Should Healthy Dogs Get Routine MRIs for Brain Tumors?
Cancer is the leading killer of dogs — purebreds being particularly susceptible to the disease– and that includes brain tumors. I was recently interviewed about brain tumors in dogs, by a woman who wasn’t just writing a story. Her parents’s dog had been diagnosed with a brain tumor via MRI and she had some questions. The most concerning comment the veterinary neurologist said to this family, was,
“I see this all the time.”
It’s true. Cancer is a reality we must contend with as pet parents. (Quick note: I’m linking to a few articles below that will help not only educate you, but also encourage you should you be facing this scary and heartbreaking diagnosis.)
The truth is that your dog can look healthy, picture perfect, romping around like a puppy, with a ferocious appetite and a vivid expression always ready to steal your heart — and all the while have a tumor growing in its brain, producing no symptoms. This explains why just a few months prior to the dog’s diagnosis, the general vet declared him healthy as a horse.
The question this author posed to me, however, was about routine MRI’s for the purpose of finding these tumors earlier, rather than later. In her dog’s case, the brain tumor found was described as “fairly large” and “had been there for a while.” So when was wondering if I would recommend routine MRIs for catching these brain tumors early.
The real question is whether or not it’s practical for pet parents to invest in this annual screening. In short, it sort of depends. I don’t believe most pet owners would find an annual MRI a practical expense… but most of my patients would invest in this technology if it were “warranted” by symptoms such as having regular, unexplained seizures.
We never want to hear (and I never want to say), “Your dog has cancer.” But if you ever hear those words, here are several articles that will not only encourage you, but educate you about your options:
- Learn about Betsy, living well after a Cancer diagnosis.
- Treatment alternatives for pets with Cancer.
- Coco’s parents say she is healthier and strong, DESPITE cancer.
- Here’s where to go if you don’t live in the Long Island Area but still want me to help YOU navigate a cancer diagnosis.
- Bad diet and cancer in dogs.
- Nutritional Consultations for dogs with cancer.