Message Number: YG1457 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-19 21:55:00 UTC
Subject: Re: mast cell tumors

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., kjmscepan@h... wrote:
> I was out of town for a couple of days, but when I returned, my
> husband showed me that one of my ferrets had a large dried spot in
> the middle of his back. I took him to the vet the next day, and he
> said that he had a mast cell tumor. The spot had evidently bled
> there was dried blood. The vet was sympathetic, said mst's are
> mostly benign, but that since he could feel a nodule on Buck's
> he thought surgery was best. Buck is almost 8 years old.
> is our other option, costing more than surgery, and I trust our
> I only want to know what kind of a recuperation would Buck most
> likely experience from surgery since he is almost 8. I understand
> that you can only provide opinions, & that you must
have "Disclaimer"
> at the bottom of your name, but I am only curious about the recuper-
> ation after surgery. What are your thoughts, Dr. Willliams.

Well, I'm sure that the other vets have thoughts too, but I'll go for
this one. Mast cell tumors are almost always benign - in fact I've
only seen one malignant one, and there is only one reported in the
literature (one and the same.)

This particular tumor had no skin lesion, so based on the odds, it is
very likely that Buck's skin MCT and his splenic lesion are not

However, an aspirate of the enlarged spleen may shed further light on
the matter. While I would not be against a healthy 8-year-old
undergoing a splenectomy if the spleen is causing significant
lethargy, I doubt that I would rush into abdominal surgery at this
point. If the nodule can be aspirated, I'd do that first.

There is no real rush to take out that mast cell tumor - it will wait
until the spleen is worked up.. If Buck was 3, 4,or even 5 - I'd say
let's just take out the spleen, but at 8 years - I think a bit of
caution is appropriate for ol' Buck.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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