From Dog
Typical appearance of an ependymoma in a cut-section of a dog brain[1]

Ependymomas, a form of neuroepithelial tumor, are a rare brain tumour of dogs involving the ependymal supporting cells of the brain and spinal cord.

Ependymomas originate from the epithelium lining the ventricles and central canal of the spinal cord. They are rare, but have been reported most frequently in the German Shepherd and brachycephalic breeds, particularly the Boxer, Beagle and Maltese[2].

The gray to reddish, soft, lobular masses tend to invade the ventricular system and meninges, which may result in obstructive hydrocephalus and syringomyelia[3].

Mestastases within the CSF system may be observed. Ependymomas of the fourth ventricle may encircle the brain stem. Both epithelial and fibrillary varieties have been described.

Types of ependymomas include:

Affected dogs often present with neurological disease such as circling, seizures, proprioceptive deficits, depression, weight loss and anorexia. Clinical signs are usually sudden-onset, with signs occurring within a few weeks, but some cases may be protracted over 2 - 3 months[7].

A presumptive diagnosis usually requires CT or MRI imaging studies[8], and a definitive diagnosis requires histological analysis of biopsied tissue samples[9].

A differential diagnosis includes meningioma, astrocytoma and choroid plexus papilloma[10].

Treatment of both CNS and peripheral ependymoma usually requires surgical debulking and/or radiation therapy augmented with carboplatin[11].


  1. Study Blue
  2. Michimae Y et al (2004) Anaplastic ependymoma in the cervical spinal cord of a maltese dog. J Vet Med Sci 66(9):1155-1158
  3. Vural SA et al (2006) Ventricular ependymoma in a German Shepherd dog. Vet J 172(1):185-187
  4. Traslavina RP et al (2012) Clear Cell Ependymoma in a Dog. J Comp Pathol Dec 27
  5. Sharma MC et al (2006) Neurocytoma: a comprehensive review. Neurosurg Rev 29:270–285
  6. Rossmeisl JH et al (2012) Clinicopathologic features of intracranial central neurocytomas in 2 dogs. J Vet Intern Med 26(1):186-191
  7. Borrelli A et al (2009) Cachexia secondary to intracranial anaplastic (malignant) ependymoma in a boxer dog. J Small Anim Pract 50(10):554-557
  8. Zhao Q et al (2010) Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of canine brain tumors. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 51(2):122-129
  9. Kraft SL et al (1997) Retrospective review of 50 canine intracranial tumors evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging. J Vet Intern Med 11(4):218-225
  10. Kishimoto M et al (2008) Analysis of blood flow in a third ventricular ependymoma and an olfactory bulb meningioma by using perfusion computed tomography. J Vet Med Sci 70(9):981-983
  11. Ueno H et al (2006) Surgical and radiotherapy treatment of a spinal cord ependymoma in a dog. Aust Vet J 84(1-2):36-39