Symptoms of a Feline Brain Tumor

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Cat brain tumor symptoms vary depending on the location and size of the tumor and may include things like seizures or circling. The most common type of tumor is called meningioma, which is a tumor of the lining of the brain and not the brain itself. It tends to affect older cats who are at least 10 years old.


Your cat's brain is approximately the size of a golf ball.
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Cat brain tumor symptoms

There are many symptoms for which you can look that may indicate brain tumor or feline cancer. You may notice just one of the signs, or several may be present. While symptoms generally progress in severity, in some cases, they may appear suddenly, or severe symptoms may lessen for a time before returning.


Seizures are one of the most recognizable and common symptoms of a brain tumor. They typically indicate a tumor in the forebrain. Other forebrain tumor symptoms may include pacing, circling, and misjudging distances and openings, especially on one side of the body. Depression and a change of appetite or thirst may also occur.


You may suspect a cat brain tumor if she is sneezing, but this is more likely a nasal tumor. It is possible for nasal tumors to grow into the brain, however.

Brain stem and cerebellum tumor symptoms

Tumors in the brain stem often cause vestibular symptoms, such as loss of balance, head tilt, falling or circling in the same direction as the head tilt, eye flicking, abnormal position of the eye, vocal changes, and difficulty swallowing. These types of tumors are especially dangerous, as the brain stem is responsible for many involuntary bodily functions, such as respiration. Tumors can progress to cause coma and death.


Brain tumors can affect things like balance.
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Tumors affecting the cerebellum affect your cat's posture and balance. Your cat may display balance issues by standing with her feet set wide and swaying. You may also see head tremors.


Brain tumor diagnosis

If your cat is showing symptoms of a brain tumor or is otherwise behaving abnormally, be sure to take him to the vet for an exam. Based on the results of the physical examination, your vet will likely order additional testing to confirm the diagnosis. This may include an MRI or a CT scan to locate the tumor in the brain.


Your vet may perform a biopsy, which is a procedure that takes a sample of the mass to confirm the diagnosis and determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant. Fortunately, most meningiomas are benign.

In addition, your vet may require X-rays or other imaging of your cat's body to make sure the cancer has not spread. If surgery is required to remove the tumor, bloodwork can ensure that your cat is healthy enough to be put under general anesthesia for the procedure.


Brain tumor treatment options

Surgery to remove the tumor is the most common treatment for meningiomas if it is in a location that the surgeon can reach. However, some tumors cannot be surgically removed because of the location. Brain surgery is risky, as any brain tissue that is damaged or removed with the tumor may cause continued symptoms and decreased quality of life for your cat.


Cat brain tumors are treated in much the same way as human tumors.
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Radiation and chemotherapy treatments may also be an effective way to treat brain tumors. Radiation therapy is more targeted for brain tumors but can damage healthy tissue as well.

Depending on the tumor size and location and your cat's health and prognosis, many owners opt for palliative care. This option does not treat the brain tumor but focuses on keeping the cat comfortable during the final part of her life.