Three cases make the point
An 8-year-old female spayed boxer whose tumor is demonstrated on a 1989 computed tomograpy image (Figure 1) had a wide surgical
excision removing all of the neoplasm as determined by skull and brain landmarks. The dog made an acceptable recovery. The
histopathologic diagnosis was anaplastic glioma. Two years later, the dog died of complications related to lymphosarcoma.
On postmortem examination, no tumor cells were noted on histopathologic examination of the brain. The defect produced from
the tumor ablation is visible in Figure 2.
Figure 2: A brain slice from the same boxer in Figure 1 showing the defect two years after the original surgery after it
had died of complications from lymphosarcoma.
A 6-year-old spayed female cocker spaniel had the neoplasm demonstrated by MRI in Figure 3. A wide excision of the neoplasm
was made, and the histopathologic diagnosis was oligodendroglioma. This tumor regrew and was removed three times, with an
adequate recovery each time. Although tumor regrowth led to this dog's eventual demise, it was a comfortable companion for
another 14 months.
Figure 3: An MRI of a female cocker spaniel. A surgical excision of this oligodendroglioma was repeated several times as the
A 10-year-old male boxer whose tumor is shown in Figure 4 had a surgical ablation 10 months ago. The tumor was determined
to be an astrocytoma. The quality of this dog's recovery is easily seen on our blog at
Figure 4: An MRI from a 10-year-old male boxer; this tumor was an astrocytoma. We are currently about one year from the original
It is not yet possible to determine when a wide ablation of deep-seated glial neoplasms will be completely successful, and
it is necessary to consider the best time for and types of adjunctive therapy that may provide more successful outcomes. However,
veterinarians should consider a wide excision of these neoplasms as a possible treatment. Alternatives are generally regarded
as palliative and of limited success. With surgery, many of these patients will realize at least 12 months of good quality
life, similar to what we can offer when treating other neoplasms.
Dr. Steinberg conceived of and opened one of the first totally referral-based private specialty hospitals in the United States
in 1977. That hospital has evolved into the VCA Veterinary Referral Associates in Gaithersburg, Md., and he was appointed
chief of staff in 2011.