Devil Facial Tumour Disease

The Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a fatal condition in Tasmanian devils, characterised by cancers around the mouth and head. The tumours or cancers are first noticed in and around the mouth as small lesions or lumps. These develop into large tumours around the face and neck and sometimes even in other parts of the body.

DFTD is extremely unusual as it is only one of four recorded cancers that can spread like a contagious disease. The cancer is passed from devil to devil through contact, including biting. The live tumour cells aren't rejected by their immune system because of
the cancer's ability to 'hide' from the immune system.

DFTD affects mainly adults although juveniles as young as one can also be infected. When the disease is advanced Tasmanian devils may have many cancers throughout the body.

Infected devils may become emaciated if the tumours interfere with teeth and feeding. Many females lose their young. Infected animals die within months of the lesions first appearing.

For further information please visit the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program website: the Tasmanian Devil Program logo


Save the Tasmanian Devil Program
134 Macquarie Street

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