Phoenix Zoo porcupine on the mend after mammary carcinoma surgery

Nov 1, 2020, 6:30 AM | Updated: 5:55 pm
(Phoenix Zoo)...
(Phoenix Zoo)
(Phoenix Zoo)

PHOENIX — An Indian crested porcupine is recovering at the Phoenix Zoo after undergoing surgery to remove a rare cancerous mass, the zoo said in a press release Friday.

“The mass was relatively encapsulated and encompassed two mammary glands,” Dr. Jeffrey Steurer, veterinary surgeon, said. “Although the tissues were very fragile, we feel confident she will heal well.”

The 18-year-old porcupine, named Kumari, was diagnosed with mammary carcinoma after a microscopic evaluation of the large mass on her skin.

Mammary cancer is rare in porcupines, the zoo said, but shows that breast cancer can happen to animals as well as humans.

Steurer and surgical intern Dr. Fung, along with their team from Southwest Veterinary Surgical Service, removed the mass at the zoo’s Joyce Corrigan Animal Care Center.

The cancerous mass was in a “high motion area,” according to the release. Doctors had to be extremely careful during the removal due to the porcupine’s fragile skin.

According to the zoo, Kumari is recovering well from the successful surgery and will return to the zoo’s exhibit soon.

Kumari first came to the Phoenix Zoo in May of 2002 as an ambassador animal. She notably travels for local media appearances and participates in the Zoo’s various programs and camps, interacting with guests.

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Phoenix Zoo porcupine on the mend after mammary carcinoma surgery