Message Number: YG3523 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-13 22:33:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Lymphoma = bodily shutdown?

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., demilia1@h... wrote:
> I recently had to help our elderly ferret DJ to pass from an
> agressive lymphoma and now have another elderly ferret who also has
> lymphoma, which seems to be progressing at a slightly slower than
> normal rate. What I have noticed is that with DJ (deceased), I
> clipped her nails and when it was time to clip them again they
> as though they had not grown. Now with Tish, she had a part of her
> fur shaved off about 3 months ago and only the shortest, tiniest
> amount of fur has grown back. I am assuming that this is because
> the lymphoma. Can anyone explain what is going on in the ferrets
> body at this time that is causing this to happen? Also, what is
> happening like this to the organs, etc. that is like this but we
> cannot see.

In animals with systemic or aggressive tumors, a common
generalization is that the metabolism of the tumor overshadows that
of the organism as a whole. Most animals with malignancy end up
losing weight, the so-called "cachexia" of malignancy. Nail grwoth
and hair growth may be signals of this; however, a lack of hair
regrowth may also be evidence of adrenal disease, and every older
ferret should be suspect on this count.

Generally, organs not affected by the tumor do not fail any faster
than normal - only those which contain tumors or infiltrates of
neoplastic cells will degenerate over time.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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