Message Number: YG560 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Dr. Bruce Williams
Date: 2001-03-02 17:04:00 UTC
Subject: Re: advice please- swelling submandibular nodes

Dear Michelle:

The response to chemotherapy of lymphomas in ferrets is less than
10%, and probably a significant percentage of those cases were

I don't want to be pessimistic, but the odds don't bear out waiting
for chemotherapy drugs. The odds of a response to traditional
chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone, with or
without asparaginase) are little better than prednisone alone.

My general counsel is that everyone has to make the decision for
themselves, but prednisone usually gives 2-4 months of quality time,
as the tumors usually shrink noticeably, and the animal returns to
normal at least for a while. When it comes back, it comes back with
a vengeance, and nothing stops it. However, prednisone can be given
orally with minimal problems.

Chemotherapeutic agents must be given via IV catheter, and require
trips to the vet at least weekly. They can be asociated with
significant side effects, and the stress of administration often
results in a decreased quality of life. Factor this against the
minimal extra time gained by most protocols over simple pred
administration, and you can tell why I generally take the prednisone
only route for my own ferrets.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM
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--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., DeMilia <demilia1@h...> wrote:
> I have posted earlier about Tish's lymphoma. I have asked my vet
to look into
> chemotherapy drugs but so far he is having problems with suppliers
not having the drugs
> and with not even being able to get in contact with the suppliers.
She is scheduled to
> have a bone marrow aspiration on Monday to see if she is even going
to be able to be put
> on chemotherapy. The vet gave me prednisolone to give her in the
meantime but I chose not
> to give it to her considering that it would probably cause her to
become resistant to the
> chemotherapy. My problem is that her submandibular nodes (under
her cheeks) are enlarging
> at such a fast rate that I am afraid by Monday she will have a hard
time eating. Every
> day they get a bit larger. As far as the chemotherapy goes- I
don't know if the vet will
> be able to get the drugs, I don't know if it will be more expensive
than I can afford, and
> I don't even know whether or not Tish can even go on chemotherapy,
it depends on the
> results of her bone marrow aspiration! And, of course, we can't
even be sure that they
> will be effective! At this point I'm about ready to give her the
pred anyways! To top it
> all off Chiana started throwing up food earlier, I figured it's a
little hair blockage
> since she constantly grooms herself, but now Lexx is throwing up
too!! I have no idea
> what could be wrong, they are both acting normal otherwise. It is
just becoming so
> stressful!
> So to sum it up, if anyone has advice on whether I should go ahead
with the pred please
> e-mail it to me so that I will get it as quickly as possible. I am
so much wanting to
> give it to her but am holding off because of always hearing about
the resistance build
> up. I just can't decide which is the right thing to do! As far
as the throwing up- if
> it's still going on tomorrow I guess I'll have to make ANOTHER trip
to the vet tomorrow.
> *sigh*
> Thanks,
> Michelle
> By the way- my vet is pro surgery but when I asked if we should
remove the submandibular
> nodes he said "NO". If anyone knows why they should not, or could
not, be removed please
> post it on the board. I'm just curious.