Clinicopathologic Findings of Spontaneous Leukemia in 9 Pet African Hedgehogs ( Atelerix Albiventris ).

Research paper by Iori I Koizumi, Daniela D Hernandez-Muguiro, Shelley Ann Ash SAA Chu, Tracy T Stokol, Midori Goto MG Asakawa

Indexed on: 14 Mar '20Published on: 03 Mar '20Published in: Frontiers in veterinary science


Previous reports of leukemia in hedgehogs are limited. We describe clinicopathologic features of leukemia in 9 hedgehogs, including eosinophilic leukemia ( = 3) and acute leukemia/leukemic phase of lymphoma ( = 6). All 3 hedgehogs with eosinophilic leukemia were older than 2 years of age; in contrast, 4 of 6 cases of acute leukemia/lymphoma were <2 years old. Hedgehogs presented for non-specific clinical signs of anorexia and lethargy. On hematologic testing, hedgehogs with eosinophilic leukemia had a marked leukocytosis, consisting mostly of eosinophilic precursors with fewer mature eosinophils, whereas there were 43-97% immature cells (blasts) in the blood of hedgehogs with acute leukemia/lymphoma. Anemia ( = 6) and/or thrombocytopenia ( = 6) were concurrent findings. Increased liver enzyme activities (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase) and hypoalbuminemia were the common findings on biochemical panels. All cases of eosinophilic leukemia and 4 cases of acute leukemia/lymphoma died shortly after diagnosis (median 7 days, range 0-41 days), whereas 2 cases of acute leukemia/lymphoma lived for 94 or 101 days. Postmortem examination in 5 cases (1 eosinophilic leukemia, 4 acute leukemia/lymphoma) showed bone marrow infiltrates, confirming eosinophilic leukemia and acute leukemia in 1 and 3 cases, and bone marrow necrosis in 1 animal with acute leukemia/lymphoma. Immunohistochemical staining of bone marrow sections confirmed a T-cell acute leukemia in 1 case. Several hedgehogs had concurrent carcinomas. Hedgehogs suffer from eosinophilic leukemia and acute leukemia/lymphoma. However, classification of acute leukemia by lineage was not possible due to lack of hedgehog cross-reactive or species-specific reagents. Copyright © 2020 Koizumi, Hernandez-Muguiro, Chu, Stokol and Asakawa.