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Surgery and electrochemotherapy for the treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in a yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta)

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  • 1 Centro Veterinario Gianicolense, Via Lorenzo Valla 25, Rome, 00152, Italy.
  • | 2 Second University of Naples, Naples, 81100, Italy.
  • | 3 Biopulse Srl, Via Toledo 256, Naples, 80132, Italy.

Abstract

Case Description—A 5-year-old female yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) was referred for evaluation of a 2-month nonhealing ulcerated mass on the dorsal aspect of the neck.

Clinical Findings—The turtle was quiet, alert, and responsive, with a 2 × 1.5-cm ulcerated lesion on the neck. Signs of discomfort were observed during manipulation of the neck; no other abnormalities were detected during physical evaluation.

Treatment and Outcome—Following total body radiography and hematologic and serum biochemical analysis, the turtle was anesthetized and the mass was surgically removed. The excised tissue was submitted for histologic evaluation. A histopathologic diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was made. Further surgical revision was not an option because of the extensive nature of the lesion; therefore, the tumor bed was treated with electrochemotherapy (ECT). Two sessions of ECT were performed with a 2-week interval between treatments. Electrochemotherapy involved intratumoral administration of bleomycin followed by trains of biphasic electric pulses. The treatment was well tolerated, and the turtle was disease free after 12 months.

Clinical Relevance—ECT resulted in good local control of SCC and should be considered as a possible postsurgical adjuvant treatment in reptiles with cutaneous tumors.

Abstract

Case Description—A 5-year-old female yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) was referred for evaluation of a 2-month nonhealing ulcerated mass on the dorsal aspect of the neck.

Clinical Findings—The turtle was quiet, alert, and responsive, with a 2 × 1.5-cm ulcerated lesion on the neck. Signs of discomfort were observed during manipulation of the neck; no other abnormalities were detected during physical evaluation.

Treatment and Outcome—Following total body radiography and hematologic and serum biochemical analysis, the turtle was anesthetized and the mass was surgically removed. The excised tissue was submitted for histologic evaluation. A histopathologic diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was made. Further surgical revision was not an option because of the extensive nature of the lesion; therefore, the tumor bed was treated with electrochemotherapy (ECT). Two sessions of ECT were performed with a 2-week interval between treatments. Electrochemotherapy involved intratumoral administration of bleomycin followed by trains of biphasic electric pulses. The treatment was well tolerated, and the turtle was disease free after 12 months.

Clinical Relevance—ECT resulted in good local control of SCC and should be considered as a possible postsurgical adjuvant treatment in reptiles with cutaneous tumors.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Spugnini (info@enricospugnini.net).