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  • Author or Editor: J. H. Wimsatt x
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To characterize survival times, disease-free intervals, and prognostic variables in ferrets with pancreatic beta cell neoplasia.


Retrospective study.


20 ferrets with histologically confirmed pancreatic beta cell tumors.


Medical records of ferrets with pancreatic beta cell tumors were reviewed. Variables such as age, sex, duration of clinical signs, existence of other neoplasia, single versus multiple masses in the pancreas, benign or malignant histologic features, and the type of treatment used at redevelopment of clinical signs were examined to determine their relationship to survival times and disease-free intervals.


Duration of clinical signs prior to diagnosis and initial surgery was inversely correlated with survival time and disease-free interval. Overall median survival time for all ferrets with pancreatic beta cell tumors was 483 days. Median disease-free interval for ferrets that had abdominal surgery for pancreatic beta cell tumor removal was 240 days. Distant tumor metastasis was not found in this group of ferrets, but local tumor recurrence was common. In 4 ferrets that had a second celiotomy, removal of recurrent pancreatic tumors did not prolong survival but did result in a second disease-free interval.

Clinical Implications—

Pancreatic beta cell tumors should be considered in ferrets over 2 years of age that have clinical signs of seizures, episodic lethargy, ptyalism, ataxia, and hind limb weakness. In the study reported here, complete surgical excision of the tumor resulted in temporary resolution of clinical signs in ferrets; however, redevelopment of clinical signs at a later time was common. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1737–1740)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association