Message Number: YG977 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-09 09:11:00 UTC
Subject: Confused over lymphoma treatments

Okay, my little female Bouka (7-8 years old) was brought to one of my vet's because she obviously had labored breathing and I could feel her spleen was HUGE. It was determined that her difficulty breathing was due to the fact that her spleen was enormous. It bulged out of her belly. She was given a long acting shot of Depo-Medrol to reduce the inflammation. If it didn't work, we were going to remove it. It worked wonderfully and I took her home a few days later. Then I noticed that all of her peripheral lymph nodes were large and hard. They aren't fat deposits. My vet concluded that she had lymphoma. Here's where my questions come in.

I wanted to (and have) put Bouka on Pred twice a day. My vet says that, although a slightly different glucocorticoid, pred is practically interchangeable with dexamethazone and depo-medrol. I've never heard of people treating lymphoma ferrets with dex or depo, not that I've ever asked until now. However, a depo shot would only be needed every 4-6 weeks or dex needed once a day, as opposed to pred which is twice a day. My vet realizes that sometimes one glucocorticoid is more effective than another. It may vary from ferret to ferret. But, my thought is, if all three of these meds are practically interchangeable, why wouldn't a person first opt for the shot of depo every 4-6 weeks versus a daily or twice daily oral medication?? Then, if the depo obviously isn't working, a switch to one of the others?

Also, I know none of these are cures. I simply want to do what's most efficient and effective in treating lymphoma. And I'd also like to hear from other vets what the differences between these glucocorticoids are and the pros and cons to using them. Thanks!!

Kim Schilling
Author, Ferrets for Dummies