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Giant cell sarcoma managed with forelimb amputation in a harbour seal (Phoca vitulina geronimensis)
  1. Molly Martony1,
  2. Judy St Leger2,
  3. Claire Erlacher-Reid2,
  4. Hendrik Nollens3 and
  5. Todd Schmitt3
  1. 1Aquatic Animal Health Department, University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  2. 2Veterinary Services, SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Florida, USA
  3. 3Veterinary Services, SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Molly Martony; mollymartony{at}


A 22-year-old harbour seal (Phoca vitulina geronimensis) presented with a subcutaneous mass on the right dorsal carpus. The mass measured 5 cm by 2 cm and was firmly attached to the underlying tissues. Cytology from fine-needle aspiration was consistent with a soft tissue sarcoma. Surgical resection was attempted, however complete excision was prohibited by extensive local invasion. Histopathology results confirmed a moderately cellular, infiltrative, non-encapsulated giant cell sarcoma. Subsequent surgical amputation of the forelimb was performed successfully, with the animal making a full recovery. No radiographic evidence of reoccurrence was identified three years following the surgical procedure. This is the first described case of forelimb amputation in a pinniped. When complete tumour resection is unattainable, forelimb amputation may serve as an alternative or adjunct to medical management of neoplasia in phocids.

  • marine mammals
  • neoplasia
  • aquatic organisms
  • surgery
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  • Contributors All individuals listed as authors have agreed to be listed and approve the submitted version of the manuscript. Each author contributed to data collection, analysis, interpretation and manuscript writing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No additional data are available.

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