What is your diagnosis? Lingual mass in a dog. Academic Article uri icon


  • A 3.5-year-old female spayed Rat Terrier was presented for evaluation of a submucosal lingual mass. Fine-needle aspiration of the mass revealed a population of neoplastic cells composed predominantly of small, round cells and large, round to spindle-shaped cells, which occasionally had blunt cytoplasmic borders and multiple nuclei. The neoplastic cells had moderate to marked anisocytosis and anisokaryosis. The cytologic interpretation was malignant neoplasia, most likely sarcoma. Histopathologic examination of a biopsy specimen revealed an unencapsulated, poorly demarcated, moderately cellular neoplasm composed of individualized, infiltrative spindle cells. Elongate skeletal muscle cells with prominent, rectangular borders (strap cells) were observed. A morphologic diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma was made. Staining with phosphotungstic acid-hematoxylin revealed haphazardly arranged skeletal muscle cross-striations. Immunohistochemical staining results for vimentin, Myo D1, desmin, and myoglobin were positive, though staining intensity of tumor cells varied with the degree of differentiation. Using transmission electron microscopy, irregular, disorganized Z-bands were identified. Rhabdomyosarcomas are uncommon tumors in the dog, and rarely may involve the tongue or oral cavity. Cytologic evaluation of a rhabdomyosarcoma may reveal a pleomorphic population of cells and definitive diagnosis may require histologic examination, immunohistochemical staining, and electron microscopy.

published proceedings

  • Vet Clin Pathol

author list (cited authors)

  • Chapman, S., Nabity, M., & Calise, D.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Chapman, Seth||Nabity, Mary||Calise, David

publication date

  • March 2008