Message Number: YG2792 | New FHL Archives Search
From: K. Crassi
Date: 2001-04-20 17:07:00 UTC
Subject: Tumor? in ear, shrinking spleen, vet leaving!

Hi all,

Some may remember I posted a few weeks ago about my ferret, Wicket, and his
mongo spleen. It had gotten to the point where he had to kind of "walk
around it", if that makes sense. Plus, he had been having some kind of
goings-on in one ear, and I wanted to find out what was up.

Wicket is 6 years and 9 months, and has never been sick. He's PV ferret.
Except for a yeast infection in his ears as a youngster, and the ever
increasing spleen (since he was about a year old), he has been a totally
normal ferret.

At the first visit, a glucometer gave a glucose reading of about 72 (after
adjusting for the way glucometers read low). The vet had me start him on
prednisone, and wanted me to come back after about a week to check it
again. She was leary of doing surgery without his glucose being higher.
Now, he has NO symptoms of insulinoma. I've had two ferrets with it, so I
know what to look for, and he just doesn't act like a ferret with low blood
sugar. At this visit she also took a swab of his left ear and looked at it
(no yeast or mites) and gave me some Tresaderm to apply twice a day.

At the second visit (about 10 days later), they got another glucose
reading; this time it was about 89. There was just enough time for them to
get the blood, and no time to look at his ear (it was a squeezed-in appt).
So I went back tonight specifically to have her look at the ear. I also
noticed that his spleen seemed to be smaller. Still quite large, but less
"full" and it did seem to have shrunk.

Well, we got the ear cleaned out and I pointed out some dark areas, almost
like gray/black raised nodes just under the skin. She thinks they are
localized over-productions of melanin, perhaps a reaction to a long-term
inflammation, but not necessarily tumors. What *does* look like a tumor is
the thing we could finally see tonight now that the inflammation is
reduced. It's way down in the ear canal, right over the eardrum. She took
a swab for a slide, and it's actually somewhat friable - bits of it came
off on the swab and she was able to put them on the slide and will look at
them and call me tomorrow. Whatever it is, it's highly vascular and bleeds
if you look at it wrong, and swabbing it didn't do anything to put it in a
good mood. She ended up trying some epinephrine dropped right into the ear
and then packing a bit of cotton ball down in there to get it to clot. She
gave me some Gentocin Durafilm (gentamicin sulfate and a steroid), with
instructions to use one tiny drop, once/day for 5-7 days in that ear, and
after gently massaging the ear, to blot up any leftover liquid. She thinks
that it is unlikely to cause him any problems this way. I'm also going to
continue the pred.

I don't know at this point if the reduction in the spleen is the result of
the prednisone, getting the inflammation in his ear somewhat cleared up, or
both. I'm not so much worried about the spleen anymore, especially if it
doesn't get bigger and uncomfortable for him again. It the ear thing that
bothers me. She said she could probably try to either cauterize it or
freeze it, but wasn't sure it could actually be removed.

So I'm open to any and all ideas.

And last thing, my vet told me that she is leaving in June to go do a two
year residency in avian medicine at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan.
Argh! But it's good for her and ultimately good for her patients, so I
can't blame her for taking the opportunity.

Draw back your bow, let love go, shoot straight for the heart
With all of your might, set your sight, take aim from the start,
To love God, love people
That's the center of the mark.
-- 4 Him
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