On June 1, 2009, our female red wolf (#1227) at the Museum of Life and Science had surgery to remove a large mass from her chest. The surgery was a great success and the results of the pathology are in. We hope you enjoy this rare inside look at a surgery being performed on one of the rarest species in the world!
The mass was a type of soft tissue sarcoma called a Hemangiopericytoma. This means the mass was, in fact, cancerous. These sarcomas are typically seen on the limbs, or more often the hock region, of dogs. However, these sarcomas are considered "low-grade", which means they rarely metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. But they do tend to reoccur locally, so there is a chance that another mass will appear on her chest again at some point.
For right now, #1227 is doing very well and her quality of life is excellent. In the meantime, we are consulting with oncologists, our veterinarians, and members of the red wolf species survival plan (SSP) to figure out the best course of action from here. We will continue to post updates as we learn more about our options and figure out our next steps on the Museum blog mlsanimaldepartment.blogspot.com/
The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the most endangered animals in the world, a shy species that once roamed throughout the Southeastern United States. Currently approximately 100 red wolves live in the wild, while another 182 individuals live at 42 captive breeding facilities across the US such as zoos and museums.
The two red wolves living at the Museum are part of the Red Wolf SSP. Every summer the SSP management team meets to decide which wolves should live together and where they should live. The length of time the wolves will remain at the Museum is currently unknown.