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Description of the prevalence, histologic characteristics, concomitant abnormalities, and outcomes of mammary gland tumors in companion rats (Rattus norvegicus): 100 cases (1990–2015)

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  • 1 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 5 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 6 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe the prevalence, histologic characteristics, concomitant abnormalities, and outcomes for various types of mammary gland tumors in companion rats (Rattus norvegicus).

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 100 client-owned rats.

PROCEDURES Medical records of companion rats that had an SC mass and were examined at a veterinary teaching hospital between 1990 and 2015 were reviewed. Information regarding the signalment, age at mass detection, reproductive sterilization status, histologic diagnosis of the SC mass, location of the initial and all subsequent SC masses, treatments administered, and clinical outcomes was extracted from each record and summarized.

RESULTS 105 SC masses were initially detected in 100 rats. The most prevalent SC mass identified was mammary gland fibroadenoma (56/105 [53%]), followed by mammary gland carcinoma (13/105 [12%]). Overall, 26 of 105 (25%) masses were malignant. Sexually intact males were more likely to have nonmammary SC tumors than sexually intact females. In rats receiving no adjunctive treatment after excision of a mammary gland fibroadenoma (n = 16), a second fibroadenoma was detected 1 to 8 months after initial excision, at a median of 4.5 months after surgery. A concomitant pituitary gland tumor was identified in most rats with mammary gland fibroadenoma (21/28 [75%]) and other types of mammary gland tumors (10/17 [59%]). Fourteen of 35 (40%) rats with mammary gland fibroadenoma had concomitant reproductive tract abnormalities.

CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that, like other species, companion rats with SC masses should undergo a thorough diagnostic workup that includes histologic examination of the excised mass.

Contributor Notes

Dr Vergneau-Grosset's present address is Zoological Medicine Service, Faculté de medicine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 2M2, Canada.

Dr. Goldsmith's present address is Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada.

Address correspondence to Dr. Vergneau-Grosset (claire.grosset@umontreal.ca).