2 male and 3 female adult bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) were evaluated at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Exotic Animal Medicine Service between September 2018 and October 2019 because of severe lymphocytosis.
All 5 bearded dragons had nonspecific clinical signs, including lethargy, poor appetite, ocular discharge, and weight loss. Clinicopathologic testing revealed extremely high lymphocyte counts with morphological findings consistent with lymphocytic leukemia.
Treatment and outcome:
All 5 patients were treated with lomustine, prednisolone, and antimicrobials. In addition, 1 or 2 doses of L-asparaginase were administered when the drug was available. Partial remission was achieved in all 5 patients. One patient, after disease progression was documented, was treated with cyclophosphamide and achieved a second partial remission. One of the 5 patients was still alive and continuing to receive chemotherapy at the time of final follow-up 244 days after the initial diagnosis. Survival times (ie, times from initial diagnosis to euthanasia) for the other 4 patients were 57, 157, 330, and 416 days.
The present report represented the first description of lomustine as a primary chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of lymphocytic leukemia in bearded dragons and provided information on response to treatment, adverse effects, and survival times.