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Fire ignition during laser surgery in pet rodents

Tommaso Collarile1, Nicola Di Girolamo1*, Giordano Nardini2, Ivano Antonio Ciraci1 and Paolo Selleri1

Author affiliations

1 Clinica per Animali Esotici, Centro Veterinario Specialistico, Via Sandro Giovannini 53, Rome, Italy

2 Clinica Veterinaria Modena Sud, Spilamberto, MO, Italy

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Citation and License

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:177  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-177

Published: 26 September 2012



Laser surgery is an attractive alternative to other means of section device in terms of tissue inflammation and interaction, which has been extensively used in human and veterinary medicine. Although accidental ignition during laser surgeries is sporadically reported in human medical literature, to the authors’ knowledge this is the first report regarding laser-dependent fire ignition during surgery in veterinary medicine.

Case presentation

Two rodents, a 13-month old, 27-gram, male pet mouse (Mus musculus) and a 1-year old, female Russian hamster (Phodopus sungorus), underwent surgical removal of masses with diode laser. During the surgical procedures fires ignited from the face masks. The mouse presented severe burns on the head and both forelimbs, it was hospitalized and approximately 2 months after surgery burns were resolved. The hamster presented severe burns on the face and the proximal regions of the body. At 72 hours from the accident the hamster was euthanized.


The present report suggests that fire ignition is a potential life-threatening complication of laser surgery in non-intubated rodents maintained under volatile anesthesia. High oxygen concentrations, the presence of combustible, and the narrowness of the surgical field with the face mask during laser surgery on rodents are risk factors for fire ignition.

Laser; Rodent; Pet; Surgery; Fire; Ignition; Face mask; Burn