Veterinary Surgeons Perform Brain Surgery NJ


The Cutting Edge: Tales from “under the knife” at NorthStar VETS: 24 Hour Emergency Veterinary and Specialty Center in NJ

From pet emergency to the Operating Room (OR) Meet this feline tail: “Big Cat,” as he under goes a very challenging brain surgery.

Watch a clip from surgery here!

“Big Cat,” a 13-year-old cat presented to our 24-hour veterinary emergency room complaining about having trouble urinating, lack of appetite, feeling weak, and trouble getting around.  His owner explained that sometimes when he walks his legs would just “give out.”

When he went to see his regular veterinarian his blood work, and x-rays were all

Big Cat

Big Cat is Resting Comfortably after Surgery

reported to be normal.  Unsure of what the cause of Big Cat’s symptoms were, his vet sent him to see his friends at NorthStar VETS to check out the scoop.  Upon his admittance to the veterinary referral hospital he received a work up that included more blood work, x-rays, an abdominal ultrasound and internal medicine consult was planned.

Big Cat’s blood work, x-rays, and ultrasound all proved to be normal.  Big Cat was then diagnosed with a primary neurologic condition localizing to the cerebellum or cervical spine.  An MRI was performed to determine the cause of his ataxia (dizziness) the cause of his ataxia was due to a large contrast enhancing mass in his brain.  His options were only 3: Medical Management, Radiation Therapy, and Surgery.

Big Cat was placed on prednisone and improved to the point where he could walk on his own without any help however he was still having trouble emptying his bladder. Then, upon consult with a radiation oncologist it was determined that this mass, aka a meningioma would respond at such a slow rate that radiation would not be a viable option.  Down to the last straw, Big Cat’s last hope was surgery.

And so it was written.  A surgical plan between board-certified surgeons Dr. Laura

Culbert and NorthStar VETS chief of staff and surgeon Daniel Stobie began to formulate.  Their plan: A suboccipital approach to the cerebellum to remove the tumor.

This is perhaps the most challenging intracranial surgical approach due to the small degree of exposure obtainable and to large venous sinuses that are present in this area.  In addition, to the challenging approach are the challenges of anesthesia, so Dr. Reid Groman would assist here.  Blood pressure and intracranial pressure would need to be precisely monitored.  Blood loss, and blood oxygenation during surgery is also a large concern.  During his surgery Big Cat was maintained on injectable anesthetics to keep blood pressure up and intracranial pressure down to minimize respiratory depression.

The surgery was performed and the tumor was successfully removed.   Histopathology (examining of tissues to study the manifestations of disease) confirmed a cerebellar meningioma or a brain tumor.  Big Cat successfully recovered over the next 4-5 days and his health greatly improved by the time of discharge from NorthStar VETS.

When he was rechecked Big Cat was able to walk with minimal assistance and is even acting more like himself, responding to his name, to affection and eating everything in sight.

This tail is just one of many tails that are saved and benefit from 24 veterinary emergency care at NorthStar VETS in New Jersey.   Our hospital offers cutting edge technology, and board certified veterinary specialists to give your companion the best care possible. In the event of a veterinary emergency you can rest assured that we are here to help 24/7/365, just call 609.259.8300.

Stay tuned for more tales from “The Cutting Edge.”

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