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Bambi Has A Brain Tumour


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Guest melodymaker

Hello Everyone, I'm a new member and wonderered if anyone out there has experience of my lovely 9 year old greyhound's predicament - she has been diagnosed via MRI scan with a brain tumour (probably a meningioma) and hydrocephalus (water on the brain, apparently). She has lost 6 kg since June and lost the use of her left foreleg prior to the vet putting her on steroids a couple of weeks ago. The dilemma is this - she is much happier now on steroids and definitely enjoying a quality of life again, although this can only last a short while. I've seen a lot of vets up to this point, but now she's been diagnosed both surgeons have stressed the facts that an operation may not extend her life, as they don't know if the cancer has spread, etc and she may die on the table or soon after, while the absolute best case scenario is 12 months of life but with a reduced faculty at best, she may require radiography - the nearest place for which is 110 miles away.

 

Do I want to put Bambi through all that trauma, not to mention myself and my family, I'm asking and of course, although I'm taking this out the equation in terms of what's best for Bambi, There is a huge cost and time implication involved.

 

Friends and fellow animal lovers are of the opinion that we should spend all the time we can with Bambi while she's well enough, then let her go,- I have already found out that Bam's local vet will come to the house and put her to sleep on her own sofa, which is a real comfort all round. I know that dogs pick up on stressed owners too and get upset?

 

I'd really appreciate any thoughts and experiences.

 

Many thanks

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How sad. Unfortunately I know from expereince with humans with active brain tumors who get to the stage of needing steroids that you typically get about 16 weeks post dx (4 months) before quality of life reaches the unacceptable threshold. Certainly they were spot on in the case of my dear old Mother who had mets from breast cancer.

Everything depends on the type of cancer it is and what damage it has caused, whether it is a met from elsewhere, whether it, itself, is the primary tumor. You may buy another year of life for Bambi but it will be old-age life and probably not enjoyable.

 

It's such a personal decision to make and it is always hard; but because you love Bambi ot will definitely be the right one.

Here are the cold equations you need to consider about euthanasia in general.

 

When Considering Euthanasia ask yourself these questions:

 

 

1) Is the dog free of distress, pain or discomfort, and could the pain be controlled?

2) Can the dog walk and balance fairly well?

3) Can the dog eat and drink without vomiting?

4) Is the dog free of inoperable tumours which are painful?

5) Can the dog breathe without difficulty?

6) Can the dog urinate or defecate without difficulty or incontinence?

7) Does the dog have an owner who is able to cope physically and

mentally with any nursing that may be needed?

 

If treatment is not possible then answering 'No' to any of those questions means there is no blame in having the dog put to sleep.

 

Next, ask yourself if it was yourself in your dog’s situation, would you actually wish to continue living?

Better a day too soon than a day of misery too late.

 

Then ask your vet if they think it is time to consider letting the dog go. If not then how long and what to watch out for in the quality of life equation.

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Oh gosh, I'm so sorry you and your beloved are facing this.

 

I believe prednisone (steroids) is usually a pretty effective short-term treatment for meningioma. It tends to shrink the tumor, giving the dog some relief until the tumor grows larger again. How fast that happens (growing larger) isn't very predictable -- some grow quickly and some slowly. Meningiomas are often benign but can be metastatic, as the surgeons probably explained.

 

There is a form of radiation treatment called radiosurgery that is sometimes used to treat smaller tumors. A university teaching hospital or specialty center might offer this. I believe it's a one-time treatment, not a series of treatments. I don't know if there are factors other than tumor size that would make the dog a candidate for this treatment, and I don't know what risks there are. No idea of the cost.

 

In your situation, I would probably ask the surgeons about radiosurgery. If that wasn't an option for whatever reason, I'd do what you're doing -- keep my girl comfortable and happy for as long as possible, and spoil her rotten all the while. I probably wouldn't even consider traditional surgery unless the surgeon could tell me that the tumor appeared to be very accessible and not terribly invasive. Those are my own biases, and yours may differ.

 

Many hugs to you and your pupper.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest IrskasMom

I am so sorry you are faced with that. :grouphug This is such personel Decision . IMHO would give her the best and painfree ( Medication ) Life , that Bambi has left. She couild have a Tragic Death in the OR or live her Life out for Month /Year . I would opt for the later.Spoil her rotten and make Memories.

 

Batmom has always great Advice and is right on .

