Message Number: FHL12165 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "chelseybakerhauck"
Date: 2010-09-03 21:24:26 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Mast cell tumor surgery

I have a 4-year-old spayed female who developed a mast cell tumor on her abdomen last winter. After several months of waxing and waning (at some points it disappeared completely for weeks or months at a time), it was removed late this spring and the pathology confirmed 1) clean margins, 2) diagnosis of benign mast cell tumor.

Not long after, she developed a new tumor on the top of her right front foot; it appeared to also be a mast cell tumor. (We actually discovered this during her surgical re-check of the other tumor site; it was not there at the time of the first surgery.) We decided to simply watch it for a few weeks since I had a busy travel schedule, and within 2 weeks of the vet visit, it had completely disappeared. I've checked the area regularly and this week noted that it had reappeared.

My vet is inclined to remove all of these tumors as they appear and would like to do so now. I don't know whether I'm comfortable with that approach. If there is no sign of infection or signs that she's worrying the growth, is there any medical reason to remove it? (There was a little dried blood on the area this morning but no obvious trauma, e.g. chewing/licking.) I'm concerned that we could get into a never-ending cycle of surgeries. Is it warranted given the low/no risk of malignancy?

If we were to do it, what are the potential complications for an excision of this size on the foot? (We had a horrible experience with another ferret skin tumor surgery (not mast cell) on the extremity, which did not heal well and required multiple corrective surgeries.)

Although I've had other ferrets w/mast cell tumors (all removed), I've never had a ferret develop multiples. Does anyone have experience with a conservative (non surgical) approach?

This ferret is otherwise healthy and extremely active; all bloodwork and other tests have been normal.



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