Hello again. We want to welcome back our readers to this article continuing the series on how our veterinarian neurologist, Dr. Gorgi, uses advanced imaging such as a veterinary MRI to discover abnormal masses within your pet and treat them accordingly.
We discussed before how we, as veterinary specialists, go about diagnosing these health complications. One of our previous blog posts summarized the subject very well and provided readers with a useful list of symptoms that could reveal potential complications with their pet’s central nervous system. You can visit that article by clicking right here.
We would like to mention again from that other article that pet owners, even if initially overwhelmed due to alarming news, should keep in mind that a brain tumor diagnosis doesn’t immediately translate into a hopeless situation. Your pet’s caregivers will do everything they can to help your pet get better whenever possible.
So what options are available to veterinary caregivers following a brain tumor diagnosis? It all depends on the type of tumor we discover. Remember that even if we see something that worries us after using our vet MRI systems, we still need to take a tissue sample to determine what it is and what treatment to plan.
Treatments Available to Your Pet
Determining what we can do for your pet is highly dependant on several factors when we diagnose a brain tumor. We will lay out all the options we consider and when each of them may be appropriate. However, even if all this information is highly beneficial to pet owners, you should always consult with a veterinary neurology specialist to care for your pet if the need arises.
Surgical Removal of a Brain Tumor
Surgery is one of the most common treatments initially considered by pet owners when they hear about a brain tumor diagnosis.
This treatment option aims to either completely remove the malignant mass or alleviate clinical signs by decompressing the brain. Keep in mind for this point that any mass growing near your pet’s brain will apply pressure on it, resulting in behavioral changes like the ones we discussed in previous articles.
In some situations, a surgical option can be life-saving. However, before we suggest this option to treat your pet, we need to analyze the brain tumor’s location and position about the brain.
Fortunately, most brain tumors in dogs are meningiomas, whose location on the brain’s surface makes them ideal candidates for surgical removal. Pet owners should also consider that dogs are more susceptible to brain tumors than cats and should plan veterinary consultations accordingly.
Tumors located near the brainstem are more challenging to remove due to their position in a highly sensitive area. Of course, all of your pet’s brain is sensitive, but this area, in particular, is difficult to reach, and it does not have much redundancy. When there are tumors in this critical area, any complication could prove fatal.
Other types of brain tumors, like Gliomas, are challenging to any veterinary neurologist because they form deep within your pet’s brain.
Cats develop brain tumors that are usually easier to remove than those afflicting dogs, so a cat’s prognosis following surgery is generally better.
Some veterinary centers will also recommend Radiation to help slow down brain tumor growth rate if they determine the presence of primary brain tumors using a Veterinary MRI. Still, this method might work better in conjunction with an initial surgery to remove as much of the Tumor as possible.
The idea is to allow your pet to be as strong as possible before starting them on radiation therapy. Your pet’s brain cannot tolerate large doses of radiation, which is why they have to be under general anesthesia for each session. We would not recommend this method if your pet is not strong enough to tolerate the effects of general anesthesia first.
Please consult with your pet’s veterinary neurologist about how they will administer the more manageable doses of radiation to complete the therapy and what to expect from the treatment.
Properly planning the doses of radiation your pet has to endure can help prevent the development of severe late effects and improve your pet’s quality of life. You should still note that your pet may experience some secondary effects like:
- Changing hair color in the radiated area
- Irritation of the radiated area
These secondary effects should diminish after the treatment finishes.
Your pet’s brain is protected thanks to a natural barrier called the Blood-Brain Barrier. Unfortunately, this protective barrier limits the effectiveness of chemotherapy in pets. The delivery of agents to combat a patient’s brain tumors remains a challenge that requires additional therapies and multidisciplinary teams.
Chemotherapy is still a reasonable alternative to radiation when treating certain types of tumors, but only a professional team can determine this. Make sure to get the necessary help if you suspect your pet may be suffering from this type of complication.
Getting Help After a Veterinary MRI Reveals a Tumor
If you’ve read our previous article on how we diagnose a brain tumor in your pet, you know that it’s not only about getting a veterinary MRI to show that there is something wrong with your pet’s central nervous system. Pet owners have to be very attentive to any clinical signs like seizures, tremors, vomiting, and other symptoms we’ve listed before.
Look for specialized help as soon as you can to provide your pet with the required care. Talk to our veterinary neurologist for more guidance. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 949-716-9270.