Canine orbital rhabdomyosarcoma: a report of 18 cases. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: To describe clinical and pathological features of canine orbital rhabdomyosarcoma (COR). METHODS: Retrospective review of patients with COR from the archives of the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (1983-2014). RESULTS: Eighteen cases of COR were identified, all diagnosed in an 8-year period (2006-2014). Affected dogs were typically young (range 1-8; median 2years), and both sexes were equally represented. Common clinical signs included exophthalmos (16/18) with dorsolateral deviation of the globe (10/18) and elevation of the nictitans (12/18). Ultrasonography, performed in nine cases, revealed an orbital mass with mixed echogenicity and posterior globe indentation. Advanced imaging, performed in nine cases, demonstrated a soft tissue mass with variable contrast enhancement and lysis of the orbital bones (5/9). Histologically, all tumors were subclassified as embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. All neoplasms demonstrated positive immunohistochemical labeling for desmin, and 14/18 were positive for skeletal muscle actin. Follow-up information was available for 15/18 cases. Older dogs, aged 6-8years, had no clinical signs of recurrence or metastasis 8-13months postdiagnosis (4/4). Most younger dogs (9/11), aged 1-4years, were euthanized within 6months (median 2.5months) of diagnosis due to recurrence at the surgical site (5/9) and/or metastasis (5/9). CONCLUSIONS: Canine orbital rhabdomyosarcoma is a highly malignant neoplasm in juvenile dogs, but may be amenable to surgical resection in older dogs. This duality in biologic behavior may reflect differences in tissue of origin between juvenile onset tumors and adult onset tumors.

published proceedings

  • Vet Ophthalmol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Scott, E. M., Teixeira, L., Flanders, D. J., Dubielzig, R. R., & McLellan, G. J.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Scott, Erin M||Teixeira, Leandro BC||Flanders, David J||Dubielzig, Richard R||McLellan, Gillian J

publication date

  • March 2016