Brain Tumors in Dogs and the Behavioral Effects

Primary brain tumors in dogs form in the cells of the brain and its lining. Secondary tumors are those occurring elsewhere in a dog's body, typically from cancer, and then spreading to the brain. The most common sign of a brain tumor is a seizure and usually occurs in dogs over five years old.

Other behavioral symptoms depend on where the tumor is located within the brain. Tumors in the forebrain cause a host of behavioral issues since this is the area where thinking takes place.

Symptoms of Forebrain Tumors

  • Seizures
  • Loss of learned behavior
  • Less awareness
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Drop in activity level
  • Overly thirsty
  • Depression

Tumors in the brainstem affect the ability to regulate motor functions like walking.

Symptoms of Brainstem Tumors

  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Loss of balance
  • Weakness on one side of body
  • Problems moving the eyes
  • Facial paralysis

Tumors located in the cerebellum effect coordination of movements, balance and posture.

Symptoms of Tumors in the Cerebellum

  • Head tremors
  • Wobbliness: swaying of trunk
  • Head tilting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting

Other indications of brain tumors in dogs arise because of the size of the tumor and how quickly it is growing. You will see changes in your dog's behavior and temperament, such as:

  • irritability and aggression
  • depression
  • pressing his head against a hard surface
  • compulsive walking
  • sensitivity to touching