Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Rhabdomyosarcoma on the forelimb of a common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)

Malignant mesenchymal tumours are only rarely reported in turtles. In the present case, an 8-year-old female common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) was presented with a solid, reddened, non-mobile mass on the right forelimb. The mass had a thin, membranous lining and a grey-white cut surface. Histological examination revealed a cell-rich, focally infiltrative neoplasm consisting of spindloid tumour cells arranged in bundles and streams. Rarely, indistinct cytoplasmic cross-striations were seen in the neoplastic cells. Transmission electron microscopy revealed cytoplasmic, disorganized muscle fibrils and haphazardly arranged, attenuated Z-lines in the neoplastic cells. The histological, histochemical and ultrastructural findings led to the diagnosis of a rhabdomyosarcoma. This is the first description of rhabdomyosarcoma in a freshwater turtle.


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