Cancer in Pocket Pets

Image of pocket pets, including an adorable guinea pig.

A tumor (also known as neoplasm) is an abnormal growth of cells; this growth may be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors do not spread throughout the body and often have a limited impact on a pet’s overall health. Malignant tumors can develop in one location, such as a hormone-producing gland, and then spread to other body parts. Treatment and prognosis for malignant tumors depends on the type of cancer, where the tumor is located, and at what stage it is diagnosed.

Pancreatic tumors are one of the most common diseases affecting ferrets. Insulinoma is a tumor in the pancreas that causes excess secretion of insulin; this affects the body’s ability to regulate blood glucose level. Excess insulin causes hypoglycemia, which causes weakness and can cause other symptoms including disorientation, seizures, collapse, and partial paralysis of the hind legs.

Tumors are common for many pocket pets, including hamsters and gerbils. For example, hamsters are frequently diagnosed with benign tumors in the adrenal gland or lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system that can affect many organs. Tumors are common in a gerbil’s ventral marking glands and appear as sores. Skin tumors may appear as large masses along different parts of a gerbil’s body, including the ears and feet. Tumors affecting the internal organs are more difficult to identify in the early stages since obvious physical symptoms are not present.

A veterinarian with experience treating tumors in small animals and pocket pets can best diagnose the precise health condition affecting your ferret, gerbil or hamster. Your veterinarian will start with a physical examination. Depending on the type of tumor and its location, a variety of different diagnostic tests may be necessary. For example, ultrasound may be used to look for tumors. Needle biopsies,blood tests, or urinalysis may also be necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

If your pet is diagnosed with a tumor, treatment will depend on the type of tumor. In some cases, surgery to remove the tumor may be highly effective at extending your pet’s life, especially if the tumor is not malignant and cancer has not spread. Early diagnosis plays a critical role; any type of tumor is easier to treat when it is detected early. While some forms of aggressive cancers cannot be cured, your pet’s quality of life can be greatly enhanced when detected early. New diagnostic methods are improving early detection and increasing treatment success rate. This is why regular veterinary exams are critical for every pet.

Source:

American Veterinary Medical Association. “Cancer in Animals,” March 2010.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

If you have an after hours emergency, please contact Purdue Small Animal Emergency Services at 765-496-7911.

Creekside Animal Wellness Center

Monday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Creekside Animal Hospital

Monday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Two convenient locations. The Vets are kind and caring. I have used them for more than 20 years. I trust them to care for my pet. We had our dog spayed and all the normal care. They are great about sending reminders for shots and other things care updates."
    Helen W.
  • "The vets and vet techs at Creekside Animal Hospital are very nice. They do what they can to make your animal feel special given the circumstances. They are transparent with their prices and make things easy by setting up appointments over the phone or in person. I will definitely be back to Creekside Animal Hospital as they truly want to see the best recovery for each animal."
    Patrick R.
  • "The staff at Creekside are AMAZING and honest and full of love!"
    Natalie F.
  • "This was our first time to visit Creekside. Do to the Corona Virus we needed to pull into the parking lot and call to let them know we were there. To my surprise the Doctor came to the car in person. I must say that I had a very good impression of her. I was very satisfied with the service we received there. After she completed the exam she called us to explain the results of the exam and answer any questions we had. At this time I would recommend them highly."
    Robert J.
  • "We have been coming to Creekside for 4 years now. I could not imagine going anywhere else! They have always been very patient with all of our questions & they were all very supportive when our dogs helped themselves to a bag of chocolate. I always know that when I have to leave our furbabies at Creekside for the day that will be well taken care of."
    Cooper, Cohen & Fatboy