Date: 2001-04-05 14:41:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Recent Lymphoma diagnosis
Dear Laura - I am so sorry for the recent diagnosis of lymphosarcoma for your
ferret Gatsby. But please do not go into a tail spin just yet - or try not
to do so.
I think ferrets are very sensitive to our stress and right now it is
important that you (take a few deep cleansing breaths) remain calm. I don't
think that there is any link whatsoever with IBD & Lymphoma (am sure this
will be correcting if I am wrong and will be a new one for me). Although
many vets believe that lymphoma is caused by a virus, it has yet to be
linked......but then, many diseases for ferrets and for humans are thought to
be linked to virus.
Since you asked for experiences & advice, I will share my experience with
lymphoma as well as some thoughts. I have had two ferrets develop this
The first was over 10-12 years ago now (without looking back). She was a 9
year old MF ferret at the time and since the original tumor, as large as a
man's thumb, recurred two weeks later with swollen lymph nodes and sores on
her body, she was judged too old and too sick for chemotherapy. The vet gave
me some prednisone to help make her more comfortable and to "ease her out."
Within a few weeks. She was in full remission on just the prednisone. Six
months later, still in remission, she finally went through chemo with a
different vet who eventually pulled in the path report to make sure she
indeed had lympho! During this period she also had surgery for insulinoma.
A year after her diagnosis, I have a brilliant clear memory of her dancing in
the sunlight and chasing shadows. Pretty good for an old gal of 10 plus.
What finally brought her down was ECE. But we had a a year and a half more
than expected. She went to Dr. Susan Erdman and MIT who was, at that time,
So, you just never know. Some ten years later now, I have another girl with
lymphoma. I recently wrote about her and the fact that in addition to
lymphoma, she had adrenal cancer. It has been a year now and she has not
required pred yet. But I take it one day at a time and enjoy the time with
her. She is seven and a half - maybe eight, have to check. When you have a
bunch of ferrets it is hard to remember how old they are - much less
sometimes how many because they move to fast to get an accurate count <G>
While Juvenile lymphoma is devastating and takes the kit very fast, the
cancer in older ferrets often responds well to pred and/or chemo. I also
think that maximizing nutrition for your ferret helps. Also, don't forget
touch, attention and love. When I have a sick ferret, I often carry him/her
with me or keep the sick one close. I used to be teased because I called my
bra a natural sling by which to carry a ferret around. Can't haul my big hobs
around that way though - couple of them almost too much to pick up! Just
before I signed on a read your letter, I was holding Sin, my girl with
lymphoma, talking to her, body stroking and kissing her until she got
playful. Right now she is tucked down beside me I know this sounds mushy -
but never underestimate the power of touch.
There is no reason to think that your other ferrets will come down with this
cancer and please don't isolate them from Gatsby - it will be too stressful
and besides, they have already been "exposed" so to speak. While lymphoma
has occurred in some homes in clusters, it doesn't very often. Please don't
waste time worrying about that, you will only wear yourself down! My advice
is to just take it one day at a time and make the most of the time you are
granted with Gatsby. Best regards, Meg
In a message dated 4/5/01 4:02:19 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< 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.
Does anyone have any advice or experiences they can share on lymphoma and