Spike's autopsy pictures
Picture of the chest cavity with the heart in the middle but I'm not sure what the round mass towards the bottom left of the heart is... The rest on the left of the heart is the mass that was in his chest, you can also see one of the veins running through the mass.
The mass on the bottom and lungs and heart above it.
Different angle of the mass (on the left) and lungs on the right with the heart on the bottom right corner.
Spike's histopathology report:
Head oedema several months, chest radiographs - anterior thoracic mass.
The submission consists of heart, lung and samples from a mass in the anterior thorax from a male ferret (age not stated).
HEART: the myocardium is largely unremarkable apart from a couple of very small foci of myocyte vacuolar degeneration, with early replacement fibrosis. The cause or significance of this is uncertain - it could be within "normal" limits in an older animal. Alternatively it could be a reflection of increased workload on the myocardium as a result of the mass (see below). In any case, it is unlikely to have been pathologically significant at this degree.
LUNG: the sample is congested, otherwise histologically unremarkable.
MASS: the sections reveal a mass composed of solid sheets of uniform, intermediately differentiated lymphocytes. These have rather small (ca 1x rbc diameter), hyperchromatic nuclei without prominent nucleoli. The mitotic rate is moderate (5 or 6 per 40x field). The diagnosis is lymphoma. It is not certain whether this has originated in the thymus or in the mediastinal lymph nodes, but there is a small piece of histologically normal thymus present in one of the sections, so I suspect the tumour originated in lymph nodes.
Lymphosarcoma is the commonest malignancy of the domestic ferret. It generally arises spontaneously, although there is increasing evidence of a transmissible form. Several variants of the disease exist: a small-cell type is more commonly encountered in older animals while the lymphoblastic form is seen more frequently in younger (less than 2 years old) ferrets. The prognosis is always poor.