Message Number: YG1133 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-11 21:50:00 UTC
Subject: Re: cigarette filter

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Alexis & Jason Thonen"
<alexisandjason@h...> wrote:
> I suspect my solomon may have eaten at least a cigarette filter, as
well as
> possibly more than that. I gave him (and all the others) laxatone
as soon
> as I found out. I have been monitoring closly. it's been 4 hours
> first notice. (not sure when he actually chewed on them) he just
> and it was somewhat loose and seedy, with a small bit of mucus. it
> like pretty normal poop 4 hours after a big dose of laxatone.
after he
> pooped I gave him another dose. he went to his food and sniffed
but did not
> take any, then went back to bed.
> will an xray or palpation show positively that he did eat it, or
will we
> have to open him up to find out for sure?
> if he did eat it, is there any chance of his being able to pass it
> or will he have to have surgery?
> I don't think he ingested any actual tobacco, but if he did, how
much can he
> tolerate before getting sick?

Dear Alexis and Jason:

Radiographs and palpation are both fairly poor when it comes to
pinpointing blockages - plain radiographs pick up about 10% of
blockages, and barium studies may double that. Palpation only
reveals them when they are causing a lot of pain.

Most of the successful surgeries come about as a result of a high
index of suspicion, and vague GI signs, such as inappetence,
diminished stools, perhaps vomiting. Cutting on a ferret for a
foreign body is often a "gut" feeling (no pun intended) by the vet.

This said, if he continues to show GI signs, and that filter doesn't
show up, I would suggest you contact your vet on Monday and let him
know your concerns, so that appropriate action can be taken, whether
it be continued observation or surgery.

Regarding the ingestion of tobacco - the nicotine in tobacco usually
causes vomition, salivation, dilated pupils, staggers, involuntarily
urination, and seizures, if the level is high enough. If you haven't
seen this, it is likely that either an insignificant or no tobacco
was ingested.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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