Message Number: SG16382 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Jen Phillips
Date: 2006-01-12 06:16:42 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] Lymphoma (was Big Belly)

Caitlyn Martin wrote:
> Hi, Jen, and everyone else,
> You've asked some difficult questions.
> --Will treatment help?
> I can't answer if you go with chemotherapy. All my
> ferrets who have contracted lymphoma have been older
> and some have had the disease detected far too late
> for chemo to have any realistic possibility of
> success. The net result is that, in consultation with
> our vet, we have decided against chemo in each case
> with my ferrets.
I don't know what is considered too late, but I am certainly concerned
that the mass around her heart might really make treatment difficult.
Are there alot of negative side effects associated with chemo? If I'm
just going to be making her feel bad for an extended period of time,
with little chance of success, then I don't think it's the way I want to
go. I just want to make the remainder of her life as comfortable as I
can for as long as possible.
> In the case of pediapred/prednisolone, yes, it
> definitely seems to help some ferrets feel better and
> in some cases also slows the progress of the disease.
Unfortunately, the Pred did not seem to reduce the size of Fria's lymph
nodes as we had hoped it would. I think that our vet will be keeping
her on it though, maybe hoping that it might slow the progress of things
as you mentioned.
> In the case of stomach medication it can help to
> control diarrhea where lymphoma has invaded the GI
> tract.
The Metronidazole seems like it has been helping firm things up more
each day, but it's still very seedy for some reason.
> For a ferret who experiences pain at times torbugesic
> can be given in a small dosage sufficient to relieve
> pain without doping up the ferret. Nyssa needs this
> maybe once or twice a month. She is always more
> active and obviously feeling better after being given
> torb on a bad day. Torbugesic can be given as an
> injection or orally.
As dumb as it may sound, I have a hard time telling if a ferret is in
pain. I have started to wonder, though, if Fria might be experiencing
some pain or discomfort. She sometimes makes very quiet sounds
sometimes when she's trying to get around, that almost resemble really
quiet dooking or squeaking sounds. It's really hard to describe. I
suppose it could also be from her heavier breathing, or the effort it
takes for her to get around, I really don't know.
> Lymphoma is cancer and cachexia (cancer related weight
> loss) is to be expected.
Surprisingly, Fria eats quite well at this point on her own. In fact,
she's been eating much more than any of my other ferrets, and is huge.
That's why, at first, we thought she might just be overweight, or that
she had fluid in her abdomen, which she did not. Would it seem strange
that she'd have such a big appetite and be so big if she has Lymphoma?
> --How long does a ferret live with lymphoma?
> That depends on how rapidly the disease progresses and
> what parts of the body it invades......Per our vet in
> Ohio average life expectancy after diagnosis is just
> three months.
So, it seems that I should look at each day that she's here as precious,
and spoil her as much as I can.
> I wish I had better answers for you.
You had very helpful answers for me. I knew it would impossible for
anyone to give me exact answers to most of my questions, but I now have
alot of info and a better understanding of what to expect. Now I'm just
waiting for the biopsy results which should be in Thursday or Friday.

Thank you for your help,

Happy Dookin',
The Hidey Hole Gang -
Jen, Mike & The Critters
The Ferrets - Loki, Fria, Vivi & Duke
The Rats - Ruby, Selphie, Boo, Rikku & Trillian
Missing Jamocha (ferret), Algernon, Plato & Mystique(rats),
Punk (hedgehog) & Dixie (chicken)

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