Welcome to our series on Common Ferret Illnesses, and specifically our deep-dive into ferrets suffering from a mast cell tumor. In this article, you will learn what causes them, the most common symptoms, and which ferrets are most at risk. We will also provide an overview on what steps you will want to take to help treat them. What is a Mast Cell Tumor? Just like eosinophilic gastroenteritis, mast cell tumors are another way your ferret reacts to irritants in their environment or diet. A ferret’s body produces histamines (the same thing that causes your skin to react from a bee sting) when it tries to ‘fight off’ foreign bodies. With a mast cell tumor, your ferret’s body reacts by growing small, itchy tumors on their skin. Mast cell tumors start off red and can turn dark brown and black if your ferret scratches them and causes them to bleed and scab. They are usually less than 1cm in diameter. Luckily, mast cell tumors are rarely cancerous in ferrets. We are very familiar with this ailment: Two out of our three boys suffer from mast cell tumors. Symptoms: Red bump on ferret’s bodySmall scab on ferret’s bodyConstant itching in one spot on ferret’s bodybloody scab on ferret’s body Most at Risk: According to VCA Hospital, ferrets over 4 years old are the most likely to develop mast cell tumors. How Do You Treat Mast Cell Tumors in Ferrets? The first step is identifying whether or not your ferret has a mast cell tumor. The next step is monitoring how much it is irritating your ferret. Are they suffering from how itchy it is? Are they scratching themselves so much they bleed? It may be time to take your ferret to the vet. Mast cell tumors can be surgically removed. However, that does not mean more mast cell tumors will not appear on other parts of your ferret’s body. There are special ointments you can put on to soothe your ferret’s itchiness. However, we do not have a specific brand we feel comfortable recommending at this time.