Brain surgery saves life of cat

August 3, 2020

A specialist referral vet centre has saved the life of a beloved pet cat by carrying out an intricate surgery to remove a huge tumour that was severely compressing the right side of its brain.

Fabio Stabile, RCVS and European specialist in veterinary neurology at Southfields Veterinary Specialists, in Essex, carried out the complicated procedure on 16-year-old cat, Ben, after an MRI scan revealed the large mass, which was causing unusual behaviour in the family pet.

Fabio said: “A first examination confirmed a constant circling to the right and complete detachment from people and the environment.

“Ben was blind in the left eye and was suffering from decreased postural reaction on the left-hand side of his body, too.

“It was suspected Ben had a disease in the right caudal part of the brain as the left side of the body is controlled by the right part of the brain and vision in the left eye is controlled by the most caudal part of the right brain.

“Ben underwent an MRI scan of the head which revealed a large mass, most likely a tumour, which was severely compressing the right side of the brain.

“The mass was so large, Ben’s brain was completely displayed caudally, almost herniating from the skull.”

An added complication was that the tumour was positioned extremely close to one of the brain’s main blood vessels, making the operation a potentially life-threatening procedure.

So, before beginning the challenging surgery, Fabio used the MRI images to calculate precise measurements and positioning of the tumour and also to assess if there was any secondary complication associated with it.

Fabio added: “Ben underwent a delicate supratentorial partial craniectomy in order to expose and remove the tumour, which was compressing his brain.

“One of the main brain blood vessels was very close to the tumour, which made the removal very challenging indeed.

“If the blood vessel had been attached to, or inside, the tumour, Ben could have potentially bled to death.

“Other risks were the possibility of an epileptic seizure or brain arrest which can happen unexpectedly during surgery.”

Happily, for Ben and his owners, the operation was a total triumph with Fabio able to successfully remove the whole tumour.

Fabio said: “Once the tumour was exposed, delicate instruments were placed between Ben’s brain and the tumour to minimise any contact with the underlying normal brain tissue and allow us to remove it in its entirety.

“A post-op examination of the tumour revealed it was a transitional meningioma, a tumour of the meninges which wraps around the entire nervous system.”

Southfields, which is part of Linnaeus, provides specialist services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology and neuro-surgery, oncology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.