Message Number: YG3518 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-13 21:51:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Barney PM and report + vet question...

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Ulrike" <ferretlove@n...> wrote:
> Hello
> Well, Louise phoned me after she'd done his PM, the tumour filled
his whole
> chest... She thinks a third of his blood must have been in his
chest. How
> come he was completely fine when this was growing inside him?

Or could it
> have been a rapidly growing tumour? Can they grow within a week or
> even?

Actually, these are usually rapidly growing tumors, but the bigger
problem is that they are not usually noticed until they they are
relatively advanced - as a result, the average lifespan of affected
animals is about two weeks after diagnosis. This tumor has been
percolating along for a while, fairly silently, and you didn't get
any warning until it had taken up a significant amount of space in
the chest.

Unfortunately, there is limited room for anything in the chest but
the lungs and heart, and when the tumor grows, it is usually at the
expense of the lungs' expansion.

He didn't have enlarged lymph
> nodes, like on the neck or by the legs. Also no other organs were
> just one massive tumour.

In juvenile forms, lymph nodes are rarely involved. Lymph node
involvment is more commonly seen in the type of lymphoma seen in
older ferrets. Looking at the report, there is no mention of
examination of other samples. It may be that the organs didn't
appear grossly involved, but were not sampled. Inmy experience, in
these cases, spleen and liver are generally also affected by the
neoplastic process.

> This is the PM report:
> History: Anterior thoracic mass post mortem samples
> Diagnosis: Lymphoma (Lymphosarcoma)
> Commentary:
> These two samples from an anterior thoracic mass are histologically
> The mass is characterized by dense sheets of uniform, intermediately
> differentiated, lymphoid cells with scant cytoplasm and medium-
sized nuclei
> (c. 1.5x RBC diameter). The mitotic index is very high (frequently
> excess of 25 per high power field). The histopathology is
pathognomonic for
> malignant lymphoma, probably lymphoblastic. Since no normal tissue
> in the samples I cannot identify the organ in which the tumour has
> originated: mediastinal lymph node or thymus, most likely.
> Malignant lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) is the commonest malignancy of
> domestic ferret. It most commonly arises spontaneously, although
there is
> increasing evidence of a transmissible form. Several variants of
> disease exist: a small-cell type is more commonly encountered in
> animals while the lymphoblastic form is seen more frequently in
> (less than 2 years old) ferrets. This latter form is commonly
> with tumours in multiple organs, causing multi-systemic disease.
> prognosis is always poor.

This is an excellent report - right on the mark.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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