Message Number: YG276 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Dr. Bruce Williams
Date: 2001-02-26 13:44:00 UTC
Subject: Re: skin lymphoma?

Dear Michelle:

I would be happy to look at the skin tumor, if you want a second
opinion. Skin lymphoma is fairly rare in ferrets, and I suppose that
I have probably seen more than anyone else.

Skin lymphoma is unusual among the lymphomas of ferrets. While
lymphoma generally carries a poor prognosis, with less than 10%
responding to treatment, and most of those only temporarily.
Cutaneous lymphoma is different. The progression is slow, and may
take up to years. Metastasis is uncommon - most animals are
euthanized due to loss of function, especially when the feet are
widely affected.

Early and surgical excision is skin lesions is associated with
prolonged remission. If the neoplasm metastasizes to a lymph node,
lymph node excision is recommended. Because of the fact that these
tumors rarely metastasize internally, we try by surgical excision to
try to stay one jump ahead of it. If you have a previous diagnosis
of cutaneous lymphoma, excision of any new skin lesions or enlarged
lymph nodes is very important.

In this case, I would recommend excision of the submandibular node as
they are rapidly growing, but I would probably not go after the
armpit and knee nodes, as these are often mildly enlarged in older
ferrets not because of an increase of lymphoid cells, but because
older ferrets commonly lay down fat around these nodes.

Submandibular lymph node enlargement may be an early sign of systemic
lymphoma, but are also the most common site of hyperplasia due to
local inflammation - they drain the oral cavity, one of the most
common sites of chronic inflammation in older ferrets.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM
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--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., DeMilia <demilia1@h...> wrote:
> I have a 7 1/2 year old girl named Tish who recently went in for
surgery to remove a tumor
> on her left hindquarter. We got the biopsy results the other day
and the lab said it was
> a skin lymphoma. Let me first add in here that she has no skin
tumors before I continue.
> The vet said that what we need to do is keep watching for other
enlarged lymph nodes and
> remove them when they become enlarged and that prednisolone should
be effective. He
> sounded very positive about her being able to survive the disease
with this therapy.
> Tish already has her two lymph nodes under her cheeks getting
fairly well swollen (not
> impeding her eating yet), I think they are the submandibular
nodes. I also feel the node
> on her right hindquarter and the nodes under her "armpits" are also
slightly swollen. I
> have received an e-mail from a prominent ferret vet stating that
she doubts this is skin
> lymphoma and that I should have a second opinion on the pathology.
I am bringing Tish in
> tomorrow because I am concerned about how quickly the nodes under
her cheeks are
> swelling. My vet is very much pro surgery and I know that he will
suggest having them
> removed. Should I go ahead and put her through the surgery for
this and continue removing
> nodes as I find them enlarged? Should I give her the prednisolone
or would it be wiser to
> start her on chemotherapy? I will ask for a second opinion on the
pathology, should I
> wait for the results before making any of these decisions? Tish is
showing no symptoms of
> lymphoma other than the enlarged nodes and she is an otherwise
healthy and quite active
> ferret for her age. I appreciate any help you can give me with
> Thanks,
> Michelle