Date: 2001-02-26 06:43:00 UTC
Subject: ferret is in trouble! Please read!
In these cases, a biopsy to identify what type of tumor is
extreemly important, even if you are not going to attempt to
remove it at the time of the original surgery. In this site,
there is a good chance that it may be an adrenocortical
carcinoma, and that the large vein is the posterior vena cava.
Another possibility is lymphoma, which carries a poor
prognosis. A biopsy at the time of surgery would have given us
basic information on whether or not to proceed.
Ifwe are dealing with an adrenocortical carcinoma on the right
side, there is a salvage procedure which is not without risk,
but has saved many ferret lives. On the right side, the
adrenal gland sits on top of (and actually wraps around) the
posterior vena cava, the largest vein in the body. Many vets
are hesitant to operate on these glands for this very reason.
In the cases of malignancies on the right side, rather than do
nothing, and wait ntil the animal disease of metastasis or
intra-abdominal hemorrhage, you can actually ligate the vena
cava on either side of the tumor, and remove it "en bloc". If
the tumor has been slow in developing, the body will have
enough time to open other blood channels as the vena cava flow
becomes progressively choked off by the tumor. About 15-20%
of ferrets undergoing this procedure will not survive, but
100% will not survive otherwise.
Today, in cases with large adrenocortical malignancies, there
is no reason to close one up and wait for the end. To my
mind, 80% chance is better than 0% chance and poor quality of
With kindest regards,
Bruce Williams, dVM
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From: MK Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2001 10:45 AM
Hi Dr. Williams, My name is Mikki Kadner, and I have been
reading your internet sites for quite some time. I am the
proud parent of two female ferrets, who have given me great
joy! In January one of them, upon routine exam was found to
have an unusually large spleen. We did surgery on her and
removed the spleen, it was about 6 1/2 inches long and about
3inches wide. Poor thing, we were nicknaming her "Fatty"
because we just thought she was gaining weight, from eating,
but she wasnt! Anyway, she is recovering, and doing great!
My question for you is that the other ferret, looked like
she was starting to gain weight a few weeks ago, so I took
her in to work with me to weight her (I am a vet tech) and
she had only geined a tenth of a pound, so the Doctor
examined her and found a mass, seeming to be around her
right kidney. We did exploratory surgery, (hoping we could
remove the lump) and found that she has a huge mass that has
engulfed her right kidney, parts of her liver, and possibly
her adrenal glands. We couldnt remove the mass, because
there is a large vein that runs right thru the middle of
this whole mess, so we were afraid she might bleed to death.
Do you have any other options, or ideas that might work?,
prolong her life? (but not be in pain?) She is only 7 years
old. And her sister and her are very close, they dont do
anything without each other, or go anywhere without each
other. Not to mention Ilove her with all my heart! And I
want to do anything to help her. They are both spayed
females, 7years young and wonderfull animals! Thank you for
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