Message Number: YG1805 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-28 00:34:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Mo - has my vet stumped

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Diane Burman" <dmburman@r...> wrote:
> Well, this past week I decided we needed to know what was going on
with Mo. I guessed a hairball (there have been quite a few with this
problem in the Christmas rescue group) or an ulcer or maybe even
insulinoma. Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be any of these
things. He has dialated cardiomyopathy (with no fluid in the abdomen)
and something going on with his lungs, stomach & intestine. What
really has my vet stumped is his lungs. You can see the small spots
across the bottom of his lungs on the x-ray. The vet also said that
there is a digestion problem because he might have a mass in his
stomach and there was a lot of air in his intestines. The x-rays have
been sent out to a radiologist because my vet said he had never seen
anything quite like this in a ferret's lungs before. My vet's concern
is that this my be a malignancy (lymphoma?) that is affecting his
lungs, stomach & intestines. I think it's still possible that it
could be a hairball in his stomach but I guess he's not the best
surgical candidate with significant heart disease. BTW, his glucose
(fasting) was 109 so I guess insulinoma is pretty much ruled out. The
vet said the rest of his blood work was all fine (I have a copy here
if it would help to post it).

> So far since the vet visit he continues to do well and has had no
spells of lethargy or teeth grinding that I have seen. Any thoughts
on what might be ailing him other than the heart problem? What might
those spots be in his lungs?

Unfortunately, you just can't make a diagnosis on an X-ray without
seeing it. Those spots can be tumors, or could simply be cross-
sections of large blood vessels. Without knowing where they are or
the size, or whatever, you can't say anything coherent.

What options does he have for diagnosis and treatment if he has a
heart condition?

If the diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, it does limit the diagnostic
options. There really is no point in discussing treatment options
without a diagnosis. Ultrasound may be a viable option, as it does
not always require general anesthesia, which would be risky in a
ferret with heart disease. Of course, the bloodwork is a good

>If he had lympho, wouldn't some of his blood work have been "off"?

No - it doesn't have to be. In many cases of lymphoma, the neoplasm
appears as solid tissue tumors within lymph nodes or visceral organs,
and there are no atypical lymphocytes or markedly elevated levels of
normal blood lymphocytes to tip you off. In these cases, the tumors
are silent until enough tissue has been damaged to result in
deficient function and organ-specific values are elevated.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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