Fri, May 04, 2018 - Page 4 News List

University treats dog brain tumor

By Su Meng-chuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology’s resident veterinarians and medical technicians have used radiation therapy to successfully treat brain cancer in an 11-year-old male French bulldog named A-di (阿弟), a first in the nation, the university said on Sunday.

Since January, the university’s Animal Radiation Therapy Center has performed 16 rounds of therapy on A-di, which shrunk the size of his tumor and restored motor and cognitive functions, center veterinarian Yeh Li-chun (葉麗君) said.

Anesthetizing A-di was the most challenging part of the treatment, due to his advanced age and the severity of the condition, she said.

The tumor — originally 2cm — caused cerebral swelling that affected A-di’s brain functions and was inoperable because of its location, center veterinarian Hsueh Pei-chun (薛珮君) said.

Before the therapy, A-di did not recognize his owners and would get stuck walking in circles, while his appetite was also affected, Hsueh said.

The treatment, which reduced the tumor’s size to 1.7cm, enabled the dog to once again negotiate stairs, play normally and eat healthy portions, she said.

The procedure was the first time radiation therapy was successfully used to shrink and control a brain tumor in a pet in Taiwan, professor of medical imaging and radiological sciences Chang Chen-jung (張振榮) said.

While the center was established for teaching and to conduct research, it has treated more than 100 pets, he said.

Aging pets can have many of the medical conditions seen in older humans, including malignant tumors, heart conditions and kidney failure, College of Health Sciences dean Pan Ming-jeng (潘銘正) said.

Treatment for pets with cancer in Taiwan is mostly limited to surgery or chemotherapy, which tend to have unfavorable effects on the quality of life and physical functions of the animals, Pan said.

In cases where pets are diagnosed with an inoperable cancer, their owners are often forced to do nothing and wait for their pets to die, he said.

The university created the center two years ago to meet the medical needs of pets that have not been met by any other institution, he added.

A-di’s owner, a woman surnamed Liao (廖), said she adopted him as a stray nearly 11 years ago and considers him a family member, adding that she paid NT$160,000 for the treatment.

“There is nothing I will not pay to restore the health of a family member,” Liao said.

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