Could you please post this anonymously since ferrets are illegal in
We have had ferrets for almost ten years now. Our current family is
Zoot, Cutout, Lupine and Spiney Norman (points to anyone who can make
the connection). We had always tended to buy small females, until a
pet store salesperson mis-identified Spiney and we didn't bother to
check, so our youngest is a male. He's already much larger than the
others and they don't think much of his play habits which involve
plopping down on top of them. All are fixed.
Cutout is a four year old female who is all white in color but not an
albino (is there a name for that). She has been healthy except
for developing cateracts at a very early age (1).
Recently we noticed a fairly large bump on the left side of her neck.
Having encountered cancers in ferrets before (Lupine has had reoccuring
skin tumors, fortunately none recently) and having read about them on
here we feared the worst.
It turned out to be about a 2cm mass. The vet said it appears to be
growing over the trachea. Since the tumor is vascular in nature, an
attempt to collect cells for biopsy with a needle (needle aspiration
biopsy) was unsuccessful. Instead of cells, it just drew blood.
A small tissue specimen was taken surgically and sent for pathological
evaluation. There was no thyroid tissue in the specimen but the initial
diagnosis is lymphosarcoma. While a larger specimen would be needed
to confirm the diagnosis, there was a great deal of bleeding during the
biopsy. Our vet doesn't want to attempt to take a larger specimen
and she feels certain that attempting to remove the mass would kill
I know that some of you have had ferrets with cancer. Have any of you
had experience with lymphosarcoma, and if so did the ferret undergo
chemotherapy? Our vet would like to talk to any doctor experienced in
ferret chemo. Any information, preferably a phone number, would be
appreciated. We need to act as soon as possible. Please post here or
relay through our kind moderator.
[Posted in FML issue 0263]