The Zoological Companion Animal Medicine Service works closely with the Oncology Department at the Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to ensure the best care for exotic animals with challenging tumors. Radiation therapy, intralesional therapy and various systemic chemotherapeutics have been used with success in a variety of exotic species.

Dr. Graham is currently seeking cases of avian squamous cell carcinoma for a project to establish avian tumor cell lines. If you have diagnosed any pet birds with squamous cell carcinoma that could potentially participate in this project please contact Dr. Graham at or by phone at 508-887-4745.

At Your Service: Zoological Companion Animal Medicine

Zoological Companion Animal Medicine (ZCAM) provides emergency and critical care for avian and exotic pets available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wellness examinations and routine care are also provided. The ZCAM clinicians have years of experience treating numerous exotic species, including birds, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, rodents, special small mammals (such as chinchillas or hedgehogs), reptiles and amphibians. The department has 2 dedicated ZCAM clinicians (Drs. Jennifer Graham and Julie DeCubellis) and 1 dedicated technician (Jessica Leonard) for 6-day-a-week coverage. The ZCAM ward is specifically designed for the care of avian and exotic patients and includes avian incubators, oxygen cages and specialty reptile hospital caging with 24/7 video and audio patient monitoring. Specialists in surgery, radiology, critical care, nutrition and internal medicine assist in providing in-depth case management for special species. Services include endoscopy, dentistry, radiology, ultrasonography, blood-work testing, avian and exotic animal surgery and advanced diagnostics including infectious disease testing. Advanced imaging such as CT, MRI and fluoroscopy are available for exotic patients. Appointments are generally available Monday through Saturday. The ZCAM liaison is Rose Shaughnessy, who can be reached at 508-887-4745.

Clinical Case Challenge

Figure 2

Figure 2

History: A 6-year-old female spayed Lionhead rabbit presented to Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals with a one-day history of inappetance. She also had a recent history of urine scald. On physical examination the rabbit was noted to be overweight with increased subcutaneous and abdominal fat stores. The results of a complete blood count revealed a leukocytosis (26.2 x 103cells/µl; reference range, 5 – 12 x 103cells/µl) with a lymphocytosis (23.4 x 103cells/µl; reference range, 1.25 – 6 x 103cells/µl). Continue reading

Current Concepts

Thymoma in Rabbits

Rabbits normally have a large thymus that is placed cranial to the heart and extends into the thoracic inlet. Thymoma, thymic lymphoma and thymic carcinoma have all been reported in rabbits. Thymic lymphoma and carcinoma are rare in rabbits.The overall incidence of thymoma in rabbits is low (around 7% of reported neoplasms in 55 colony rabbits) with no apparent sex predilection. The mean age at presentation is 6.7 years based on one survey of 19 cases. Rabbit thymomas are generally slow growing and are potentially locally invasive tumors that rarely metastasize. Continue reading