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Tumors

  • A “tumor” is a lump. Most, but not all, are cancerous. A large number of different types of tumor, with a bewildering array of names, but often of confusingly similar appearance, can occur in association with the tissues around the eye.

  • Ferrets can suffer from tumors in any part of their body, ranging from benign cancers of the skin to aggressive malignant tumors of internal organs. A large number of ferrets are affected by tumors of the lymphoid system. This handout will discuss lymphomas and lymphosacromas.

  • There are four major hormonal diseases in ferrets. Two of these diseases are covered in separate handouts, namely abnormally high levels of estrogen associated with persistent estrus in female ferrets (see Ferrets – Reproductive diseases), and abnormally high levels of insulin associated with the pancreatic tumor called insulinoma (see Ferrets – Tumors).

  • Ferrets can suffer from tumors in any part of their body, ranging from benign cancers of the skin to aggressive malignant tumors of internal organs. A large number of ferrets are affected by tumors of the lymphoid system and the pancreas.

  • Mast cell tumors are the most common skin tumor found in ferrets. They can also be found internally on the spleen. They arise from a cell type called a mast cell. In dogs and less so in cats, these tumors can vary from benign to highly malignant.

  • Fibrosarcoma is a tumor originating from the fibroblasts of the skin and subcutaneous connective tissue. The tumors vary in growth rate.

  • Fibrosarcomas and spindle cell tumors originate from the connective tissue of, or beneath, the skin. The tumor is diverse in appearance and several different cell lines produce tumors of similar appearance.

  • Fibrous tissue consists of long fibers of the collagen protein. These fibers form a structural part of specialized tissues such as bone and cartilage.

  • An insulinoma is a tumor that involves the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells are the cells that produce the hormone insulin. Insulinomas are surprisingly common in ferrets.

  • A keratoma is a rare benign tumor of the inner layer of keratin-producing epidermal hoof wall cells that forms inside a horse’s foot. As the tumor slowly grows, it expands and separates the hoof wall laminae, causing pain and lameness.