Message Number: YG1718 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-25 16:02:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Compression fracture Possible tumor?

Cornelius had 2 xrays on Sat AM. He has a compression
> fracture? of the spine right where the last rib meets the back....
> spine seems to present a sway due lower back to pressure -- which
the vet
> said USUALLY is present with a tumor-- though she could not palpate
> tumor in the hip region? ... I have conferred with a vet tech who
has told
> me a guesstimate would be 50 % recovery as she has seen this
> present itself in their practice.. that the tumors do not usually
> palpable until they are advanced.

Well, I must say that i am not familiar with a tumor that can cause a
fracture of the spine with a 50% recovery rate. Any tumor that
causes a true spinal fracture would be associated with a 0% recovery -
those are tough tumors.

The most common tumor of the vertebral column that can result in a
pathologic fracture would be a chordoma. Although most common seen
at the tail tip, chordomas can appear anywhere in the spinal column.
The only wa to treat this infiltrative tumors is with amputation, to
ensure that you have removed the entire tumor. Of course, amputation
is only good on the tail, so the bottom line is that if you see a
chordoma anywhere else in the spinal column, it will eventually chew
it's way through the vertebral column, resulting in spinal injury and

Lymphoma can also be in the vertebral column (a special type called
myeloma), but this is very uncommon in ferrets. Traditional lymphoma
can affect the spinal canal, but does not usually infiltrate
vertebral bodies - it isn't tough enough to chew into bone.

If its a tumor, and it has caused a fracture - it's probably a
chordoma and this animal should not be adopted out, because the long-
term prognosis is poor.

Should pathologic examination be necessary - I'd be happy to do it
for you.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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