Tumor of the Meninges Average Cost

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What are Tumor of the Meninges?

A tumor of the meninges, or meningioma, in cats refers to a tumor in the matter that lines the brain. Since the meninges is not actually brain material, this type of condition is not technically a brain tumor. In effect, they have the same impact as brain tumors in that they occur in the brain cavity and compress the brain matter, causing neurological issues. Meningiomas are typically benign, or non-cancerous, but still may seriously impact your cat’s health.

Symptoms of Tumor of the Meninges in Cats

The symptoms of a tumor of the meninges in your cat will vary depending on the size and exact location. Since different regions of the brain are responsible for different types of behaviors, the symptoms may be quite different in each case, but will always be neurological in nature. Symptoms may include:

  • Visual impairment
  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Evidence of neck or back pain
  • Seizures
  • Falling over, stepping or tripping over own feet, or other movement issues

Causes of Tumor of the Meninges in Cats

The underlying cause of tumors of the meninges in cats is unknown. However, in young cats meningiomas are sometimes associated with a rare condition called mucopolysaccharidosis type I. This is thought to be a genetic disorder that causes grossly abnormal neurons in the brain and spinal cord. 

Diagnosis of Tumor of the Meninges in Cats

Any diagnosis of a tumor of the meninges in your cat will begin with a thorough physical examination. Your vet will examine your cat in order to track eye movement, observe response time to stimulus of the paws and make note of how your cat is walking. Your vet will need a complete health history of your cat, including a timeline for onset of symptoms, whether the symptoms have gotten worse or improved over time, and any previous medical history.

Your veterinarian will also want to order laboratory and other tests in order to provide an accurate diagnosis. A urinalysis is often requested to determine if your cat is producing any abnormal chemicals in their urine. Your veterinarian may also want a sample of your cat’s cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid circulates within the brain and spinal cord area of your cat.

The most accurate and efficient method of diagnosing a tumor of the meninges in your cat will be by MRI, CT scan or similar imaging method. X-rays do not adequately provide an image of the brain tissue underneath the skull and therefore are not a good diagnostic tool for identifying meningiomas.

Treatment of Tumor of the Meninges in Cats

The course of treatment of a tumor of the meninges in your cat will depend on the size and location of the tumor. Any tumor, or growth, in the brain is harmful as it increases the pressure by taking up additional space in a confined and enclosed area. Removal or reduction in size of the tumor are the most desirable outcomes and there are two main approaches to treatment.

Surgical Removal

Surgical removal of the tumor of the meninges in your cat has the overall best outcome in all cases. Surgical removal allows the veterinarian to be sure that all tumor material has been excised, lessening the chance that the tumor will return. Surgery on the brain or head area can be potentially risky. In addition to the normal risks associated with anesthesia, surgery on the brain area must be a precise procedure and surrounding areas could potentially suffer damage. 

Reduction in Size through Chemotherapy

In some cases, such as when the size or location of the tumor in the meninges makes surgery impossible, your veterinarian may attempt to reduce the size of the tumor through the use of chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy has been shown to effectively reduce tumor size and to halt growth temporarily. Since meningiomas tend to be slow growing tumors, chemotherapy makes a particular good option for inoperable locations. Additional growth of the tumor down the line can be treated with additional chemotherapy sessions.

Recovery of Tumor of the Meninges in Cats

If removal or reduction in size is achieved for the tumor of the meninges in your cat, prognosis for recovery is excellent. For surgical removal, it will be critical to follow postoperative care instructions in order to eliminate the chance of infection and to promote healing. For chemotherapy, immune support may be needed to help fighting off secondary infections from your cat’s reduced immune health following chemo.

Any reduction in the size of the tumor in your cat’s brain area should have an immediate effect on the neurological symptoms. In some cases, permanent damage may have resulted and total recovery of complete neurological function may not be possible. In these cases, it is still possible to monitor and support your cat’s health through modified eating and sleeping arrangements.