Cancer in Ferrets

Ferret

Lymphosarcoma is a common cancer in ferrets.

Signs can be lethargy and loss of appetite. Diagnosis is difficult because signs of cancer often don’t appear until the disease is well-advanced.

If you suspect your ferret is ill, an immediate trip to the veterinarian is necessary. Your vet will administer several tests such as a complete blood count, x-rays, a sonogram and sometimes a biopsy of the tumor or lymph nodes. Surgery is a last resort.

Chemotherapy treatment is an option only if the cancer is not widespread.

Prognosis is poor even with early detection.

Tumors that develop under a ferret’s skin are called Chardomas. Chardomas can be found at the base of the tail and anywhere along the tail and can be easily surgically removed. Sometimes it is necessary to amputate the tail. Chardomas found on the neck or back are not easily treated and prognosis is poor.

Squamous cell carcinomas develop in the mouth and jaw areas. Treatment can involve removal of part of the jaw and/or radiation therapy.

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