• Open Access

Plasma Cell Myeloma in the Horse

A Case Report and Literature Review

Authors

  • David F. Edwards DVM,

    1. University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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      DVM, Department of Pathobiology, P.O. Box 1071, Knoxville, TN 37901–1071.

  • John W. Parker DVM,

    1. University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • J. Erby Wilkinson DVM, PhD,

    1. University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • R. Gayman Helman DVM, PhD

    1. Department of Pathobiology, Knox-ville, and the Animal Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
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      Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, The Texas Veterinary Medical Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.


Abstract

Plasma cell myelomas in horses have been reported infrequently. Data from 10 cases, 9 from the literature and 1 new case, are used to characterize the disease in the horse. Hot-blooded horses (7/10), specifically Quarter Horses (4/10), were most often affected. Median age at diagnosis was 11 years (range, 3 mo-22 yr) and both male (5) and female horses (5) were represented equally. Clinical findings included weight loss (6/8), anorexia (4/8), fever (4/8), limb edema (4/8), pneumonia (3/8), rear leg paresis/ataxia (3/8), epistaxis (3/8), palpable lymphadenopathy (2/8), and bone pain (2/8). Anemia (8/8) was present routinely, and in three horses, RBCs were macrocytic. Leukopenia (2/8), thrombocy-topenia (2/8), and circulating plasma cells (3/8) were variable findings. Except for abnormal protein concentrations and hyponatremia (3), abnormal results from serum biochemical analysis including hypo-cholesterolemia (1), hypercalcemia (1), and azotemia (1) were reported infrequently. Hyperproteinemia (8/9), hypoalbuminemia (7/9), and hyperglobulinemia (8/9) were characteristic but not invariable findings. Monoclonal proteins (7/7) were detected in the α2, β, or γ region by serum electrophoresis. The paraprotein's heavy chain, determined in four horses, was a subclass of IgG. Three horses had decreased concentrations of normal immunoglobulins. Variable proteinuria (trace to 4+) was detected by routine urinalysis in four of six horses. Bence Jones proteinuria was detected in one of five horses (heat precipitation) and monoclonal proteins were detected in two of three electrophoresed urine samples. Three of the horses had lytic bone lesions detected radiographically. Bone marrow aspirates were diagnostic in two of five horses. Atypical plasma cells or increased numbers of plasma cells or both were present in histologic sections of bone marrow in six of eight horses. Common extraosseous sites of plasma cell infiltration included lymph nodes (8/8), kidney (5/8), spleen (5/8), liver (3/8), lung (3/8), brain (2/8), and orbit (2/8). Two horses had intracellular and extracellular crystalline deposits.

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