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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30346
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 11year old poodle appears disoriented, walks in circles.

Customer Question

My 11year old poodle appears disoriented, walks in circles. I took him to the vet who said he has a possible brain tumor.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
Circling is, indeed, a symptom of encephalopathy (brain disorder - in the forebrain/cerebrum or thalamus) and a brain tumor is an important intracranial (within the skull) differential diagnosis in an 11 year old. Dogs also can have extracranial (outside the skull) etiologies of encephalopathy, however, such as a poorly functioning liver which intoxicates the brain (hepatoencephalopathy). The usual protocol is to perform a thorough physical and neurologic exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests in an attempt to identify an extracranial etiology that might be addressed in a conservative manner. If such testing finds nothing untoward, we're left with MRI to look into her brain. This isn't commonly done, however, unless brain surgery is an option.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.