Rodents: neoplastic and endocrine disease

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A variety of endocrine and neoplastic conditions are commonly observed in rodents in clinical practice. Only some of these diseases are reported in the literature and the successful diagnosis and treatment of such diseases are is even more rarely described. There are many reasons for this, but the problems are principally: the small size of most of these species; the difficulty in obtaining adequate or repeated samples; interpreting test outcomes when rodent responses to an established cat or dog test can be highly variable; and the paucity of information on reference ranges. This chapter will list the main endocrine and neoplastic diseases likely to be encountered, give a guide to aetiology, clinical signs and the differential diagnoses and, where possible, describe treatment or management regimes. An overview of the diseases discussed for each species is given in table form at the end of each section.

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16.3 Female mouse with a mammary tumour in the right axilla. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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16.6 Rat with a mass at the ear base. This was diagnosed as a Zymbal’s gland tumour.
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16.7 Anatomical extent of mammary tissue in a female rat. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission.
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16.10 Russian dwarf hamster with a cutaneous mass. A diagnosis was not obtained in this case and the animal was euthanased. Gross appearance of the incised mass at post-mortem examination.
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16.11 Syrian hamster with lesions secondary to cutaneous epitheliotropic lymphoma (mycosis fungoides). (Courtesy of Anna Meredith.)
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16.12 Syrian hamster with suspected hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s syndrome) and secondary infection with mites. (Courtesy of Gidona Goodman.)
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16.14 Gerbil with ventral scent gland neoplasia. (Courtesy of Heidi Hoefer.)
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16.16 Guinea pig with enlarged submandibular lymph node. This animal had generalized lymphadenopathy. Lymph node biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of lymphoma. The animal was euthanased four weeks later when it became lethargic and anorexic. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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16.17 Guinea pig with benign trichoepithelioma (arrowed). These occur commonly, particularly along the dorsum. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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16.18 Bilateral symmetrical alopecia in a female guinea pig. Cystic ovaries were palpable on examination and confirmed with ultrasonographic examination. Post-mortem dissection of a female guinea pig with bilateral cystic ovarian disease. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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16.20 Ulcerated mammary tumour in a female chinchilla. This was confirmed as an adenocarcinoma on excisional biopsy. (Courtesy of Gidona Goodman.)
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