6,000 at least with no knowing if it is even operable/treatable.

Maybe you can let me know privately how much you spent on everything so we have a general idea?

We did bring him back in today for a checkup, and vet was amazed at his comeback. We are aware that this is possibly only temporary and he may decline again at any time...but we are happy to have him back!

Re. the possible ear infection, at this point I would think it would be gone b/c he had a treatment of Zeniquin, and is currently on an aggressive antibiotic () in case it is an autoimmune disease. We are covering all bases.

He presented with a heart murmur last week, he never had one before. He no longer does; vet's theory is that because he was on one side for so long during the day (we flipped him in the AM, again at noon, and then again in the PM) that the blood was pooling in the chambers causing the murmur.

If money was no option, we would have him in the neurologist ASAP for an MRI...unfortunately for us, right now this is not a financial possibility.

I would appreciate any more feedback/advice you would have.

Thanks again!

A
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:01 PM
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I definitely understand finances!! Radiation therapy was around 12,000$ and that was after MRI. I don't believe they biopsied because it was so close to the brainstem. There also was about 8 months of prendisone afterwards and then some maintenance on it since. It's been pricey but she's my parent's dog and they are fortunate to be able to table the cost with no hardships-I certainly couldn't

one thing for finances-your vet MAY allow a payment plan-if that's an option at all for your situation, worth asking about


I would still mention the ear infection to your vet. They cultured because not all (and even broad spectrum antibiotics) antibiotics wil get it under control. It was a very deep ear infection and the culture found what bacteria it was so we treated with the right antibiotic-which is a really good thing

Not a problem at all-I hope this helps you!! If he does end up bed ridden again I have some tips too! I work in a continuing care facility and we have many bedridden residents. Two things they do to prevent wounds-which happen when your on you side or back all the time-Air mattresses, you can pick a camping one up cheap these days, and sheep skin -I would go faux sheepskin, becauase not only is it cheaper but it also has water wicking properties (I'm assuming the dog is incontinent when bedridden) ALSO! They make doggy diapers PEEPERS Pet Diapers and Dog Diapers, Washable and Disposable - Free Sample

Please don't hesitat with questions!! I hope I can help!
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:33 PM
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Yikes I was quoted $2,000 for an MRI...perhaps shop around?

Scooter had facial seizures and it was related to eating som'thing Toxic.
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:05 PM
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Hey all,

Thanks again...it totally breaks my heart that we can't do what we would like to do for Baby (aren't these darn dogs supposed to live forever???), but his "comeback" is so dramatic, our vet said today that she was at a "loss for words".

We reflected on a couple of things; like he isn't giving kisses yet, or jumping up to get attention (ironically, kind of good things...his jumping and attention getting tactics were turn-offs for guests, etc), so we mused that the pressure is his brain could have caused permanent damage to his "affection" center...

My vet has been great. I call her everyday (to her request; she wants to get all the updates she can) and hasn't charged us for our past two visits. She know we have been hard up for dough b/c last month we had to go back and forth between her and the MI vet specialists b/c we thought our jap chin had developed glaucoma (if it's not one thing...it's another...we have 3 cats, 3 dogs, a hedgehog and a fish).

It is good to have these forums for tips, but it is also therapeutic for me to bounce thoughts and ideas off of other pet lovers...I have talked my coworkers ears off for the past month about Baby (I actually did a happy dance in my classroom when my mom called me at lunch and told me that he pooped for the first time in two weeks at one point)...

Thanks again,

I will continue to check in with updates.
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:40 PM
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Looking forward to updates!! If there's anything we can do to help let us know!
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