Message Number: YG2224 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-05 16:49:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Recent Lymphoma diagnosis

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Laura Martinez <conejita@e...> wrote:
> I just got some horrible news about my 6 year old baby Gatsby, and
I'm not doing very well with it. I was wondering if people who have
been in similar situations could pass on their experiences.
> Gatsby was diagnosed with lymphoma today, based on a a biopsy of a
tumor on a lymph node. As of 1/31/01, when she had a unilateral
adrenalectory, she did not have this tumor on her lymph node. She
has been previously diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, as
have two of my other ferrets (5 year and 3 year olds). While I am
heartbroken to learn that Gatsby has been diagnosed with this
disease, I am more terrified that the other two ferrets will also get
lymphoma, based on the virus that causes IBD being a causative agent
for lymphoma. I am also frightened of my six month old ferret getting
the virus that causes IBD, effectively rendering me with four ferrets
with lymphoma.

Dear Laura:

There is apparently either a miscommunication between you and your
vet, or some misinformation has been received by your vet.

Currently, there is no particular virus that causes IBD, and the
connection between lymphoma and a virus is quite likely, but no virus
has yet been identified.

IBD is the end state of a lot of inflammatory disease of the
intestine, and referes only to an intestine which is chronically
inflamed, and shows atrophic damage and a loss of absorptive area as
a result. These intestine are prone to develop diarrhea at the drop
of a hat.

In some cases, the chronic inflammation of hte intestine in IBD has
been associated with the development of lymphoma in the mesenteric
lymph nodes. However, the interpretation of lymph nodes in the
abdomen of animals with chronic bowel inflammation is a tricky
business, and pathologists without much ferret experience may
occasionally misdiagnose a node reacting to the chronic inflammation
in the bowel as one with lymphoma. A second opinion on the slide
(and I would be happy to do one for Gatsby at no charge) is always
warranted in such circumstances.

this is not to say that it is not possible that the diagnosis is
valid; it certainly is possible. However, I would suggest a
confirmation of this diagnosis before despairing.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM, DACVP
Join the Ferret Health List: