Innovation

MR spectroscopy: Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), also known as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, is a non-invasive analytical technique that has been used to study metabolic changes in brain tumors, strokes and other diseases affecting the brain. Dr. March is currently leading a clinical trial to evaluate the use of the technique for the definitive diagnosis of primary brain tumors and strokes.

Stem cell therapy for immune-mediated meningoencephalitis: Dr. March is conducting a trial designed to determine whether after initial stabilization with current treatment approaches, stem cell therapy allows dogs to remain in clinical remission.

Intervertebral disk disease: Dr. Faissler recently completed a clinical trial evaluating the use of trophic factors such as platelet rich plasma and erythropoietin for stimulating spinal cord repair in paraplegic dogs with loss of pain perception in both hind legs – analysis of the results is pending.  We are planning and continuing to explore  novel treatment options for dogs with severe spinal cord damage, including stem cell transplantation. Under the supervision of Dr. Faissler, Dr. Sutton is investigating prognostic factors for paralyzed dogs with intervertebral disk herniation. Our hypothesis is that the degree of dispersion of extruded disk material correlates with outcome.

Brain surgery:  Dr. Faissler has introduced intracranial pressure (ICP) during and, most importantly, after brain surgery.  Knowledge of ICP has improved patient outcomes. Dr. Faissler has also developed a technique for closing large skull defects resulting from cranioectomies which uses a combination of titanium and bone cement. Because titanium is non-ferromagnetic, MRI for assessment of tumor control can be performed during the postoperative period.

Clinical Case Challenge

Case description

Figure 1: A saggital T2 - weighted view of brain and upper spinal cord. The abnormal findings include generalized enlargement of the ventricular system and significant central intramedullary hyperintensity over C1 and C2.

Figure 1: A saggital T2 – weighted view of brain and upper spinal cord. The abnormal findings include generalized enlargement of the ventricular system and significant central intramedullary hyperintensity over C1 and C2.

A 1.5 year old neutered Labrador retriever, Rimadyl, presented to the Neurology Service at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals for a two week history of neck pain. Rimadyl improved for about one week, however, clinical signs then progressed with an uncoordinated gait and dragging of all four legs. Continue reading

At Your Service

The Neurology Team at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals

Our goal is to offer the best treatment and care for dogs and cats with neurological disorders – including brain, spinal cord, muscle and nerve diseases -seven days a week. New appointments are available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Re-checks are seen on Fridays. All appointments can be scheduled by calling 508-887-4696. On weekends and holidays we are available for consultations via the emergency/critical care service. Surgical procedures, EMG and nerve conduction studies and hearing tests are performed every weekday except Tuesday. MRI, a highly effective, commonly used test for brain and spinal diseases, is available daily from 9am-5 pm.

Picture 1 - Neurology service Pick 006 c

The neurology team is comprised of 2 faculty neurologists, 3 neurology residents and 2 certified veterinary technicians.

Phil March, DVM, MS, DACVIM, a graduate of Ohio State University, finished his neurology residency at Tufts University in 1991. After working as a neurologist for years he returned to Tufts University in 2006. His major clinical interest is medical neurology including epilepsy, brain tumors, meningoencephalitis and syringohydromyelia.

Dominik Faissler, DVM, DECVN, a graduate of the University of Bern, Switzerland finished his neurology residency at the University of Bern in 1997. He joined Tufts in the fall of 2000. He is a dedicated neurologist and neurosurgeon. His major interests include brain tumors, chronic cervical spinal cord compression and intervertebral disk disease. Continue reading

Current Concepts

Canine meningioma:
Diagnosis and Treatment Options in Dogs

Picture 1: The transfrontal approach through the frontal sinus to the frontal lobe of the brain

Picture 1: The transfrontal approach through the frontal sinus to the frontal lobe of the brain

The diagnosis of a brain tumor is devastating news for most pet owners. It may be hard to make a decision on what to do during this time. The term “brain tumor” simply means a mass within the skull. Due to their location brain tumors – whether they are benign or malignant – will have malignant biological behavior to them. The brain is surrounded by a rigid skull which gives little space for volume expansion. A growing or invading tumor adds more tissue to this closed space. Initially the patient can compensate for the volume increase, but overtime, as the mass continues to grow, the rising pressure on the brain compromises its function. Brain herniation, or physical displacement of a portion of the brain into an adjacent compartment within the skull, is a rare but serious life threatening complication of increased intracranial pressure. Continue reading