Message Number: SG7554 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2004-01-22 16:53:38 UTC
Subject: fert mass in mesentary, vet unsure, help...
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[Moderator's note: This is a new discussion appearing as a grouping of two
pers. coms. as a post which the author had with an FHK member. The reply of
the FHL memeber is not present because permission of the author was not
received in time to do so.]

I hope you are able to respond to this email. I am writing from New Brunswick,
Canada. I am a ferret lover as well but my love for them is fairly recent in
comparison to yours! I have three ferrets, 2 males (Hobs and Stuart) and 1
female (little girl). My ferret Hobs has been sick lately and I have taken him to
the vet many times. Unfortunately, ferrets as pets are a new phenomenon here
in Canada and the local vets have very little information on diagnosis. I am
hoping that with the number of problems you have incurred you might be able
to offer some suggestions. So here is Hobs' story:
A little over a month ago I noticed that his poops were different than usual.
They were grainy in nature and he appeared to be losing weight. I brought him
to the vet immediately and they performed a couple x-rays. They were unable
to make any conclusions so they suggested an ultrasound. With the ultrasound
they said that they spotted some kind of small mass but that they would have
to do an exploratory surgery to find out additional information. We scheduled
the surgery for a week later. I was very nervous for my little Hobs as he is the
oldest. (2 1/2 years). When they went inside they discovered two masses
located in his mesentary. One of them was larger than the other but neither
were described as "huge". They also said that his stomach appeared inflammed
and his lymph nodes swollen. He recovered very well from surgery and was
soon back on his feet. A month after surgery (just this past weekend) he visited
the vet again so that he could feel the masses and see if they had grown. The
vet said they felt as if they had become smaller...BUT when he was weighed
they discovered that he was 4.4lbs (2kg) at surgery and now only 2.2 lbs (1kg).
The vet said that the decrease in size of the mass could be due to all of the fat
loss. He asked us to closely monitor his eating and his weight every week. I am
very scared and not sure what to do about the situation. I am not 100%
confident in our vet as this is one of the first ferrets he has treated for
something serious and unknown. He thought that maybe he was allergic to
something but from my information on ferrets it seems more serious than that.
I am sorry that my story was so long. I hope that you can offer me any
information that you have. Thank you so much for your time and I look forward
to hearing from you.
Sarah Anglehart

Thanks for replying so quickly!
Here are some answers to your questions...

Hobs is considered almost underweight now according to Kim Shillings book,
Ferrets for Dummies. A typical unaltered male is usually 2-3 1/2lbs. and my
Hobs is just barely in the normal range. I can see his bones around the hips
which I never used to be able to see before. It is cold here and he should have
been putting on his winter weight but instead he was losing. His fur also is
degrading. It isn't as shiny and looks almost brittle. He is continuing to eat well
which is strange. He is on Living World Premium Ferret Food. It's a kibble that
has the most protein of all the foods available here (38%)

Hobs was not fat before but looked of normal size. Hobs was losing weight
before surgery...I noticed in about a week he looked skinnier and then after
surgery until now (about a month) he lost the 2 lbs. 2lbs in a month is a LOT of
weight for a ferret. I can contribute some of the weight loss to his
recouperation from the surgery but not 2 full lbs.

The masses they found were near or in the mesentary. They were unable to be
removed or biopsied because the vet said that it was too sensitive and
dangerous of a surgery with all the main veins that were present. He said that
they could be felt in his midbelly area near the back of his body near the

After his surgery the vet did not put him on any antibiotics so he has not been
on any medication at all. His wound from the surgery healed very well and his
fur is growing back in.

Thanks for all your information so far and the links. I'll be looking at the info to
see what I can find. Let me know if you have any speculations as to what my
poor little Hobs could have.