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An adult female captive pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) was diagnosed with an oral anaplastic sarcoma. The tumor was surgically debulked and intralesional chemotherapy with mitomycin C (0.4 mg/cm3 of tumor) and cisplatin (1 mg/cm3 of tumor) was administered. Chemotherapeutic treatment proved difficult due to the risks of repeated anesthetics and unknown drug efficacies. Marked proliferation of the mass was observed during estrus, and chemotherapy was repeated as an experimental treatment to slow tumor progression in order for the animal to remain in the species breeding program. Tumor proliferation was detected during the first trimester of pregnancy; however, in the lactation period, the mass became quiescent. No adverse reactions to chemotherapeutic drugs were observed and the animal continues to be monitored for tumor progression. This is the first report of an anaplastic sarcoma and of chemotherapy use in a pygmy hippopotamus and it highlights logistical considerations for treating neoplasia in this species.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the american association of zoo veterinarians

Publication Date





260 - 264


Animals, Artiodactyla, Sarcoma, Mouth Neoplasms, Cisplatin, Mitomycin, Antineoplastic Agents, Estrous Cycle, Pregnancy, Female