Snoopy's autopsy pictures

Yet another DIY post mortem... Sorry for the lack of technical terms but I am still not that good with recognising/ naming all internal organs and I have no idea about intestines. I hope one day I will be able to do a good post mortem and not miss anything and wish I had done this, that, and the other in hindsight...

Holding the mammary growth between fingers

Mammary growth (I cut into it while cutting into the skin...)

Mammary growth again

Lots of fat surrounding the left (?) kidney, and the suspicious area on the right next to the fat

Kidney can be seen in the fat, and suspicious area again

Liver lobe

Intestines, spleen, stomach

Intestines with another suspicious area

Mesentery (?)

First suspicious area again after I have removed the kidneys





Abdominal growth by right kidney

Abdominal growth cut open

Chest cavity, heart, left lung, I wish I had looked into the white fatty tissue to see if there was a growth (enlarged lymph node) in there but I was so shocked by the lungs I forgot everything else...

Liver and gall bladder in middle

Chest cavity with heart and left lung

Chest cavity with right lung

Heart- wish I had sent a tissue sample off, the tip was very hard and looks enlarged on the picture now...



Snoopy's histopathlogy report

Histopathology on Submitted Post Mortem Tissues

Post-Mortem Tissues from a Ferret: 9 samples received; 9 sections evaluated on 3 slides.

Lung (slide 1). Bronchi and bronchioles appear normal, but alveoli are often collapsed (genuine atelectasis or artefact of handling and processing). There are no other remarkable findings.

Pancreas (2 sections, slides 1 and 2). There are several nodular foci of proliferation of slightly enlarged acini without invasion or atypia (nodular hyperplasia; incidental and harmless). No lesions are visible in the endocrine islets. There are no other remarkable findings.

Liver (slide 2). Architecture is normal. Hepatocytes often have mildly lacy to vacuolated cytoplasm (lipid, within histologically normal limits). Bile ductules are sometimes mildly distended by bile (mild cholestasis). There are no other remarkable findings.

Kidney (2 sections, slides 1 and 2). The sections are similar. Many glomerular capillary loops are diffusely or locally expanded by hyaline material, and the capillary lumens often appear poorly perfused. Affected glomeruli frequently show synechial attachments to Bowman's capsule, which is only occasionally and mildly thickened by fibrosis. Proteinaceous fluid distends the lumens of a small minority of renal tubules. Otherwise, no lesions are visible.

Adrenal Mass, per history (slide 3). A multinodular wedge section, approximately 12 x 20 mm, shows two cell populations. One is a population of spindle cells, which are packed tightly into interlacing streams, bundles and swirls. These uniform cells have indistinct borders, moderate amounts of slightly grainy eosinophilic cytoplasm, and a solitary oval to fusiform nucleus. Mitotic figures are scarce, less than 1 per 10 high-power (400x) field. The second population comprises polygonal cells, arranged as nests, packets and islands that are distributed within the spindle cell mass. These polygonal cells have moderately distinct borders and moderately abundant clear to eosinophilic cytoplasm, with a solitary oval nucleus with clear to vesicular chromatin. Mitotic figures do not feature. The polygonal cells are sometimes separated and surrounded by locally abundant, amorphous, clear to pale blue (myxoid) matrix. Sometimes, clusters of the polygonal cells appear to finger into the spindle cell population.

Mammary Mass, per history (slide 3). This section has a background of deep dermis with apocrine sweat glands, adipose tissue (panniculus or subcutis) and striated (skeletal muscle). The adipose layer is extensively infiltrated and effaced by a mass composed of closely-packed polygonal cells, which form irregular tubules, acini, cribriform structures and small islands within an extensive desmoplastic stroma. In some better-differentiated areas, the tubules and acini appear to branch from a central duct (resembling normal mammary architecture) but in other areas, the structures are isolated within the desmoplasia. The cells themselves have moderately defined cell borders, moderate amounts of eosinophilic to amphophilic cytoplasm, and a solitary oval nucleus of medium-large size. There is frequent loss of nuclear polarity. Mitotic figures average 3 per individual high-power (400x) field. Some lymphocytes and plasma cells are present in the stroma, and fibrosis extends into adjacent muscle and isolates some attenuated myocytes.


1. Kidneys: Glomerulonephritis -- diffuse and nearly global, subacute or chronic-active, moderate to marked, with evidence of protein loss

2. Adrenal Mass: Two Tumours -- Leiomyosarcoma, well-differentiated AND Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma, myxoid variant

3. Mammary Mass: Mammary Adenocarcinoma, simple tubular type

4. Liver: Cholestasis -- multifocal and mild

5. Lung: Atelectasis -- extensive, acute or agonal/post-mortem

6. Pancreas: Pancreatic Nodular Hyperplasia -- multifocal


This ferret died with several different disease processes in various tissues. The kidneys show extensive glomerulonephritis, which was probably severe enough to have been clinically important. The cause is not visible in the sections. In ferrets, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (as here) has classically been associated with Aleutian disease (parvovirus); however, Aleutian disease is quite uncommon and would typically be associated with other lesions such as generalized lymphadenopathy and splenic infarction (lymph nodes and spleen not submitted), plasmacytic infiltrates in many viscera on histology (not seen) and hypergammaglobulinaemia. If other gross post-mortem findings and biochemistry results were compatible, then Aleutian disease should be considered. Otherwise, the glomerulonephritis might be attributable to antigen-antibody deposition of some other cause, for example, chronic inflammation or infection at a site not evaluated on histology.

Adrenal tumours are very common in ferrets. This particular tumour is biphasic, which is not rare in this species. One component is a low-grade malignant neoplasm of smooth muscle origin (leiomyosarcoma). Leiomyosarcomas are quite commonly found attached to the adrenal gland, ovary, or testis of ferrets, though some such tumours seem to be unattached, as if "free-floating" in the abdomen in the suprarenal area. Although classed as malignant based on their cytological features, such leiomyosarcomas in ferrets have not been reported to metastasize and are generally cured by surgical excision, where feasible. The second component is a malignant tumour of the adrenal cortex. Adrenal cortical carcinomas are a well-known malignancy in domestic ferrets. They can be unilateral or bilateral, but seem preferentially to affect the left gland. This ferret's carcinoma appears most compatible with the myxoid variant, an unusually aggressive form of adrenal cortical carcinoma that has been reported in ferrets and in humans. Although metastasis is a rare complication of typical adrenal cortical carcinomas in ferrets, the myxoid variant shows much more frequent metastasis -- almost half of affected ferrets in one study had metastasis. In this case, the tumour cells have invaded the adjacent leiomyosarcoma, but I did not find any evidence of metastasis in the other samples that were submitted. This carcinoma would have carried an unfavourable prognosis.

Mammary neoplasia is generally rare in ferrets, but when it occurs, it is often associated with underlying adrenal disease -- presumably, oestrogens produced by functional adrenal masses stimulate the mammary proliferation. This particular mammary tumour is a malignancy (adenocarcinoma) which has invaded the adjacent subcutis and appears poised to invade muscle. No metastasis is evident in the small sample provided nor in the submitted portion of lung, but this tumour would have carried a risk of both recurrence and metastasis.

The cholestasis in the liver is mild. It might simply reflect anorexia or inappetence associated with illness. Many other causes are possible, but no clue to any other underlying cause is seen here. There is no evidence of primary underlying hepatic disease.

The pulmonary atelectasis is probably an agonal or even post-mortem finding. Unless it was widespread within the lungs, it is unlikely to have been significant.

Finally, there is nodular hyperplasia of the pancreas, a common, benign and incidental finding in mature mammals of many different species.