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Im not sure where you're located or if you are in a postion to perform further treatments but, radiation or a procedure called cyber knife may be an option for you. packmom's boy MC was treated at Ohio State with daily radiation for his brain tumor and today he's doing very well. Of course every case is different and there are many types of tumors but, I did want to give you hope. Sending healing thoughts. Hugs to Bambi (and you).

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I've lost 2 dogs to brain tumors & it isn't a good way to go. Surgery wasn't consider for either boy. My first boy turn on me & bit my arm badly, this from a very loving "Momma's" boy. The second climbed into a crate & had a hard time breathing so I told him he could run to the bridge & find his best buds so in less than ten minutes he did. It is a terrible way to go, my thoughts are with you.

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She might qualify for brain surgery (free) as part of a joint research project with the University of Minnesota Vet School and Department of Neurosurgery. Go here and read about it; there are links to contact the investigators. That's my husband (brain surgeon for hoomans) in the photo with Dr Pluhar (veterinary surgeon) :D

 

http://www.cvm.umn.edu/cic/current/braintumortrials/home.html

 

Jennie

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Sending warm and loving hugs to all who have ever loved and lost an animal friend
Miss Jennifer, Hooman; Luna, Thelma and Louise, Gimme Pigs; Knarl and Henry, Hedgamahogs
Hedgehog Welfare Society

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Guest Liz_in_PA

I know that I would enjoy the time we had together however short that is. I would not go the surgical route. I believe that my dog has no desire to see me in financial difficulties due to his health care. He would rather me buy more biscuits.

 

I just saw Miss Jennie's post. I would do a clinical study to help other dogs and hoomans.

 

 

 

I also know that I support you in whatever decision is right for you and Bambi.

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I just saw Miss Jennie's post. I would do a clinical study to help other dogs and hoomans.

 

The best part of this study (from my animal welfare point of view) is that it is NOT a study designed to give animals brain tumors, then treat the tumors and see if there are implications for humans. Instead, dogs diagnosed with tumors enter the study, and if they qualify, they receive surgery and then the study part of the treatment which is development of a vaccine created from the tumor cells and injected in hopes it will then fight the tumor. This is being done to test on humans, but in the meantime, it also helps dogs who would normally not be able to receive brain tumor surgery. It's also a much better model for dogs *and* humans, because these are "naturally" created brain tumors, not artificially created ones. At least one GT member entered her bulldog into this study. I sat in the waiting room with her and her DH while her dog underwent surgery. I don't know if he's still alive, but all the dogs in the study lived longer than previous data would have shown, since very few dogs diagnosed with such a tumor would ever undergo surgery, due to cost and a small number of neurosurgically experienced vets.

 

Jennie

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Sending warm and loving hugs to all who have ever loved and lost an animal friend
Miss Jennifer, Hooman; Luna, Thelma and Louise, Gimme Pigs; Knarl and Henry, Hedgamahogs
Hedgehog Welfare Society

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Guest MyCody

I am so sorry to read this, my prayers and supportive thoughts are with you. I don't know what advice to give you, only that quality of life is so important as I'm sure you know.

 

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I'm so sorry you are faced with this.

 

If my dog was 3 and I was faced with a situation where surgery had a high percentage of being successful and we had a good idea it was not invasive...I'd jump at the clinical study.

 

That said, this is of course an individual decision and you dont't owe anything to another dog or human.

 

If my older dog's time was limited, I'd want it to be about spending that time together, treats, short drives, icecream , naps in sunbeams etc ..

 

I would want it as clinical, strangers, needles/IV, anesthesia, scan, stress and discomfort free as possible.

 

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My friends dog was dx'd with a meningioma. They did the cyber knife treatment in NY (3 treatments in the course of one week, they stayed the whole time). It's very expensive, but that was over a year ago and she is still doing fairly well. She did have to stay on seizure meds (the treatment doesn't necessarily remove the swelling - the water you're referring to - just the tumor itself and in Tasha's case the swelling causes seizures) but she went seizure free for a long time and now only has one about every 2 months ago. AI she does still have some side effects from those meds, and no one can figure out why but its very hard to control her weight so she is heavy, but she seems happy. Her favorite things to do are to go hiking and run off lead and to visit her family's cabin in Maine and she is still able to do all of that.

 

But its certainly not for everyone. I wouldn't have likely chosen it, but I also couldn't have imagined such a good outcome.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Not sure if the OP s within the states-her hound lost 6kgs--hint.

