Message Number: YG1131 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Edward Lipinski
Date: 2001-03-11 20:55:00 UTC
Subject: ECE can be eliminated forever! Wishful thinking or a fact?

Dear Doctor Bruce Williams,

Will you please tell us how you identified the reason (causative agent)
why ferrets come down with ECE.

How did you come to the conclusion that the causative agent is a
"coronavirus'? And just what is a this?

Recently there are statements on this health list that ferret diet and
nutrition may play a more than previously thought impact on the
development of this condition in the 72" of ferret intestine (and

ECE is of particular interest to me here in Seattle at our shelter and
husbandry ferretarium for just one simple reason.

In spite of the fact that we are in receipt of many different ferrets, of
all ages, in various states of health and nutrition, we've never
experienced a case of ECE. Why? Why?

I ask myself why? I can give no answer.

Our ferretarium is certainly not the 'hospital' setting. It's more
similar to an active farm (about 20 percent of our ferrets are not
neutered nor descented) and conditions here are not the same as the
conditions where just a few ferrets are being housed as typical in
someone's apartment or house. We've been inspected three times by the
animal control agencies on the basis of complaints from women visitors to
our ferretarium, reception room, shelter and husbandry for reasons some
of these women (some with perfumed ferrets) found not to their liking.
Our practices of ferret husbandry have always passed inspection by animal
control, so no trouble there. The majority of our wire cages are within
inches of neighboring cages, both horizontally and vertically. Airborne
transmission of viral particles here would be so very, very easy. Yet no

As you must already know, LUMPS (Lipinski's Ultimate Mustelid Porridge
Soup, a home-made concoction of cooked meat and veggies, finely ground to
puree state and liquified) is a standard diet here on an every other day
schedule. Alternate with LUMPS is whatever ferret kibble or kitten/cat
food I can lay my hands on for the purpose of giving the ferrets chewable
food. The also get cooked chicken, turkey, left-over steak, porkchop,
spare rib bones to chew on, including LUMPS saturated cooked rawhide
strips, which we call LUMPSCHEWS. Most bones are cooked until soft in a
pressure cooker at high pressure to inhibit the excess loss of bone
marrow nutrients that would occur is open-pot cooking. Also included in
the LUMPS, from time to time is the left-overs from our own meals.

Unlike the well known Duck Soup, which I understand is primarily remedial
for sick ferrets, LUMPS, on the other side of the spectrum, is standard
staple which is fed to keep the ferrets from getting sick, or more to the
point, to ensure health. And it certainly does that - especially where
ECE is concerned.

So what I am saying is this: the FNW ferrets will eat just about
anything and the oldest ferret, Bousno-ichi by name, we have here now in
our geriatric ward was bred and born 4/4/1989 right here. She was weened
on LUMPS and ate it as a juvenile. She was adopted for 10.5 years and
then returned to us 10/19/99 as required, since the original adopters
moved to California, as I remember. She's currently 12 years old, less a
month or so.

Doctor Williams, yes I know that you are'nt a ferret nutritionist, but
what is it that I'm doing wrong that is right, or conversely, in your
opinion? Why never, ever: ECE?

What'daya think, huh? If ECE could be eliminated forever, is that not a
worthy goal? Could it be as simple as their food? It sure makes me
wonder. How about you?

Edward Lipinski
Ferret Endowment for Research, Rehabilitation, Education & Training
Society NorthWest Foundation, originally est 1981 as Ferret Fanciers of
Puget Sound. FNW Foundation, est Jan 4, 1991, is a nonprofit
organization affiliated with the National Heritage Foundation and all
donations are tax deductible.