Minimally Invasive Technique for Administration of Chemotherapeutics via a Vascular Access Port in a Mongoose Lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012

Justin R. Schlanser1,2, DVM; Tara M. Harrison1, DVM, MPVM, DACZM; Bryden Stanley2, BSc, BVS, MACVSc, MVetSc, DACVS; Barbara E. Kitchell2, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (SAIM and Oncology)

1Potter Park Zoo, Lansing, MI, USA; 2College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, Veterinary Medical Center, East Lansing, MI, USA


Vascular access ports (VAPs) have been used for many years to address challenges associated with chemotherapy in both laboratory and companion animals.1,2,3 A 16-yr-old, female mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz) was diagnosed with a hepatocellular carcinoma on routine examination. Following tumor debulking surgery, a Le Port CompanionPort Vascular access port with 5 French catheter (Norfolk Vet Products, Skokie, Illinois, USA) was placed over the dorsum between the shoulder blades, and routed by catheter to the right jugular vein to facilitate weekly follow-up chemotherapy. Chemotherapeutics Gemcitabine (2 mg/kg i.v., Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA) and Carboplatin (10 mg/kg i.v., Hospira, Lake Forest, Ilinois, USA) were instituted once every seven days for two weeks followed by a recovery week for six cycles. The combination of the VAP, manual restraint, and operant conditioning facilitated administration of all drugs without complication and without the need for chemical immobilization. The VAP was used without complication for 6 mo and will remain as a permanent implant. Currently, the lemur remains free of any adverse signs related to the therapy and the carcinoma remains in clinical remission. Further, use of the VAP facilitated therapeutic monitoring allowing serial blood sampling throughout the course of therapy. This case illustrates how placement of VAPs can be a valuable tool in the management of serial treatments in zoo species, providing an increased ease of drug administration, while minimizing the risk to the patient through repeated immobilizations.


The authors thank the staff of Potter Park Zoo, the Diagnostic Imaging Department of the Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine Center for Comparative Oncology for their expertise and assistance with this case.

Literature Cited

1.  Cahalane A.K., Rassnick K.M., and J.A. Flanders. 2007. Use of vascular access ports in femoral veins of dogs and cats with cancer. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 231(9):1354–60.

2.  Ege C.A., Parra N.C., and T.E. Johnson 2006. Noninfectious complications due to vascular access ports (VAPs) in Yucatan minipigs (Sus scrofa domestica). J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 45(6):27–34.

3.  Graham M.L, Mutch L.A, Rieke E.F, Dunning M, Zolondek E.K., Faig A.W, Hering B.J, and H.J. Schuurman 2010.Refinement of vascular access port placement in nonhuman primates: complication rates and outcomes. Comp Med. 60 (6):479–85.


Speaker Information
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Justin R. Schlanser, DVM
Potter Park Zoo
Veterinary Medical Center
College of Veterinary Medicine
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI, USA

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