- Ferrets lack a cecum to digest/ process fuits and vegetables.
- A ferrets left lung has 2 lobes, while the right has 4.
- A ferrets body contains 14 or 15 pairs of ribs.
- A kit has 30 baby teeth, while an adult has 34.
- Food fully travels throughout their system in 3 hours.
Malignant lymphoma is a solid tumor growth that commonly
affects many tissues, lymph nodes, liver, lungs, bone marrow,
spleen, intestines, kidneys, and to a lesser extent the
nervous system, pancreas, eyes and stomach. As with other
animals, there is a strong likelihood lymphoma is caused
by genetics, environment, infectious diseases, etc.
There are two forms of Lymphosarcoma:
Juvenile (1-2 years old) – An
acute onset characterized by large immature lymphocytes
quickly invade the organs early on with little to no
peripheral lymph node disease, which results in high
rate of misdiagnosis. Splenomegaly (enlarged spleen,
which is very common and should be removed if it takes
up more than 50% of the cavity), enlarged liver and enlarged
thymus may occur. Symptoms are often acute and can resemble
gastric problems with vomiting, dehydration and wasting.
If the thymus is involved, signs include coughing and/or
difficulty in breathing. If the digestive tract is involved,
signs include wasting, vomiting, and/or diarrhea with
or without black tarry stools.
Adult (3 years old+) -
Disease of peripheral nodes. Small mature lymphocytes
expands peripheral and mesenteric nodes, which eventually
wears away nodal structures. As the disease progresses,
organ invasion occurs (liver, lungs, spleen), resulting
in failure and death. Signs of disease will vary depending
on the organ(s) involved, however most common signs include
loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, paralysis, peripheral
lymph nodes disease, splenomegaly (enlarged spleen, which
is very common and should be removed if it takes up more
than 50% of the cavity), severe vomiting, and diarrhea.
Diagnosis is generally made by a lymph node
aspirate or biopsy of the suspected organs(s) and affected
lymph nodes. Excess lymph cells in the blood is a common
finding in Juvenile lymphoma, while lymphocyte deficiency
is common in adult. Anemia, low blood sugar, liver involvement
and high calcium levels are common findings. X-rays and
ultrasounds can often reveal organ and lymph node enlargement,
as well as fluid around the lungs and a mass that displaces
the heart and lungs.
Staging of the disease is very helpful in
evaluating your options and course of treatment.
Treatment includes various chemotherapy agents,
surgery, radiation or combo therapy. It's important to
realize that these ferrets may become susceptible to other
diseases because of immunosuppression which are enhanced
by the use of chemo drugs. Ferrets with concurrent insulinoma
and/or adrenal are poor candidates for chemo. It is important
to evaluate your options taking into consideration, the
ferrets age, other illnesses, type of lymphoma (Juvenile
lymphoma is a more rapidly progressive high-grade, while
Adult may be low or high-grade) and how advanced (liver,
intestines, stomach or bone marrow involvement do not respond
well to chemo). It is important to understand there is
no cure for lymphoma; the goal of treatment is to attain
remission and provide quality of life to your ferret.
For Adult lymphoma remission can last months to years,
whereas in Juvenile lymphoma the prognosis is very poor.
- Ferret's normal rectal temperature is between 100 - 104 with 101.9 being the average.
- Heart rate is 180 - 250 bpm with 225 being average.
- Respiration is 33-36 per minute.
- Normal urine pH is 6.5 - 7.5
- Blood volume is 60-80 ml/ kg.
- Ferrets do possess toxoplasmosis in
their systems. However, unlike cats they cannot release/
shed the infected eggs back into the environment, they
hit a dead end, so humans cannot catch the disease.