Rhabdomyomas can occur in the myocardium of the heart and skeletal muscles of the larynx, tongue and head, but are commonly reported in the left or right ventricle with lesser involvement of the atria.
Dogs clinically affected with cardiac rhabdomyomas usually present with signs related to heart disease, ranging from progressive lethargy, ascites, exercise intolerance, auscultatable murmurs to cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure and sudden death.
Dogs with laryngeal rhabdomyomas usually present with progressive dyspnoea, exercise intolerance and stridor. A palpable tumor is often felt in the throat region.
Diagnosis is difficult antemortem, and usually relies on cardiac biopsy for definitive diagnosis. However, ultrasonography of cardiac rhabdomyomas usually reveal cardiomegaly, lactescent pericardial and serosanguineous pleural effusions as well as a visible intracardiac mass.
Histologically, these tumors appear as tightly arranged, large, variably sized, ovoid to irregular, swollen myocytes. Individual cells have variably distinct cell borders with a deeply eosinophilic cytoplasm and varying degrees of cytoplasmic vacuolation due to cytoplasmic glycogen accumulation.
Immunohistochemistry is usually negative for periodic acid-Schiff and strongly positive for myoglobin, desmin and phosphotungstic acid-hematoxylin.
With laryngeal rhabdomyomas, complete surgical extirpation is usually curative.
A guarded to poor prognosis is associated with cardiac rhabdomyomas.
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