Date: 2010-11-13 15:59:53 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: question re lymphoma treatment
If she were mine, and I am expressing this as a personal opinion based on my experience with numerous ferrets who have had various forms and stages of lymphoma - I'd continue with the pred in the hopes that it may put her into remission and improve quality of life for the short time the remission lasts. Note it's not a cure, only a brief respite from the ravages of the illness.
Given the respiratory distress you describe, it sounds like its already infiltrated her respiratory system, and/or GI tract - although there may be concomitant heart disease, IBD, etc. going on as well.
Second option would be to consider the Tufts lymphoma protocol but only if you have a skilled and experienced ferret oncology vet; and of course, the financial means to get chemo, which can be very pricey.
I personally would not pursue surgery nor further expensive diagnostics. To what end? Slow and painful recovery from invasive surgical procedures and zero quality of life. The disease has already metastasized through her lymphatic system. I know of no other disease that causes the level of extensive peripheral lymph gland involvement you describe with similar clinical symptoms - other than lymphoma. Goes without saying I welcome a veterinarian's professional opinion to contradict my assumption.
I appreciate that veterinarians require diagnostic confirmation before they can say for certain it is lymphoma. That's a matter of legal liability. However, an experienced ferret vet can offer a clear 'differential diagnosis' that the probability is high that what you are likely dealing with is lymphoma, if not the certainty that you are.
And if it is any type of lymphoma, hopefully, as Dr. Williams(2007) stated in "The Last Dance - Malignant Lymphoma in Ferrets" - you will have at least have time to say good-bye. And optimistically while she retains a good quality of life.
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