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Brain tumor or epilepsy?

Species: Dog
Breed: Labrado Retriever
Age: 8-11 years
Hi Dr. Marie

I have a yellow lab named Sam

He experienced seizures twice yesterday and was brought into an emergency

A doctor did blood, blood glucose, and PCV/total protein test and everything looks fine
He suspected that Sam might have a brain tumor or epilapsy
In order to diagnose Sam better, he needs to do MRI which costs $2000 and I don't think I can afford that
Is there any other possibility that causes a seizure?
Is there any other test that can diagnose Sam's illness?

Thank you

Seulki Kim


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi there and thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear that you are having problems with seizures in Sam. Seizures can be very frightening to deal with. And, unfortunately it can often be difficult to diagnose the cause of seizures.

The first thing we do when a dog has seizures is some basic bloodwork to rule out something like a liver or kidney problem and it sounds like this is what your vet did.

Unfortunately, if we can't pin the seizures on a kidney or liver problem then it becomes very hard to find the cause.

In an ideal world, every animal who has seizures should have an MRI or CAT scan done to see if there is a tumor in the brain. However, most pet owners cannot afford to have that done. AND, if it does turn out that there is a brain tumor in most cases there is nothing we can do.

I believe the reason that your vet suggested a tumor is that it is a little bit unusual for a dog to be diagnosed with epilepsy after the age of 6. However, it still is possible.

Unfortunately there is no test for epilepsy.

There are other possible causes for seizures but they are very uncommon. Some types of neurotoxins such as certain mushrooms can cause seizures. There are some parasites or infections that can cause seizures. However, we would usually see changes in the bloodwork such as an increase in white blood cells or eosinophils.

I have had some dogs however, who have a seizure, or even a cluster of seizures and then never have a seizure again.

Is Sam doing ok now? If so, if this were my case I would be recommending the MRI, but would also explain that I understand if you were not willing to go to this expense. So, if we did not do an MRI I would probably recommend simply monitoring Sam. If he continues to have seizures then I would likely start him on an anti-seizure medication which often does a very good job at controlling seizures.

I know seizures can be very frustrating. I hope that Sam does ok. Let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

He hasn't had any seizures yet and he is stable and alert.

I wish I could afford the money to do MRI scan
Anyways..
Thank you for your help Dr. Marie

Seulki


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome! I think it is quite reasonable to keep an eye on Sam for now. If he does have more seizures write down the dates of them. I generally consider using anti-seizure medicine if a dog is having several seizures per month.

I hope all goes well!

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.