Message Number: SG2799 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Diane Burman"
Date: 2001-05-13 23:05:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Is there a treatment for liver disease?
To: <>
Cc: "Sukie Crandall" <>
Message-ID: <008401c2b58c$81c893d0$6401a8c0@dell>

Thank you so much for the helpful information, Sukie. The document by Dr.
Williams was really interesting and I printed it off to share with my vet in
the event he hasn't seen it.

When I originally asked about bilirubin levels and mentioned Dr. Williams
comment writing a post regarding other things that can elevate bilirubin, I
was referring to the FHL post # YG3524.

In that post, the last paragraph, Dr. Williams wrote:
"I generally don't make a diagnosis of liver disease based on GGT, or
any one particular enzyme. The most important value in the diagnosis
of liver disease is bilirubin, but even this compound may be elevated
in conditions other than hepatic failure. "

So, that got me to thinking about what possible things other than liver
disease might cause Meg to have a Total Bilirubin count of 11. I'm grateful
yet puzzled that she doesn't appear anywhere near as deathly ill as she did
when her bilirubin was 14 just 2 years ago. Obviously something certainly is
going on but hopefully it is just typical post-op recovery.

Later on in my post when I wondered if the spots my vet saw on Meg's liver
might be a normal finding, I was thinking of Dr. Williams post to the FHL #
YG7766 dated 10/07/01 with the subject line of "re: hepatitis in ferrets".
In that post he wrote:
"Additionally, it is not the cause of the white spots seen n the
liver. These spots are small accumularions of fat in hepatocytes -
fat in the liver is commonly seen in ferrets who are not eating
well. Once again, not something that gets any definitive treatment. "

Then in post # YG8542 he wrote:
"Fat accumulation is a very common finding in the liver of ill ferrets
and is not a disease entity in itself, but a result."

While I didn't see these spots myself and don't have a picture to upload, I
can't help grasping at straws, hoping that what my vet saw was not something
to be concerned about. It was reassuring to read that if a ferret has not
been eating well that the liver enzymes can be elevated due to mobilization
of fat stores. Since she has been "off" her food for a few days, that could
be a possible explanation. The jaundice and the high bilirubin level worry
me more than anything. You asked if ferrets develop skin blisters when they
jaundice. In Meg's case, she was *very* yellow (actually rather dark orange
at one point) but I don't remember any blisters or sores of any kind. I do
seem to recall that she was quite itchy though.

> Livers do regenerate but they are not really the same afterward. I
> know from my family that a human who has had a serious liver illness
> can have the liver years later act up temporarily during or after a
> major illness and then have it simmer down again.

While I don't know if this holds true for ferrets, it is exactly what I have
been hoping is going on in Meg's case. I didn't realize it can and does
happen in humans so who knows? Maybe one of the vets has had experience with
this. It gives me some hope. Thank you.

Diane & the gang