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Marley bounces back from brain surgery!

8 June 2016

Marley, a very affectionate 9 year old cat, had experienced four seizures that had occurred over the previous five months. Marley’s owners had taken him to their local vet, who had performed blood tests to rule out any blood imbalances that could cause seizures. Marley was then referred to Sinead Bennett, a member of Willows' Neurology Service, for further assessment.

On examination Marley was bright and alert and his neurological examination was normal, apart from a moderately reduced menace response in both eyes (decreased vision that can be due either to an eye problem or, as in the case of Marley, due to a problem affecting the brain). Sinead explained to Marley’s owners that seizures can be related to a disease affecting the brain, such as a brain tumour, inflammation of the brain or a stroke, however, in some cases seizures can happen without any visible cause (idiopathic epilepsy). Further investigations were recommended to help identify the cause of the seizures and best treatment options and prognosis for Marley.

Marley was anaesthetised by our specialist anaesthesia team and an MRI scan of his brain revealed a right-sided mass that was compressing the brain.

 

An MRI scan of Marley's brain revealed a right-sided mass that was compressing the brain

 

This mass had the characteristic appearance of a type of brain tumour called a meningioma. Meningiomas are the most common type of brain tumour in a cat. They grow from the meninges (membranes surrounding the brain) and are usually benign and slow growing. Surgical removal is associated with a good long-term prognosis, with a median survival time of more than three years. Marley’s owners were keen to give him the best possible chance of recovery and elected to go ahead with the surgery.

The following day, Sebastien Behr, Neurology Specialist and Sinead performed intricate brain surgery on Marley to remove the tumour after cutting away a part of the bone of the skull. Marley was closely monitored in our intensive care unit (ICU) following the operation and made an excellent recovery. Within 12 hours he was on his feet demanding affection from the ICU nurses and he was well enough to go home the following day!

At the time of discharge Marley’s owners were delighted to see him so full of beans. Marley was rested at home and was returned to Willows for his stitches to be removed two weeks following surgery. Marley’s owners are very happy as he is back to his old self and has not had any further seizures.

Marley continues to do well and is looking forward to returning to the great outdoors.

 

Marley after his operation