 

Ah! Well, they have actually had 1 dog fly in from England, and they can certainly see a dog from Canada. I would be just so scared and sad, I'm really glad to see people coming on here and helping :D

 

Jennie

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Sending warm and loving hugs to all who have ever loved and lost an animal friend
Miss Jennifer, Hooman; Luna, Thelma and Louise, Gimme Pigs; Knarl and Henry, Hedgamahogs
Hedgehog Welfare Society

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Thanks for posting about the study, Jennie. It does sound like some good research and useful treatment is being done.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I personally would not put a 9 yr old thru anything heroic nor would I put them thru a study. Eat lots of ice cream and take pictures.

 

I agree with you, but I wanted to make sure the OP and others knew of this option. They've had some wonderful results :D

 

Jennie

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Sending warm and loving hugs to all who have ever loved and lost an animal friend
Miss Jennifer, Hooman; Luna, Thelma and Louise, Gimme Pigs; Knarl and Henry, Hedgamahogs
Hedgehog Welfare Society

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So sorry to read this. It is such a hard thing to deal with, to know your beloved dog has something so scary and difficult to treat. I wish you all the best in your decision.

 

A brain tumour is not something I've had to deal with, but what I would do (before making any decisions) is get a referral to one of the veterinary specialist centres. Others have suggested that you are not in the USA; if you are in England, there are some excellent centres, like the Animal Health Trust at Newmarket. Over the years I've come to prefer the independent places to vet schools, though the vet schools are also excellent places to go for a referral.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Not sure if the OP s within the states-her hound lost 6kgs--hint.

 

I noticed that too but she also mentioned 110 miles...my guess is Canadian, not British.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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I'm so sorry. I know what I would do, given recent events in my life, but the important thing is for you to do what's right for you, Bambi, and your family, and know we'll support you whatever that decision is.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Not sure if the OP s within the states-her hound lost 6kgs--hint.

 

I noticed that too but she also mentioned 110 miles...my guess is Canadian, not British.

they use miles in the UK.

 

Good luck with Bambi. I don't know what I'm do in that situation. Follow your heart :grouphug

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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I'm so sorry to hear of Bambi's diagnosis. Holding you both gently in my thoughts.

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

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Sorry you're facing a difficult situation with Bambi. There is no right or wrong decision regarding how to proceed with treatment. The best choice for you and Bambi depends on a lot of factors, both personal (such as your beliefs, your current situation, finances, ability to travel, etc) as well as medical. Only you can answer the personal questions.

 

I'll try to provide some thoughts form the medical side. Are either of the surgeons you're dealing with neurologists? The risk and prognosis for surgery often depends on exactly where the tumor is located in the brain. Why do her surgeons feel that she will have "a reduced faculty at best" after surgery? If it is a benign meningioma in an easily accessible location, prognosis is good, and the dog many be completely normal after surgery. If it is in a risky location for surgery, radiation therapy may be a better choice, but it tends to be more expensive and requires multiple treatments. Radiosurgery may also be safer, but may not be available in your location.

 

One of my vet school classmates had a pit bull who was diagnosed with a suspected meningioma at 12 years old. He'd started having seizures, and she initially just managed him steroids and seizure medication. When he was still doing ok, but starting to decline a little 8 months later, she decided to try surgery since the neurologists told her it was in an 'easy' location. And the fact that he hadn't gotten significantly worse over that period of time made her more confident that it most likely was a slow-growing meningioma. He made a rapid and complete recovery from surgery, and lived a full and happy life with no deficits for another 16 months.

 

Of course, this is just one example, and every case is different, so I'd have a long talk with Bambi's vets (hopefully a neurologist) about what a reasonable expectation is if you decide to try surgery.

 

On the other hand, if you decide to go with palliative care and just continue with steroids, she may still have a good quality of life for a while. How much time you'll get depends on what type of tumor and how quickly it grows, which there is no way of telling. Typical prognosis is usually months, but I've also managed a couple cases that did well for a year or two.

 

Based on some limited studies, here are median survival times (meaning 50% live longer, and 50% live shorter) for meningiomas:

 

Medical treatment: 3-6 months

Surgery alone: 7-8 months

Radiation alone: 16-24 months

Surgery followed by radiation: 16-40 months

 

Here's an article with more information: Meningioma

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