Message Number: YG2450 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-10 21:10:00 UTC
Subject: Re: mast cell tumors

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Maggie's Farm <maggiesfarm@m...>
> on 4/9/01 7:14 PM, Karen Purcell, DVM at drkaren@w... wrote:
> > I don't think I've seen a ferret with more than four, and I often
> > find that they regress spontaneously without any doing on my part.
> > This may be a watch and wait, as long as he doesn't claw them
> >
> > -Dr. Karen
> Is this in ferrets only or all animals. I have had cats and dogs
that got
> them, and seemed to always end up with surgical removal. Just
trying to
> figure out if this is species specific or individual specific.

Mast cells in ferrets, like many other neoplasms, are different than
their counterparts in dogs and cats. In dogs, mast cell tumors in
the skin often behave in a malignant fashion,and may result in death,
so removal is done as early as possible. Cats have benign skin mast
cell tumors, but their internal mast cell tumors often cause
significant dysfunction and occasional death.

In ferrets, mast cell tumors are almost always cutaneous and always
benign. While a wait and see approach may be sufficient, due to the
propensity for irritation, scratching, and the possibility of trauma
and infection, I generally recommend mast cell tumor surgical removal
at an opportune (not emergent) time.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, dVM