- Case report
- Open Access
Surgical resection of peripheral odontogenic fibromas in African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris): a case study
© Wozniak-Biel et al. 2015
Received: 3 October 2014
Accepted: 17 June 2015
Published: 4 July 2015
Neoplastic lesions of the mammary gland, lymph nodes, or oral cavity in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) are common in captive animals. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy protocols have not yet been established for the African pygmy hedgehog. Thus, surgical resection is the current treatment of choice in this species.
A 5-year-old male African pygmy hedgehog showed multiple erythematous, round small tumors located in the oral cavity, on both sides of maxilla. The treatment of choice was surgical resection of tumors using a surgical knife under general anesthesia. Excised neoplastic lesions were diagnosed as peripheral odontogenic fibroma by histopathology. Six months after surgery relapse of tumors in the oral cavity was not observed.
The treatment adopted in this case report is safe for the patient and provides the best solution for mild proliferative lesions of the oral cavity. To our knowledge this is the first report of surgical resection of oral tumors (peripheral odontogenic fibroma) in the African pygmy hedgehog.
The African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) has become a very popular pet in Poland in the last few years. It is smaller than the European hedgehog and is a member of the insectivore family Erinaceidae, subfamily Erinaceinae. African pygmy hedgehogs are domesticated animals and live for about 5–7 years in captivity. They possess 36 brachyodontic teeth: 2(3/2,1/1,3/2,3/3) with the first incisors being notably longer than the rest, and are spaced apart .
In studies of hedgehogs at histopathology of surgically resected tumor or necropsy approximately 40 % of hedgehogs aged from 1 month to 3 years were diagnosed with neoplastic disease [2, 3]. The most common histologic types of tumors are mammary gland adenocarcinoma, lymphoma, and oral squamous cell carcinoma [2, 4, 5]. The digestive tract, including the oral cavity, is the third most common site of neoplastic disease in hedgehogs . Chemotherapy and radiotherapy protocols have not yet been established for the African pygmy hedgehog, and therefore, surgical resection is currently the best treatment in cases where the tumor is benign, well separated from the healthy tissue and without metastases.
Medical knowledge, veterinary care, and the awareness of African pygmy hedgehog owners are ever increasing. The average life span of domesticated animals is prolonged compared with wild animals. This situation predisposes domesticated hedgehogs to more frequent development of tumors, including oral cavity. In addition, it is well known that periodontal disease, tooth root abscesses, and various neoplasms (e.g. squamous cell carcinoma, lymphosarcoma) occur frequently in African pygmy hedgehogs >3 years old .
Peripheral odontogenic fibroma (previously named as fibromatous epulis of periodontal ligament origin) is a peripheral odontogenic neoplasm, indistinguishable clinically from fibrous hyperplasia, most common in dogs, and rarely occurring in cats. The prognosis following surgical removal is good [6, 7].
To our knowledge, this is the first case report of surgical resection of a peripheral odontogenic fibroma in the African pygmy hedgehog. The significance of this case report is that it will enable veterinary clinicians to familiarize themselves with the surgical resection of benign oral tumors (peripheral odontogenic fibroma) in the African pygmy hedgehog and consider the peripheral odontogenic fibroma as other primary neoplasm of oral cavity in this species.
After surgical procedures, atipamezole hydrochloride (Antisedan; Zoetis) 0.3 mg/kg IM and meloxicam (Metacam; Boehringer Ingelheim, Ingelheim, Germany) 0.2 mg/kg subcutaneously were administered . The patient’s condition was monitored until it reached full consciousness.
The excised tumors underwent fixation in 7 % buffered formalin, were embedded in paraffin blocks, and 6 μm slides were cut. The preparations were stained using the standard hematoxylin-eosin method , and subsequently evaluated using light microscopy using WHO guidelines for the evaluation of oral cavity tumors. Photomicrographs of the preparations were obtained using computer-amplified image analysis and an optical microscope (Olympus BX53; Olympus, Tokio, Japan). Histopathological analysis was conducted using the cell^A software (Olympus Soft Imaging Solution GmbH, Münster, Germany).
Results and discussion
According to the literature, the most common tumors of the gastrointestinal tract in hedgehogs are oral squamous cell carcinoma, intestinal adenocarcinoma, acinic cell carcinoma, metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, plasmocytoma, and lymphoma [4, 17–19]. Raymond and Garner  diagnosed 35 (53 %) neoplasms in a group of 66 hedgehogs. In three of the 35 animals, more than one type of tumor was present. The authors revealed that 85 % of the tumors were malignant . Raymond et al.  indicated the presence of malignant mast cell tumor in adult African hedgehog. This tumor was located subcutaneously, along to ventral part of the neck with metastasis to local lymph node . In other studies, the authors revealed the evidence of a probable retrovirus associated with multicentric sarcomas in two 3 years old hedgehogs, male and female . In our case, the investigated tumor was benign. Nonetheless, its location in the oral vestibule, which caused the animal’s discomfort, pain, and risk of hemorrhage, was an indication for surgery.
An early and accurate diagnosis is essential for positive prognosis, curative treatment, and fast recovery in hedgehogs. The resection of oral cavity tumors in the African pygmy hedgehog carried out in this case report can be successfully applied by veterinary clinicians. The established protocol is safe for the patient and provides the best solution for mild proliferative lesions of the oral cavity. To our knowledge this is the first report of surgical resection and histological description of oral tumors (peripheral odontogenic fibroma) in the African pygmy hedgehog.
Publication supported by Wrocław Centre of Biotechnology, programme the Leading National Research Centre (KNOW) for years 2014-2018.
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