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


The Zoological Companion Animal Medicine Service works closely with the Oncology Department at the Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to ensure the best care for exotic animals with challenging tumors. Radiation therapy, intralesional therapy and various systemic chemotherapeutics have been used with success in a variety of exotic species.

Dr. Graham is currently seeking cases of avian squamous cell carcinoma for a project to establish avian tumor cell lines. If you have diagnosed any pet birds with squamous cell carcinoma that could potentially participate in this project please contact Dr. Graham at or by phone at 508-887-4745.

At Your Service

Zoological Companion Animal Medicine (ZCAM) provides emergency and critical care for avian and exotic pets available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wellness examinations and routine care are also provided. The ZCAM clinicians have years of experience treating numerous exotic species, including birds, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, rodents, special small mammals (such as chinchillas or hedgehogs), reptiles and amphibians. The department has 2 dedicated ZCAM clinicians (Drs. Jennifer Graham and Julie DeCubellis) and 1 dedicated technician (Jessica Leonard) for 6-day-a-week coverage. The ZCAM ward is specifically designed for the care of avian and exotic patients and includes avian incubators, oxygen cages and specialty reptile hospital caging with 24/7 video and audio patient monitoring. Specialists in surgery, radiology, critical care, nutrition and internal medicine assist in providing in-depth case management for special species. Services include endoscopy, dentistry, radiology, ultrasonography, blood-work testing, avian and exotic animal surgery and advanced diagnostics including infectious disease testing. Advanced imaging such as CT, MRI and fluoroscopy are available for exotic patients. Appointments are generally available Monday through Saturday. The ZCAM liaison is Rose Shaughnessy, who can be reached at 508-887-4745.

Clinical Case Challenge

Figure 2

Figure 2

History: A 6-year-old female spayed Lionhead rabbit presented to Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals with a one-day history of inappetance. She also had a recent history of urine scald. On physical examination the rabbit was noted to be overweight with increased subcutaneous and abdominal fat stores. The results of a complete blood count revealed a leukocytosis (26.2 x 103cells/µl; reference range, 5 – 12 x 103cells/µl) with a lymphocytosis (23.4 x 103cells/µl; reference range, 1.25 – 6 x 103cells/µl). Continue reading