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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30054
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
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Probable brain tumor in dog, how do I know when to put him to sleep?

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My dog has a (probable) brain tumor. He shows many of the symptoms and the past 7-8 weeks have been very difficult for him. He rarely eats (can go days) and is occasionally incontinent in the house. How do i know when to put him down? Is he in pain?

I am sorry to hear about your situation.
You have my deepest sympathy and support.
First, we need a basic blood and urine test for an overall health assessment.
Brain tumors are not that common, and just about an systemic (internal) illness or even a urinary tract infection REALLY could manifest very similarly.
I DEFINITELY would not assume a brain tumor. There very well could be medication to treat an underlying condition, to return him to normal health.
Your vet, on examination, will likely be able to judge whether they feel your pet is suffering and has a poor quality of life or not.
Nausea and ill health can mask true pain, so its difficult to comment on without having the results of some basic tests.
When to put him down?
It's all about medical management. Once the basic tests are done, the vet will recommend some drugs. They could be anti-inflammtories, or pain medications, or antibiotics if any infection is found. If things improve. GREAT!
If things do not improve, then the prognosis is not good and euthanasia would be considered.
But, not until a vet examination and at least a basic test or two, would I make that decision.
Good Luck
I wish the best for both you and your pet. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
I truly appreciate positive feedback if my advice has been helpful or informative.
Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

He has had blood/urine tests. At our vet, there are 3 doctors. The first doc said, brain tumor. The second doc said the dog got hurt and epilepsy. He was treated with Deremaxx (some improvement) and Prednisone (some improvement).

He still did not return to normal, so, the doc then prescribed the Phenobarb. The original was 15 mg to be divided into 2 doses... 1/2 q12h - so, essentially, he was getting 7.5 mg every 12 hrs. However, that proved to cause more "drunken" behavior, so she said to cut the dog back to 1/4 pill only at bedtime. I have given him this dose for 3 days now, and no improvement.

Again, I was only gone for an hour today and he pooped on the living room floor. He has NEVER done that. His legs are apart, his personality is different, he is not eating, he has lost weight, he has all his strength, and I don't know what to do anymore.

I am disabled and on a fixed income. I love this little boy, but I don't want to keep him going if he is in pain or anything like that. I've only had him since February 2008. He was a "re-homing" dog. His original owners moved to the other side of the country and did not take him. On his old medical records, it did say "seizure?", but the dog did not reveal any seizure to me until June of that year. Since his seizure in the beginning of May (just a few weeks ago) this Miniture Pinchure has NOT been the same!

That changes my interpretation quite a bit.
Now, a history of seizures could be due to epilepsy, where there is no known cause, something in the body (which the blood test would have picked up) or brain problems.
So, Yes, I am now more concerned about some type of brain pathology. I don't know if I can say pain. My greater concern would be disorientation and nausea.
Your answer would come with:
Not eating for several days, vomiting, not moving around normally. Your vet will help you if things progress.
I would also consider discussing with your vet about starting with potassium bromide only and not phenobarbital. Less sedating and fewer side effects. Just a thought to try.
Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Dr Andy:
He is definitely showing signs of disorientation such as sometimes not knowing where he is, having a hard time negotiating stairs (in which there are only 2 for him to come into the house), getting up onto the new deck (short step up) and it seems to take a LOT of coaxing to get him up those steps.

I have to get down very low and say, "Trust mom, trust me," and then he'll hesitate and come up. He is NOT vomiting. He is NOT moving around normally. My vet has no answers and to start all over with another vet will start costing me more monies I simply don't have. I would be willing to discuss the potassium bromide with the vet - so I guess that is a good idea. The shame of it all is that up until just a month ago, he was the best dog in the world - loads of fun to play with, easy going and a typical min pin snuggler. Even now, sometimes when I snuggle or try to pick him up, he makes that soft "growl" sound like I'm hurting him, so I just let go in fear that I am hurting him.

And he shakes all the time. I've been walking around saying to my friends that he is now my "parkinsonian" dog. But, like I stated before, he is not eating and that really concerns me. He has gone from Good LIfe Chicken Flavored Crunchy Food to canned food to chicken & rice, beef & rice, baby food, and all concoctions in between and now nothing for 2 days. No Milk Bones, no Beggin' Strips. So, at what point - with the shaking, the not eating, the personality changes, the wide stance, etc... what point do I put him down? Its also very draining on me and he is just not happy anymore. Thats why I came to you, online, hoping to get more answers than from my overworked vet.

I don't want to make the decision for you. That would not be a good answer.
However, based on what you have discussed with me, I would be 100% supportive if you were to elect to do euthanasia now. It would be a very fair decision without regret.
Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thats what I was thinking. It saddens me only because he was such an awesome dog. When I got him, his name was Freddie, and I changed it to Tedy "Bruschi" as in the NE Patriots defensive football player. Some Min Pins have the attitude of a full size Doby and he most definately had that! He wouldn't play in the "little" dog park; he had to be with the big dogs! But he is not the same dog.

My struggle is also that I have no idea how much it is to put a dog down, I'm guessing around 300?... and that I was thinking of putting him down here at home with an injection of Phenobarb... final thoughts on that?

Again, I cannot possibly thank you enough for all of your help. You have been wonderfully supportive - even more so than the vet. The vet has been very kind, just, perhaps, not as knowledgeable as you or at the very least, willing to take my money.

NO! Absolutely, do not give that at home. It is NOT! the same as euthanasia solution.

Cost: It depends largely if you elect private cremation and want ashes returned to you versus group cremation with no ashes. Without ashes, could be easily under $150.

Again, no euthanasia at home. That would really be considered cruel and unethical. The special solution is just that, special. It works within seconds. A highly concentrated product.
Phenobarbital is also different than pentobarbital. Just point to note.

Again, sorry about everything.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I will do the right thing and NOT do this at home. I will contact the Humane Society first, and see if they can do ANYTHING for a "special needs" dog like Ted. Also, I will check with them on prices. Damn... I think he just pooped himself in bed! I hate that this is happening to him!!

Again, I thank you oh so very much and will recomment to anyone who needs immediate answers to come to this site!! You are the best. Thank you for helping me during this difficult time!

You are welcome Beth!
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