Posted: September 3, 2014, 10 p.m. EDT
© Courtesy Jay Gossert
A ferret’s tail is normally smooth and free from lumps or bumps.
Q: I recently had to leave my ferrets with a friend while I was homeless. I came to visit them. My female ferret has what looks to be a large cyst on her tail. My friend said she caught her tail in between the cage bars. I am still homeless and have no way to get her to a veterinarian. Is there anything I can do for her?
A: The mass on the tail of a ferret can be from a number of things. It could be from trauma, such as getting the tail caught in the bars. The resulting damage could lead to a cyst or a "bump” due to damage to either the soft or bony tissues of the tail.
A number of cancer conditions also can cause a cyst on the tail. Some of these conditions are benign, meaning the cancer won’t spread and your ferret might go through life with the cyst on the tail and there will be no further problems. Or this could be a malignant cancer and it will spread. The only way to know is by having a veterinarian do a biopsy of the tissue on the tail.
If this is a benign cyst or the result of trauma, you need to watch for any bleeding. Bleeding can occur when the tail is traumatized in some manner. Try to keep your ferret away from areas that could cause bleeding of the cyst. This would include sharp objects, wood floors, cages with areas that have spaces that could entrap the tail, and other ferrets that might inadvertently cause trauma to the tail through roughhousing. If bleeding occurs, contact a veterinarian.
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