Message Number: YG1193 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-12 23:04:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Daria the wonder ferret

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Nancy K Wilder <nkwild@j...> wrote:
> Hello All!!
> I have a question about a ferret I've been taking care of for
> I feel like I am at a loss for what could be wrong with her and
> maybe someone out there could help with suggestions.
> Daria is a 2 1/2 year old MF girl - she was surrendered just before
> Christmas along with her cagemate, a 5 year old boy. Anyway, the
> surrendering party said that she had something wrong, not eating on
> own, losing weight. Apparently, they had bloodwork done at their
vet and
> everything came back normal. Placed into my hands was a severely
> underweight, stressed, and sickly little girl, weighing in at just
over 1
> pound. I began Amoxi, Sub-q fluids twice a day, carafate and
> (Hills A/D) every three hours, round the clock. She had diarrhea
> (basically a watery version of what I was putting into her), was
> her teeth, and more or less wasting away before my eyes. A few
days of
> feedings and the vomiting began - everything that went in came out
> (projectile at times). Kept up with the feeding/meds routine and
added a
> dose of hairball remedy every day suspecting a blockage. A fecal
> done, normal and a BG was done - 111. So, Pred was started (.25mL
> daily) to help with the inflammation from the ulcers basically as a
> resort... she was now under a pound despite all my effort. Amazing
> around after about 3 pred doses. Also added Tagamet to the regime -
> everything started to look better, Daria began eating kibble on her
> playing, and basically showing an interest in living again. I
> to feed her the A/D three times a day, including just before her
> each morning and night. So, I decide to start backing off on the
> since she's doing so well and things go sour again, she begins to
> and have diarrhea again and go. So, without rambling on any
> every time I try to decrease the pred amt. she goes down the tubes -
> tried probably 5 times in the past 2 months and she gets sick and
> eating everytime. I've got her at .20mL twice daily now and if I
go any
> lower then that (even a tiny amount), she returns to being sick.
> it be a partial blockage? Insulinoma? neurotic ferret disease??
> don't know, I've thought about this little girl so much that I'm
> going nuts.

Based on the fact that she is responding to prednisone, I thin we can
rule out a blockage - usually pred wouldn't help these at all.
Insulinoma can be ruled out by thenofmal blood glucose and the fact
that diarrhea is usually not a significant symptom of insulinoma.

I thinkthe top two disease on my list would be some variant of
chronic bowel inflammation (could she have had ECE, or helicobacter?)
or eosinophilic gastroenteritis. The prd is obviously helping so the
lesion is most likely inflammatory. But we can't go any farther
without a biopsy to characterize the type of lesion and the pattern
of inflammation (which may help to make a definitive diagnosis.)

Don't go nuts - you have obviously found a workable treatment. Many
ferrets are on long-term steroids for enteric disease. You've found
a workable treatment; now all you have to do is find the disease that
goes with it.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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