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My Buddy “Butch” Diagnosed with Brain Tumor



I began reporting after Christmas on the radio show that Butch was not feeling well and we were stumped as to what the problem might be. Well, the worst of all news has come to pass regarding the illness and the Seizures that he began having in January. With only a few weeks of slowed behavior and an almost complete loss of appetite, the seizures started with no warning on January 16th. After a tough month into February and a trip to the Ohio State University Center for Veterinary Medicine Neurology Department for a complete workup and examination, it was discovered through an MRI that Butch has a tumor growing from the center of his brain and a mass of fluid roughly the size of a walnut surrounding the tumor. This tumor is called a meningioma which is relatively slow growing but nonetheless as dogs his size age roughly 5 to 7 years to 1 human year his time on this earth will be decidedly cut short. With the various treatment options available, the least objectionable (and least terrifying to him) was the use of steroids to reduce the swelling of his brain and hopefully significantly reduce the fluid built up around the tumor. This will relieve the pressure on his brain and in conjunction with the use of phenobarbital

Butch MRI from OSU

Butch MRI from OSU

 to curb the seizures, will give him the ability to function normally for the time that he has left. As he has now been on the steroid taper since Feb 23rd and finished the first round on March 27 he has done remarkably well and is basically his old self again…for the time being. He has had more good days than bad days and is fully functional. He still plays and enjoys laying in the sun but his squirrel chasing days are over. There is no way to know what has caused this, where it came from, or if there is a genetic component to it. It is very difficult to watch this middle aged dog (7 yrs 8 mos at this writing) who was healthy as a horse slow down so rapidly in the prime of his life. I am enjoying the time we are spending together while he still has good quality of life left in him. As I was ready to put him to sleep on a couple of occasions, I was persuaded that as long as he is not in pain, is functioning on his own, and still enjoying his days to ”just leave him be!” There are many people that I have spoke to that say “He will let you know when he’s had enough and his time has come.” I’m taking it a day at a time and hoping that they are correct. Only time will tell. In the mean time, we’ll just keep playing ball as long as he wants to and he’ll be eating steak every weekend!

Since many of the cancers that develop in dogs are so similar (if not identical) to those in humans the definition of “Meningioma” may apply to both.

From Braintumor.org

MENINGIOMA – These tumors grow from the meninges, the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. As they grow, meningiomas compress adjacent brain tissue. Symptoms are often related to this compression of brain tissue, which can also affect cranial nerves and blood vessels. In some cases, meningioma growth can also extend into the bones of the head and face, which may produce visible changes. Most meningiomas are considered nonmalignant or low grade tumors. However, unlike nonmalignant tumors elsewhere in the body, some of these brain tumors can cause disability and may sometimes be life threatening. In many cases, meningiomas grow slowly. Other meningiomas grow more rapidly or have sudden growth spurts. There is no way to predict the rate of growth of a meningioma or to know for certain how long a specific tumor was growing before diagnosis. Meningiomas are graded from low to high. The lower the grade, the lower the risk of recurrence and aggressive growth….read more

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