Management of a geriatric alpaca with multiple neoplasms in a zoological setting
03 Jun 2020
Moittie, S., Dobbs, P., Waine, K., Ashfield, S., Baiker, K.
During a routine health check, a 22-year-old female alpaca presented with an infected mass on the sternal pad. A squamous cell carcinoma was diagnosed on histopathology. Systemic antibiotics and topical treatment were initiated. Thoracic radiographs and blood analysis showed no abnormalities; therefore, surgical resection was performed, and the wound was allowed to heal by second intention with therapeutic laser therapy. The treatment plan for this animal was developed with the collaboration of the keeping team and zoo managers and considered the health status of the animal, overall prognosis and the possibility of frequent restraints with minimal stress. Six months after initial presentation, the alpaca showed dramatic weight loss and severe urine scalding with a mass identified in the urinary bladder and was euthanased on welfare grounds. Postmortem findings included squamous cell carcinoma metastases in the tributary lymph nodes and in the lung, adenocarcinoma in the lung, and a polyp in the urinary bladder.