Message Number: YG793 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-06 06:15:00 UTC
Subject: Re: plasma cell tumors

Aha! This is a slightly better way to do it, but actually, the area
of a skin tumor directly under a scab is usually degenerate. The
interface between a scab and a tumor is filled with broken down
cells, serum, neutrophils, etc, and if you do find a tumor cell, its
usually the worse for wear.

In such cases, a needle aspirate from the center of the tumor is apt
to yield more diagnostic material.

Inpression smear are often most helpful at surgery for a quick
diagnosis, before the tissue goes out to the pathologist. When it is
removed, you can take small piece of the tumor, press it several
times against a glass slide to remove some cells, and stain that. If
the tumor is covered with blood, it is probably better to bisect it
to take the impressions from the middle, else all you get on your
sytology slide may be the blood.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM, DACVP
Join the Ferret Health List:

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Michael Janke" <mjanke@m...> wrote:
> I believe the way I stated it was a little unclear. The impression
> was done by pressing the slide against the area on his neck, not
against the
> removed scab. Probably wouldn't have changed the outcome, but
thought I
> should clarify.
> Whatever it was is totally healed right now, but I know how these
things can
> return so we'll keep an eye on it. If it does, it needs to be
> I've probably had a dozen mast cell tumors removed over the years
> ferrets) and it has always been curative.
> Mike
> -- original message --
> From: "Dr. Bruce Williams" <williams@e...>
> Subject: Re: Strange postsurgical reaction redux
> A plasma cell tumor is a tumor of specialized lymphocytes (called
> palsma cells) which manufacture and secrete antibodies. The process
> that you describe is called an impression smear, but an impression
> smear of a scab is a notoriously imprecise way to do business with
> skin tumors.
> Especially since ferrets don't get plasma cell tumors. But they do
> get mast cell tumors, which can look similar, and often present as
> scabs.
> It really is of little use to do a cytology on a skin tumor - just
> remove them and send the tumor off - you get a precise diagnosis for
> pretty much the same charge.