Uterine Leiomyomas in Elephants:

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Miscellaneous / Metabolic / Multifactorial Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names Uterine fibroleiomyoma in elephants
Disease Agents
  • Possibly related to oestrogen, as in humans. (P5.38.w1)
  • Abnormalities of the reproductive tract are common in captive elephants and appear to be associated with early puberty and a long delay from puberty to first pregnancy. Uterine leiomyomas appear to develop in Elephas maximus - Asian Elephant if they have not reproduced over a 10-15 year period. (J23.40.w1)
Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s)
  • --
General Description In Elephants:

Elephas maximus - Asian Elephant

  • Uterine intramural leiomyomas were described in 1981 from three captive elephant cows. (J355.44.w1)
  • Multiple fibroleiomyomas ranging in size from 0.5 to 5.0 cm (0.19 to 1.96 in) in the myometrium were found in a 46-year-old nulliparous female at post mortem examination. (P1.1989.w3)
  • A single bean-shaped leiomyoma in the uterine wall was found in a 40-year-old uniparous female post mortem. (P5.39.w2)
  • In two adult females at necropsy, incidental findings included a fibroleiomyoma in the uterus one elephant and multiple fibroleiomyomas in the uterus of the other elephant. (J238.X.w1)
  • Uterine tumours were diagnosed post mortem in eight elephants in a study population. (B450.25.w25)
  • A study for the assessment of the health and reproductive status by transrectal ultrasonography on a total of 39 female captive and wild elephants revealed a high incidence of uterine leiomyomas (35.9%) in captive Elephas maximus - Asian Elephant. (P1.1997.w1)
  • Asian elephants appear to have a relatively high prevalence (43%) of uterine leiomyomas according to a correlative post mortem and transrectal ultrasonographic study in European and North American zoos. (P5.38.w1)
    • In a necropsy study of animals dying at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and European zoos, leiomyomas had been found in the uterus of 100% of 27 elephants. (P5.38.w1)
    • Transrectal ultrasonography showed 2.0 - 20 cm (0.78 - 7.87 in) masses consistent with leiomyomas in ten of 33 elephant cows of 21 to 46 years old. (P5.38.w1)
    • Ten uterine leiomyomas cases were found in 23 necropsied individuals aged about 34 - 60 years. Masses were 2-25 cm (0.78- 9.84 in) in size and often multiple masses were found within the uterine wall. Seven of the elephants were known to be nulliparous, one was primiparous and the reproductive history of the other two animals was not known. (P5.38.w1)
    • Increased tumour occurrence and severity was noted with increasing age and with the female having a functioning sexual cycle. (P5.38.w1)
Further Information Histopathology:
  •  Examined masses were benign tumours of smooth muscle origin. (P5.38.w1)
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken).

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

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