Skin Tumor in Ferrets

By PetMD Editorial on Aug. 11, 2008

Mast Cell Tumor in Ferrets

Ferrets, like their human owners, can suffer from various types of tumors. A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells or tissues in any organ or system in the body. And while most tumors are benign and do not spread to other organs of the body, there are some tumors which can become cancerous and begin spreading, threatening the life of the sick ferret.

A common skin tumor in ferrets is the mast cell tumor. These mast cells are present all over the animal's body, but when it begins to form a growth it can become a problem. The tumors are most prevalent around the neck and trunk of the ferret.

Symptoms and Types

A mast cell tumor appears as a raised, irregular or scabbed growth on the ferret’s skin. The growth may cause extreme itchiness and can bleed when scratched, leading to secondary infections. It may also fluctuate in size or appearance, and can even disappear completely, before recurring.


The causes for these type of tumors are unknown at this time.


There are many causes for the symptoms listed above. Therefore, a veterinarian will usually conduct a microscopic examination of the skin cells (a cytologic examination) to diagnose a mast cell tumor.


Surgery will be required to remove the tumor. Other methods of treating the mast cell growth include radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health