For the first time, a surgical team of world-class veterinarians performed an innovative brain surgery procedure last week known as transsphenoidal hypophysectomy, saving the life of a ten-year-old boxer named Anna suffering from an aggressive form of tumor growth. While such surgery is now becoming common for humans, it is truly groundbreaking for a canine.
The Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Pituitary Team poses for a photo with Boxer Anna, her guardian Sundays Hunt and American Dog Rescue Founder Arthur E. Benjamin Front Row: Anna (First TSH patient at WSU) Second Row (From left to right): Tina Owen, Arthur Benjamin, Sundays Hunt, Abby Thomson (4th year veterinary student) Third Row (From left to right): Tom Jukier (Neurology intern), Annie Chen-Allen, Linda Martin, Megan Bauer (4th year veterinary student) (PRNewsFoto/American Dog Rescue Foundation)
American Dog Rescue founder Arthur Benjamin provided the necessary resources for the operation after doctors determined that Anna was suffering from an aggressive form of Cushing’s Disease, a common condition in older dogs that occurs when a tumor grows near the pituitary gland, impacting adrenal gland functionality. This ground-breaking operation would not have been possible without ADR’s critical funding.
Mr. Benjamin, a well-known and successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, spends his time between Salt Lake City, Dallas, and Boca Raton. He is a leader in these cities and nationally in numerous non-profits that support animal rights and the welfare of homeless pets, breast cancer and the education of inner-city kids.
“Finding innovative ways to prolong the lives of animals with improvements in their quality of life is important to me,” said Mr. Benjamin. “This operation is a ground-breaking procedure that will serve to help thousands of animals suffering from Cushing’s Disease.”
Dr. Tina Owen of Washington State University Vet Hospital said this particular surgery was really a challenge but very successful.
“This is a surgery performed to remove a tumor from the pituitary fossa usually originating from the pituitary gland,” Dr. Owen explained. “The pituitary fossa is approached through the mouth via an incision in the soft palate to gain access to the basisphenoid bone and pituitary fossa. This surgery is technically challenging and post-operative recovery requires extremely close monitoring.”
This surgery was the only remaining option to prolong Anna’s life. Poodles, Boston Terriers, Dachshunds, and Boxers have the highest incidence of the disease. The success of Anna’s surgical approach brings new hope for dogs throughout the world plagued with this life-threatening ailment.
“It was the joint efforts of Internist Melissa Tucker (Utah Veterinary Center), renowned Oncologist Nick Bacon (University of Florida Veterinary College, Gainesville) and the Texas A&M team that identified and did their due diligence to find a solution to the unique and complex issues Anna faced,” ADR Founder Arthur E. Benjaminsaid. “Together, this group of experts located and concurred upon Dr. Owen’s surgical operation over other more traditional approaches, leading to a successful outcome that otherwise was impossible for Anna. We owe them and the Washington State University Veterinary Team a debt money alone cannot repay. It takes a village to make this kind of an impact for dogs worldwide.”
Sundays Hunt, Anna’s guardian and Utah State Director of The Humane Society of the United States, expressed her appreciation to ADR.
“It’s my privilege to both see Anna ‘fixed’ and to be part of the future of medicine here at WSU,” Hunt said.