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Guess I need to talk about this... meningioma (brain tumor) in my Border Collie

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  • Guess I need to talk about this... meningioma (brain tumor) in my Border Collie

    Well, it is looking more and more like this is what has caused my Border Collie's seizures

    Fred had his first seizure in January and we hoped it was a one off. The bloodwork came back without really telling us anything. The thought was that it was probably not epilepsy as I've owned him for 6 years without a seizure but we couldn't say for sure with the symptoms at that time.

    Then a couple of weeks ago, he had 3 more seizures in a 9 hour period so was started on phenobarbitol and a run of prednisone. He had another seizure last night *sigh*

    Once on medication, he quickly developed an increased thirst and hunger which we attributed to the prednisone, but he's been off that for several days and he is still acting as if he's starved and tries to get into his dog food several times a day despite being fed 2x a day and his feed getting upped some. It's like it's an obsession (he's a BC, they tend to go there anyways!).

    He's also halfway forgotten he's housebroken so puppy pads by the back door are a must. And the real kicker is that he is chewing up darn near everything and counter surfing sometimes to do it. Last week he got a pill bottle (his phenobarb) but didn't ingest any, and he chewed up my lizard's Repto-cal. Last night we found where he'd eaten the cardboard from a package of foil and my lunch cooler bag. Tonight it was one of my DHs slippers and *that* is not going to go over well once Eli gets home from work and I have to tell him... prior to the seizures, we had noticed an increase in bad behavior, but I put it down to him not getting out enough due to winter.

    Treatments are expensive as all get out and then the life expectancy isn't much better than without so what's the point? I can make him comfortable enough until it's time to let him go.

    More than anything, I guess I'm just venting... I love this dog and he's going to be leaving me far too soon! Other than the behavioral issues and some hind end weakness, he's still the old Fred and looks just fine and it's hard to stomach that I will be lucky to have him only a few more months
    ~ Shannon Hayden ~

  • #2
    Hugs - Never easy to deal with this, but you have an "answer" to what is wrong and have made a very hard, but educated and kind decision. Sometimes we hold on too long. Fred will let you know when he feels its time to go. Love him, enjoy his company and remind yourself when its time, you are doing it for him. Hugs.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you I never could see the point in prolonging an animal's suffering for my sake. I had to let my wonderful old Siamese cat go back in August due to lymphoma and I'm still not over that!

      Fred was a Humane Society find- a real "diamond in the rough" so to speak. 6 years ago I walked into a dog kennel filled with dogs jumping and barking and doing their best to make you pay attention to them and then there was this kind looking Border Collie standing there gently wagging his tail while his kennel mate bounced off of him. I pulled him out of the kennel and went to sit outside with him and found he didn't know much but he tried. Went home to tell Eli he needed to talk me out of this dog, and Eli said that he couldn't talk me out of anything I wanted LOL

      Fred came home and we got to know each other and went through obedience training and then joined a Search and Rescue team. Fred has been on quite a few searches over the past few years but we're semi-retired now. Here is our group's PSA: http://youtu.be/7-r_XPlx73c Fred is the BC and that's me with him

      He's happily worn Mardi Gras beads and bunny ears for photo-ops. Everyone loves him and he's never met a stranger!
      Last edited by spookhorse; Feb. 15, 2012, 11:10 PM.
      ~ Shannon Hayden ~


      • #4
        Spookhorse, I am truly sorry for this heartache. It feels impossible to say goodbye, I know. Thinking of you and your boy and saying prayers for you both.

        Please keep us updated. I know it can be hard to write, but putting it all down for others to share can be incredibly therapeutic, and so many of us have been down the road ourselves, we can give you support.
        "The slogan will take you like lemmings to the cliff. You'll feel better than ever, and into the abyss... There'll be no more war, there'll be no more choice." PiL


        • #5
          I am so sorry that he & you are having to go thru this. I'm wondering if the steriod use has increased his glucose levels even though he's off of it now. It sounds like hyperglycemia with the hunger & peeing. Just a thought. Might be one symptom that you can control with diet.
          I'll be praying for you all with this. I've lost 2 dogs to cancers. Didn't treat either one as it would not have given them any relief from symptoms & would not have prolonged their lives. We just celebrated every day we had.
          Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


          • Original Poster

            Increased hunger and/or thirst (or decrease in both), loosing housebreaking, behavioral issues, and loosing training along with the seizures are all symptoms matching up with him having a tumor in the front lobe.

            The prednisone can cause the increased hunger and thirst, but it's been several days now. The increased thirst has gone away, but Fred *knows* he's not allowed to counter surf or try to get into things and anytime in the past that he's ever done such things, no one was home (separation anxieties). Now he is doing these things with us here, we are in another room and come in to find he's done something. I was in the shower when he hit the slipper tonight (oh yay I get to tell Eli soon!) and he's never touched anything in the bedroom before.
            ~ Shannon Hayden ~


            • #7
              Hugs, I'm sorry you're going to be losing your friend.


              • #8
                I'm sorry that you and your dog are going through this


                • #9
                  My dear old Sheltie had seizures this past October, and had been havin a personality change for almost a year. Vets couldn't really find anything out normal with him (we did xrays and bloodwork), so we put him on phenobarbitol and just kept an eye. Same as your guy - he forgot his housebreaking, forgot all the tricks that he knew, and almost seemed like he was in his own little world. I didn't want to do an MRI on a 16 1/2 year old dog, so I never knew if it was a tumor or what.

