Date: 2001-07-29 12:49:00 UTC
Subject: mast cell tumor/enlarged spleen
I took Julio, my 6 and a half year old ferret to the vet last week to
have a tumor on his back analyzed. The vet scraped a sample of
the tumor and sent it to the lab. The results he received
yesterday did not sound good.
He said that the biopsy revealed a "round cell tumor with
granules of mast cell." He is concerned that since Julio's spleen
is larger than it was last year, that the mast cells--which he
described as cancerous-- have spread to his spleen (Julio has
had an enlarged spleen for over two years and to be honest, I
have not noticed it to be any bigger than in the past).
Most of what the vet said contradicts what I have read about
ferrets and mast cells (I've not been able to find anything that
refers to round cell tumors) and am not sure what to do. The vet
offered four options:
1. Remove the tumor under general anesthesia. He would also
like to take a tissue sample from his spleen to see if the spleen
is also affected.
2. Remove the tumor using a laser. This would only require a
local anesthetic. He said there's a chance, however, that the
tumor would grow back.
3. Inject Julio with a type of cortisone that has shown to be
effective in treating mast cells. (I have never heard of this
I don't know what to do. Two years ago I took Julio to a different
vet who performed surgery to remove an adrenal tumor, after an
ultrasound revealed the presence of a mass. As it turned out,
there was no tumor; what the vet removed was an enlarged
lymph node. It took me a long time to get over the guilt of putting
my pet through an unnecessary surgery and I do not want to do
the same thing again. I just want what is best for Julio.
Other than the tumor on his back (which is about the diameter of
a pencil eraser) he appears to me, at least, to be in good health:
he eats, plays, etc.
Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.