Reilly, an 8-year-old Golden retriever, just
wasn't acting herself when she first came to Texas A&M
University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Reilly's mom had
noticed the she was less active, had difficulty walking, and acted
painful. During examination, a TAMU veterinarian determined that
the source of her discomfort and disability was most likely a
problem within her brain.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of Reilly's brain was
recommended as a way to "look" for tumors, encephalitis, some forms
of strokes, and other brain diseases.
The MRI revealed a large mass, suspected to be a tumor, in the
front part of Reilly's brain (Figure 1). Various tumor types were
considered, but the MRI characteristics were strongly suggestive of
a tumor called meningioma. Meningioma is a cancerous growth of the
membranes that cover the brain. Various treatments including
surgery and radiation have been used to control meningiomas.
Chemotherapy has also shown promise as an adjunct to other
After thoughtful consideration by Reilly's caretakers,
veterinarians, and the staff at Texas A&M, the decision was
made to perform brain surgery to try to remove at least some of the
tumor. Tumor removal could help relieve pressure on the brain and
allow a definitive diagnosis via microscopic evaluation of tissue
from the mass.
A team of veterinarians, support staff, and veterinary medical
students prepared Reilly for surgery a few days after the MRI.
Reilly's family gathered in the waiting room anxious for updates
while the surgical team worked diligently in the operating room.
After completion of the surgery, an MRI was performed to determine
how much of the tumor was removed. (Figure 2)
Reilly recovered in the ICU for a few days then returned home to
her family. Improvements in her activity and comfort level were
seen shortly after her return home. According to her caretakers,
"Reilly was back to her old self."
The post-operative MRI demonstrated that a majority of the tumor
had been removed. Confirmation of meningioma was made allowing the
oncologist to choose a chemotherapeutic agent to aid in tumor
Teamwork amongst multiple specialists (radiologists,
anesthesiologists, oncologists, neurologists, surgeons) was
essential to help Reilly. While not every dog with a brain tumor
recovers as well as Reilly, the type of collaborative effort and
access to cutting-edge technology at Texas A&M University gives
each and every patient a fighting chance.