                  Anyway - I finally lost him just before Christmas. He lived a good life and he knew he was loved every day that I had him.

                  It's hard when they start changing like that. It's almost like they are already starting to leave you in spirit.

                  Give him a big hug and love on him until he tells you it's time. You'll know. Worst thing about having pets is seeing them decline, and then needing to say goodbye.


                  • #10
                    I'm so sorry for what you are going through.

                    I have to run, but wanted to mention, a friend who adopted one of my dogs nearly a decade ago, did an MRI and had the menigioma removed after she started seizing. She still needs seizure meds, but it's been well over a year now, and the dog is doing well with a good quality of life. She just graduated vet school, so it's easier to absorb the costs for her than in many other situations. However, I'm sure she'd be happy to talk to you if you had any questions. Her dog was treated in NYC.

                    Originally, she asked for my advice and I told her, I probably wouldn't have treated her if I still had her. Seeing how well she's done has changed my decision. Of course, everyone's situation (and every pet's situation) is different. There is no easy or right answer.

                    Lots and Lots of hugs.


                    • Original Poster

                      FP, my DH and I talked about cost and we can't, in good conscience, spend the kind of money it would take to do an MRI and treatments to get a few more months or a year out of Fred. It's not that we don't think he's worth it, it's just that our resources are not unlimited and we're not vet school graduates with contacts.

                      We will do what we can within reason to keep him comfortable.

                      Thanks for everyone's thoughts and hugs
                      ~ Shannon Hayden ~


                      • #12
                        I'm so sorry. I just put down my beloved heart dog last week (see thread, "help me ease the pain"). I know I can't say anything to make you feel better but just know that you've got people thinking about you and your dog and sending virtual hugs....
                        Amwrider: May the fleas of a thousand camels infest their genitalia and may their arms be too short to scratch.


                        • #13
                          I'm so sorry you're going through this .

                          The phenobarbital can also cause profound increased hunger, thirst and urination so I wouldn't expect those signs to go away just because you've stopped the prednisone. If it's unmanageable, tell your veterinarian and they can work with you to come up with a solution.


                          • Original Poster

                            Invested1 and Roxy- I am in tears for you! I'm so sorry that you've lost your dear ones...

                            This is far too soon... I've only had him 6 years, I expected so many more And I only lost my heart cat, Simon, back in August (lymphoma) so I am still raw.

                            It's like his training and instilled inhibitions are slipping away. Fred is a pretty well trained dog- he graduated basic obedience easy enough and went on to SAR training and has his CGC certification. He has been trustworthy in the house uncrated for *years* now I can't leave him alone for a minute before he's getting into something. His instant recall is turning into looking at me with his head tilted like he's got to think about it *sigh* His instant "leave it" command has turned into "keep going until mom's foot stamps and she raises her voice." He started getting into Eli's backback the other night right in front of me!

                            I am going to pick up a baby gate today so I can put him into one room and take out anything chewable. I can't crate him constantly
                            ~ Shannon Hayden ~


                            • #15
                              Spookhorse - right back at ya....I know your pain. Lots of hugs from Gopher and me!
                              "Apparently, no amount of telling people to keep their heels down, keep their eyes up and sit back can keep them from falling off if that's what they're intent on doing." H. Cargill


                              • #16
                                Yes, hugs !! This sucks !


                                • #17
                                  Big hugs to you. I work in a veterinary neurology office and see these heartbreaking diagnosis' made every day. Medical management is not a bad thing and i hope you get some more quality time with your dear friend.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    An update for ya'll...

                                    The seizures have been coming every couple of weeks- just one or two in a day since he got on the phenobarb.

                                    But now he's had 4 in a roughly 24 hour period. He had two the night before last, first one at 11pm-ish and the second sometime after he'd settled down from the first. Per the vet's instructions he got an extra pill the next time he got a pill after that (breakfast time). He had a further seizure around 6pm yesterday evening and got an extra pill at dinner time (so double dosed). Last night around midnight he had yet another seizure and spent most of the night doing his typical pacepacepace around and around the room, whining a lot, falling or stumbling around, he peed on a rug even after having gone outside, etc. Needless to say, I've had very little sleep.

                                    He seems to have lost his sense of smell as I dropped his kibble all over the floor this morning and unless he saw it, he didn't go after it- he's a SAR dog, he knows how to use his nose so this is definitely something.

                                    His instilled training is almost gone, getting a "sit" out of him is almost impossible unless it involves his "treat" (phenobarb pill in a little bit of canned cat food on a spoon), "down" "leave it" and "away" are pretty much gone. I pretty much have to yell at him to get his attention.

                                    He is still mostly house trained, but that is really slipping. He peed twice on rugs in my room yesterday with me right here. He can't be trusted not to chew up random items and will do it even if I'm in the house but he's not in my presence. He ate the vacuum cleaner last weekend

                                    I'm just sitting here waiting to call the vet when they open to see what they say...
                                    ~ Shannon Hayden ~


                                    • #19
                                      Jingles for you both.
                                      McDowell Racing Stables

                                      Home Away From Home


                                      • Original Poster

                                        We took Fred into the vet this morning and made the heartbreaking decision to let him go. The "diagnosis" is brain tumor or lesion as we had thought and the next step in his seizures would likely have been a "cluster" in which he may not come out of the seizures. Given his prevalence of having seizures in the middle of the night, we decided it was kindest to let him go now. His anxieties were increasing daily and with each seizure and he is at peace now. R.I.P Fred- doggie BFF and SAR dog
                                        ~ Shannon Hayden ~