2021 AEMV Veterinary Medical Student Case Report Contest

AEMV animals cropped

 

Introduction

Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) Veterinary Medical Student Case Report Contest. Veterinary students from all over the world were encouraged to write a 2-page case report (1500 words or less) about an exotic companion mammal seen at their college of veterinary medicine or during a clinical experience.

Submissions closed April 30, 2021. Cases reports were received from eight nations:  Brazil, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, USA, and the United Kingdom. Judges from the Research Committee evaluating the case reports were blinded to the students, mentors, co-authors, and institutions at which the cases were seen.

Posted below are brief summaries of each winning case report. Each student has also been encouraged to submit their paper for peer-reviewed publication.

 

First place

Matilde Alves Ribeiro  (Student – Universidade do Porto, Portugal):

What if it’s not a trichofolliculoma? High-grade pleomorphic sarcoma with local lymph node metastasis in a guinea pig (Cavia porcellus

A 3-year-old male intact guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) was presented at the clinic with a cutaneous, excoriated mass, in the left axillary region. No additional diagnostics or surgery were accepted by the owner. Two months later the mass had increased significantly, ulcerated, and started to involve the left thoracic limb, reducing the animal’s mobility and quality of life. Surgery to remove the nodule was then scheduled. The hematological analysis performed on the day of the surgery showed the animal had a slight anemia and leukopenia. The biochemical analysis revealed the animal was slightly hyperglycemic and had a borderline low total protein. The nodule was successfully removed and sent for histopathological analysis. The lesion was diagnosed as a high-grade pleomorphic sarcoma with local lymph node metastasis. Immunohistochemistry was performed and the neoplastic cells were found to be vimentin positive and CD18 negative, confirming a sarcoma. Although the most frequent cutaneous neoplasms in guinea pigs are benign, this nodule was shown to be a highly malignant metastasized neoplasm, underscoring the importance of a timely cytological or histopathological diagnosis and prompt subsequent treatment.

 

Second place

Ivana H. Levy (Student – University of Illinois, USA):

An emerging epidemic:  Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) as a differential diagnosis in a septic domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

An 8-month female spayed rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) presented for gastrointestinal stasis, ecchymoses, and marked pyrexia 12 days after ovariohysterectomy. Bloodwork (leukopenia, thrombocytopenia), clinical signs at presentation (multifocal hemorrhage, fever, tachypnea), and a hypercoagulable state noted on coagulation panels were suggestive of systemic inflammatory response syndrome with disseminated intravascular coagulation. However, many of the examination and clinicopathologic findings were consistent with the acute form of rabbit hemorrhagic diseases virus (RHDV) and thus, this differential was considered. The patient was hospitalized and administered intensive supportive care including fluid therapy, analgesia, oxygen therapy, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and assist-feeding, but ultimately died within 12 hours of presentation. Post-mortem tissue samples were confirmed to be negative for RHDV prior to necropsy being performed. Bacterial sepsis stemming from bilateral ovarian pedicle granulomas was ultimately diagnosed. Although not confirmed in this case, RHDV is a rapidly emerging and internationally reportable disease caused by a calicivirus affecting both wild and companion rabbits. Because RHDV2 is highly contagious and exhibits high fatality rates, it should be included as a differential diagnosis for any rabbit presenting with compatible examination and clinicopathologic findings even if it has not yet been reported in a given state.

 

Third place

Arianna Rizzi (Student – The Royal Veterinary College, UK):

Treatment of large granulocytic leukemia in a rat (Rattus norvegicus) with chemotherapy

Large granulocytic lymphocytic leukemia (LGL) is a common cause of mortality in geriatric laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus). Large granulocytic lymphocytic leukemia is usually untreated and the diagnosed patients are often euthanized or die naturally. A two-year-old male domestic rat presented with lethargy and a palpable abdominal mass. A diagnosis of LGL with an unclassified white cell count of 2.48×105 was made. White blood cell (WBC) count levels above 11.06×103 are considered elevated. Following diagnosis, he was treated with chemotherapy consisting of cyclophosphamide, cytarabine, vincristine, L-asparaginase (Elspar), and prednisolone, which resulted in minimal side effects. His white cell count was monitored throughout treatment and decrease, leading to remission for 36 days. Throughout treatment, the patient was pruritic and presented with wounds which were attributed to self- mutilation and ectoparasite infections that were continuously monitored. These wounds improved by time of death. One month prior to natural death, the rat developed a multifocal ventricular tachyarrhythmia and progressive posterior paresis. To the authors knowledge, this is the first documentation of long-term chemotherapy treatment for LGL in a rat. Reports of LGL in rats are predominantly found in the F344 strain, where clinical signs and pathogenesis are well documented.

 

 

Prizes

1st Place: 1 year of FREE Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians membership

Carpenter JW (ed). Exotic Animal Formulary, 5th ed. Elsevier, 2017.

Mayer J, Donnelly TM. Clinical Veterinary Advisor: Birds and Exotic Pets. St. Louis: Saunders; 2012

Quesenberry KE, Orcutt CJ, Mans C, Carpenter JW (eds). Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents:  Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 4th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier; 2021.

2nd Place: 1 year of FREE Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians membership

Carpenter JW (ed). Exotic Animal Formulary, 5th ed. Elsevier, 2017.

Quesenberry KE, Orcutt CJ, Mans C, Carpenter JW (eds). Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents:  Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 4th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier; 2021.

3rd Place: 1 year of FREE Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians membership

Quesenberry KE, Orcutt CJ, Mans C, Carpenter JW (eds). Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents:  Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 4th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier; 2021.

Permission was obtained from the supervising clinician (required) and the owner (optional depending on local privacy laws or facility standards).

 

Learn more

Interested in learning more about exotic companion mammals? Visit AEMV.org or email aemv@navc.com for more information.
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