Why Do Dogs With Brain Tumors Walk in Circles

Adrienne Farricelli

Dogs with brain tumors walk in circles because of the impact the mass has on the dog's brain.

Dogs with brain tumors walk in circles at some point, once the disease progresses and affects the dog's brain. Of course, walking in circles may be due to many different causes in dogs (vestibular disease, poorly functioning liver or kidneys intoxicating the dog's brain) so it's important seeing the vet for an accurate diagnosis.

It's unfortunate though the sure way to diagnose a brain tumor in dogs is through an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the dog's skull which can turn out being quite costly. In general, a dog MRI may cost anywhere between $2,000 to $3,500. A CT scan is another option.

Due to costs, some dog owners decide to take a wait-and-see approach. Although it is not 100 percent definitive, this approach can help rule out vestibular disease which sometimes resolves after a few weeks.

Types of Brain Tumors in Dogs

Brain tumors in dogs may be primary (originating from the brain) or secondary (spreading to the brain from another cancer located in a different body part). Because of this latter possibility, it makes sense to take x-rays or perform an ultrasound to check whether there is any evidence of cancer located elsewhere in the dog's body.

There are many types of brain tumors that may affect dogs. Examples of primary tumors include meninigiomas (the most common) astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, choroid plexus tumours, central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma, glioblastomas, histiocytic sarcomas, and ependymomas.

A Matter of Propulsive Circling

Propulsive circling with the dog circling always in the same direction is a potential sign of the presence of a lesion that's occupying space in the dog's brain. Generally, dogs tend to circle towards the side of the brain where the mass is on. Affected dogs may also develop seizures as a result of the mass.

Dogs with brain tumors therefore walk in circles and develop seizures because the presence of the lesion causes swelling and pressure changes within the dog's brain leading to the manifestation of neurological signs.

Helping Affected Dogs

Dogs with brain tumors can be managed in a variety of ways. If feasible, the dog may undergo a delicate surgery performed by a specialist, in this case, a board-certified veterinary surgeon.

Other options include radiation therapy and chemotherapy, which is meant to shrink the tumor and improve clinical signs. Steroids may be also used, and the goal in this case, is to decrease the buildup of fluids and slow down the growth of the tumor.

Photo Credits; Adrienne Farricelli all rights reserved