Lymphosarcoma & Lymphoma in Ferrets


What is the difference between lymphosarcoma and lymphoma?

According to this site

Lymphoma is (oncology | pathology) a malignant tumor that arises in the lymph nodes or in other lymphoid tissue while lymphosarcoma is (pathology) a diffuse malignant lymphoma.

Whatever the name, this is a cancer of the lymphatic system and both young and old ferrets can be affected. However, if the ferret is young, the disease is usually rapidly fatal ?

Older ferrets can live without any symptoms of this disease for years and then it will suddenly appear.

Some of the symptoms to look out for are …

Hind leg weakness
Poor appetite
Chronic diarrhea
Difficulty in breathing
Enlarged spleen
Odd looking poop, which could be mistaken for a blockage
Large lymph nodes around armpits, knees and throat

Your vet will take blood tests and might even need to do exploratory surgery before deciding on the best course of treatment. Regrettably the prognosis is poor.

However, if aggressive treatment is started immediately, a ferret vet, Dr Katrina Ramsell, says that your ferret has the best chance at the longest survival rate. Dr Ramsell of Southwest Animal Hospital, Beaverton, OR, has several lymphoma protocols which have proven quite successful in the treatment of lymphoma.

Dr Ramsell has graciously offered to supply her protocol paper to anyone in need. Please contact Dr Ramsell at exoticpetvetAThotmail (don’t forget to replace the AT with @).

The above information was from the Miami Ferret Lymphoma site so I don’t know how old it is, or if Dr Ramsell still is happy to send her protocol paper out or even if Dr Ramsell has the same email address these days ?

However you can find her clinic listed on my Oregon Ferret Vets page so if it doesn’t work, try and contact her at her clinic.

I wish I’d remembered about that when Dash was diagnosed ?

Fidget, our beautiful silvermitt, got lymphosarcoma when she was 6 years old and she lasted another 2 years on prednisone. Unfortunately it got to the stage where one day, all of a sudden, her tumor just got incredibly large and her stomach so swollen that we knew it was time for her last visit to the vet ? then 13 years later, Dash got the same cancer  ?

Unfortunately I couldn’t keep Dash going for as long as Fidget ?

For those of you who’re interested, you can read about how quickly this dreadful cancer took Dash here.



More information about Lymphosarcoma & Lymphoma in Ferrets can be found on the following sites…

ACVP 2017: Overview of Ferret Lymphoma (American Veterinarian)

Lymphosarcoma/lymphoma in the ferret (Pet Care Veterinary Hospital)

Lymphoma in Ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) by M D Barros; G A  Gonçalves; A P Gonçalves; A M R Ferreira

Lymphoma in Ferrets (

Ferret Lymphoma by Adrienne Kruzer, RVT

Ferret Lymphosarcoma FAQ  (Ferret Central)

Malignant Tumor of the Lymphocytes (Lymphoma) in Ferrets (PetMD)

Lymphoma in Ferrets: A Diagnostic Challenge by Natalie Antinoff, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)

Ferrets – Lymphoma or Lymphosarcoma by Rick Axelson, DVM (VCA Animal Hospitals)

Gastrointestinal Disease in Ferrets (Pet Care Veterinary Hospital)

Laboratory Findings, Histopathology, and Immunophenotype of Lymphoma in Domestic Ferrets (Veterinary Pathology) (This is a technical paper but is easy to read)

Hodgkin’s-like lymphoma in a ferret (Mustela putorius furo) (Journal of Veterinary Medical Science) (This is a technical paper)



If your vet isn’t ferret savvy, you might like to print out this pdf from the Sawnee Animal Clinic, as it’s obviously intended for vets …

Lymphoma in Ferrets

A couple of years ago my last silvermitt, Kimiko, developed lymphoma and this time I remembered reading about Essiac Tonic. I was thrilled to see that I could get the proper tonic from in Australia so I put Kimiko on the maximum dose. It took just one week for her to improve – she gained weight and was eating properly again. I was so happy, but it was not to last.

When Mojo, her albino sister, was taken to the vet for her last visit and when Kimiko knew Mojo had gone to the Bridge, she just gave up. She refused to eat or drink her smoothie, then when I tried to syringe the Essiac into the side of her cheek, she’d clamp her teeth so tightly that I couldn’t get the supplement into her.

It wasn’t long before we had to take Kimiko for her final visit to the vet ?

Information about the Essiac …

Essiac: A Cure for Cancers? (New Rainbow Bridge)

Essiac: A Cure of Cancer? Part II (New Rainbow Bridge)


This tip for a ferret taking prednisone/prednisolone comes from the Three Rivers Ferret Council


The liver is a vital organ that is involved with many functions having to do with blood volume, clotting, fats, glucose, cleaning blood.

One job of the liver that many people don’t realize is that the liver makes, stores and uses glucose. That is why prednisolone (which bypasses the liver) works better than regular prednisone (which is turned into prednisolone in the liver) in older ferrets and ferrets with liver issues.

A way to help support the liver which actually works is to give your ferret Milk Thistle. It’s the main component (along with B-vitamins) in Hepato-Support, which was recommended by Dr Wagner for a ferret with liver disease.

It’s innocuous, and seems to have no side effects. I give about 1/4 capsule of Milk Thistle in some duck soup and I’m convinced it’s helped more than one ferret not only to feel better, but also to throw off liver infections.”



Link to a page talking about supplements …

Vitamin Therapy in Lymphomic Ferrets (Scales and Tails Rescue)






(Last updated November 2019)



DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is not meant to replace seeing a veterinarian if you think your ferret is ill. It’s only meant to supply general information on a particular illness which was obtained either from personal experience with my sick ferrets, or from books and/or the Internet.

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