Clusters of lymphoma in ferrets

Susan E. Erdman*, Phyllis J. Kanki, Frances M. Moore, Susan A. Brown, Thomas A. Kawasaki, Keith W. Mikule, Karin U. Travers, Steven F. Badylak, James G. Fox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Cluster outbreaks of lymphoma and leukemia have been associated with viral infections in many species including humans, cattle, and cats. This study describes epidemiological, clinical, and pathological features of cluster outbreaks of lymphoma in multiferret households and examines and compares the Aleutian disease virus (ADV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) status of cases, ferrets at risk, and controls. Three ferret groups with 21 cases of histologically diagnosed lymphoma (12.6% cumulative incidence) and their cohabitants (n = 35) were examined and compared with three control groups (n = 52) of cohabitating ferrets without lymphoma. A familial distribution was observed in one group but most cases were not consanguinous. Ferrets greater than 3 years of age developed chronic disease in two of the groups and 2-year-old adults had acute disease in the remaining group. Lymphocytosis, splenomegaly, and lymphadenopathy were prominent features. Histologically, predominantly small noncleaved cell and polymorphous lymphoid lesions were observed. All of the ferrets with lymphoma that were tested for ADV and FeLV using serology or PCR were negative. The rate of ADV antibody among cases or ferrets at risk was not significantly different from controls. None of the cluster ferrets were seropositive for FeLV p27 antigen using a monoclonal ELISA. Infection with a novel ferret virus is suspected, but an etiological agent has not yet been identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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