A captive adult female muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) was found dead without previous signs of disease. At necropsy, abdominal organs were infiltrated with a poorly demarcated, soft, tan tissue. Microscopically this tissue was composed of neoplastic cells assuming two distinct growth characteristics consistent with Antoni A and B patterns. Ultrastructurally, the neoplastic cells were pleomorphic, lacked junctional devices, had abundant mitochondria and ergastoplasm, and frequently were closely associated with extracellular collagen. Immunocytochemical examination of tumor cells demonstrated sporadic expression of neuron specific enolase. Microscopic tumor metastases to the myocardium, ascending aorta, lungs and visceral pleura were present. This is the first report of a sarcoma compatible with a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor in a muskrat.
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