Our young adult dog has seizures and now the vet thinks he may have a brain tumor. What do we do next?

Question: 

Our 5 year old boxer has been experiencing seizures that started 7-8 months ago.  It started with 1 every few weeks and now has progressed to sometimes 8-10 per day.  He had been put on phenobarbital, then potassium bromide, and now has another anti-seizure medicine which was added. He is currently taking a mix of (12) pills per day:  4 phenobarbital, 6 of the new medicine and 2 potassium bromides per day.  He still has seizures. Some of his symptoms include pacing (circles around rooms), loss of balance, he no longer can walk down the stairs on his own, confusion, he's just not the same dog as he was.  Because of this, we have cut back the phenobarbital on our own to 3 per day in which now the seizures have gone back to 8-10 per day.  The seizures do come in clusters.

Our vet on our last visit told us that he believed it was a brain tumor and not just epilepsy, and that it was time to consider putting him down.  He also suggested seeing a neurologist, which is what our next step is to get a second opinion only.  Based on the symptoms and the medicine not working properly, do you feel this is more than just epilepsy? Are there other possibilities of what this could be?

Answer: 

Mason’s case certainly sounds complicated.  Your family veterinarian suggested a board certified veterinary neurologist as a next step.  This step is important, as a complete medical history and physical exam with a veterinary neurologist could help narrow down the cause of your dog’s seizures. Neurologic conditions in pets can be very complex so it is hard to say what other factors may be causing seizures.  Please work with your family veterinarian to find a board certified neurologist in your area to provide a thorough case review and the second opinion you seek.