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To determine the most common indications for cranial surgery and identify risk factors associated with the occurrence of complications and death in the perioperative period following cranial surgery.


150 dogs and 15 cats.


For this multi-institutional retrospective case series, medical records of dogs and cats that underwent cranial surgery at any of the 4 participating institutions between 1995 and 2016 were reviewed. Variables were evaluated included species, sex, age, neurolocalization, history of preoperative seizures, surgical approach, histological results, perioperative complications, and outcome. Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess for risk factors for complications.


The most common neurolocalization was the forebrain (110/165 [66.7%]), with 94 (57.0%) animals having had seizures preoperatively. The rostrotentorial (116/165 [70.3%]) and caudotentorial (32/165 [19.4%]) surgical approaches were most commonly reported. The most common indication was the treatment of meningioma (75/142 [52.8%]). Complications arose in 58 of the 165 (35.2%) cases within 24 hours and in 86 (52.1%) cases 1 to 10 days postoperatively. Perioperative complications included hypotension (38/165 [23.0%]) and anemia (27/165 [16.4%]). During the postoperative period, the most common complications were neurologic deficits, seizures, postoperative anemia, and aspiration pneumonia. The mortality rate with death or euthanasia perioperatively or ≤ 10 days postoperatively was 14.5% (24/165). Long-term complications occurred in 65 of the 165 (39.4%) animals, with seizures and neurologic deficits being the most common.


Cranial surgery was performed most commonly for the removal of neoplastic lesions in dogs and cats, and most complications were not life-threatening.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association