Spinal Tumor in a Dog

Last Modified: October 4, 2008

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My 5 year-old Golden Retriever became suddenly unable to control his back legs. A neurosurgeon did an MRI and told us he saw what looked like a tumor in his spinal column starting to press on his spinal cord. He gave him 20 mg of prednisone twice a day and recommended we put him down. He's 90% better on the prednisone. Is there any way to tell anything about his condition without a biopsy? I don't know what to expect.


Lili Duda, VMD, Section Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Menu, responds:

As in any other location, a confirmed diagnosis via either needle aspirate or tissue sample is required in order to recommend appropriate treatment (such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy) and to determine a prognosis. Without knowing more about the specifics about the location of the tumor and what specific structures are involved with the tumor, a biopsy MIGHT be combined with a surgery to decompress the spinal cord, possibly providing additional palliation in conjunction with the prednisone. Some tumors, such as lymphoma, are readily treatable and carry a reasonably good prognosis. If possible, consultation with a medical oncologist or radiation oncologist might be helpful. Other things to consider are a second opinion from a radiologist on the MRI findings, to be sure the lesion is considered most probably to be a tumor and not another condition.

ACS: Dog Cancer Therapy Success May Extend to Humans

Mar 1, 2015 - A new compound that delivers cancer-killing nitric oxide molecules via vitamin B12 receptors on cancer cells dramatically reduced the size of tumors in three dogs and could point the way for research in treating human cancers too, according to a case study presented at the American Chemical Society's 237th National Meeting, held March 22 to 26 in Salt Lake City.

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