From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-27 22:42:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Ferret dying??? Need help
--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., mikeacy@y... wrote:
> Thanks Doctor for responding. No, no other test were performed.
> They just went by his ultrasound. We are still feeding him and yes
> he is eating on his own also. It is hard for him to get around
> without the use of his feet. My children say they do feel a mass
> the base of his stomach on one side. Is this the adrenal gland?
> Mike Tucciarone
At this point, I would suggest a complete blood count and further
workup. If that mass can be isolated and pressed up against the
abdominal wall, then it can be aspirated. Based on the location, I
surmise that it may be the spleen, but can't be absolutely sure.
This particular workup is not complete, and I would be hesitant to
simply start on prednisone without fully diagnosing the abdominal
mass, or establishing lymphoma as the cause of your ferret's symptoms.
While I am not saying at this point that it cannot be lymphoma, my
general advice is that lymphoma can only be diagnosed based on a
biopsy (or at minimum, a carefully examined aspirate) and should not
be diagnosed expeditiously on clinical signs, radiographs, or
peripheral blood smears. Because the prognosis associated with
lymphoma is generally poor, we want to make sure that we have a
definitive diagnosis in every case.
With kindest regards,
Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
Join the Ferret Health List at
> --- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Bruce Williams, DVM"
> > --- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., mikeacy@y... wrote:
> > >Bandit is 3. About 2 months ago he started to scratch
> > > serverly. So much so that he was loosing his hair around his
> > > and forming scabs. We took her to the vet and the vet
> > an
> > > antibiotic to clear up her cuts caused by the scratching and
> > > Benadryl. The vet thought the ferret was having an allergic
> > reaction
> > > since he seemed fine otherwise. He was eating and drinking.
> > we
> > > were not happy with the diagnosis so decided to get another
> > opinion.
> > > This second vet felt that a ultra sound was necessary. We had
> > > done and the results showed (so they say) an enlarge adrenal
> > a
> > > tumor on the pancreas, and lymphoma. (sorry for all the mis-
> > > words).
> > I'm not seeing any mis-spelled words here. One thing that I am
> > concerned about here, is that there may be an overdiagnosis by
> > ultrasound (you don't mention if there are any other tests
> > An ultrasound is like an X-ray - it shows differences in density
> > between tissues. You can pick up enlargement of various tissues,
> > increase in density (or a decrease in density), but it is
> > to establish exactly the cause of these changes in many instances.
> > While the ultrasound can fairly accurately predict an adrenal
> > due to the enlargement of the gland, it poorly predicts
> > tumors or lymphoma totally on its own. Enlargement in the
> > can be aging changes (hyperplasia of the exocrine, or
> > o the pancreas, rather than the endocrine, or hormonal part of
> > pancreas), or a pancreatic lymph node. Lymphoma is also a
> > call on ultrasound alone - an enlarged node can be enlarged due
> > reactive hyperplasia in response to inflammation in the GI tract,
> > much more often than it is a tumor.
> > Of course, bloodwork is very helpful in confirming these
> > but you don't mention that it was ever performed.
> > The vet gave no hope for the ferret except prednisone. This
> > > was a month ago. We have been feeding bandit by hand. We have
> > been
> > > giving him baby food with the prednisone. He is eating well.
> > Matter
> > > of fact he eats regular Marshall ferret food also on his own.
> > he
> > > does look terrible. He lost almost all his hair and lost
> > He
> > > also lost the use of his feet...though his legs still move.
> > This may be solely due to the adrenal disease - ferrets with
> > disease have marked hair loss and can have muscle wasting,
> > in marked hindlimb weakness..
> > Perhaps I am missing something here, but I don't think that based
> > the information presented here, or the tests that you have
> > that these particular diagnoses (although they may eventually
> > true) have necessarily been proven.
> > With kindest regards,
> > Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
> > Join the Ferret Health List at
> > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ferret-Health-list