Uterine Adenocarcinoma

Etiology:  The etiology of uterine adenocarcinoma is unknown, however, endocrinologic factors may play a role.

Incidence:  Uterine adenocarcinoma is the most common tumor of rabbits.  The incidence of neoplasia is most common in Dutch, New Zealand White, and California breeds.  Prevalence may be up to 50% in rabbits 5 years or older.

Clinical Signs:  Females with this tumor have a history of reproductive disturbance prior to detection of the tumor.  Fertility is diminished, litter size is reduced, stillbirths are more numerous, and desertion of the litter by the doe is common.  Other symptoms include dystocia, fetal retention in utero, and fetal resorption.  The period of altered reproductive function precedes tumor detection by 6 to 10 months.  The duration in time between clinical detection and death (usually post-metastasis) is 12 to 24 months [1, 2].

Pathology:  Histologically, the events of tumor progression are characterized by increasing degrees of epithelial cell dedifferentiation and anaplasia with an increase in the vascular, myxoid, and stromal areas and loss of cellular elements such as cilia and secretory vesicles.  Areas of necrosis are not uncommon in mature tumors (A.). 

Diagnosis:  Uterine nodules (B.) can be palpated or observed on radiographs, ultrasound, or laparotomy.  Diagnosis is confirmed with histopathology.


1.            The Laboratory Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, And Other Rodents. 1 ed2012, 225 Wyman Street, Waltham, MA 02451: Elsevier.

2.            Quesenberry, K.E., Carpenter, James W., Ferrets, Rabbits, And Rodents Clinical Medicine And Surgery2003, 11830 Westline Industrial Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63146: Saunders.