Message Number: YG1211 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Pam Sessoms
Date: 2001-03-13 11:47:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Sonic - urine pH/diet

Edward managed to distill down my long post to some key points! So far
this is the only reply I've received, but I think my post was far too long
and rambling for all but the bravest reader. Let me try to summarize and
if anyone wants the whole story they can refer back to the monster long
original post.

The basic situation is that I have a ferret who often produces alkaline
urine (places her at risk of forming of struvite crystals) while she is
receiving a diet whose protein content comes from meat (Bob's chicken
gravy). She seems to have occasional painful urination (even when she
doesn't actually have crystals) but she doesn't seem to have a bladder
infection based on several urinalyses. The conventional wisdom as I have
intepreted it is that meat protein should lead to acidic urine, and that
indeed, normal ferret urine pH is right around 6 (with of course minor
variations, but certainly it doesn't seem normal for it to go above, say,
6.8 which is about as low as Sonic's is running for now).

So. Is it her diet (some dogs fed pure meat diets produce lots of urea,
leading to struvite crystals, but ferrets are not dogs), or is it some
kind of medical problem? She does have a complicated medical history.
Mixing the Bob's gravy with about 50% Totally Ferret Senior is so far not
making much difference, but the TF has only been added over a couple of

Does anyone on the list have a ferret eating exclusive Bob's gravy or
chicken baby food over the long term? Have they had a urinalysis done at
some point, and if so, could I possibly trouble you go get the pH and let
me know what it was? I really hate for anyone to go to any trouble over

Edward asked:
> (I assume she's using a paper strip pH indicator and interprets the
> color after the strip is dipped into the ferret's urine)

I'm using these REALLY COOL urine test strips that my vet's office ordered
for me. Each strip has 9 patches on it for different values - they are
handy for me because of Sonic's diabetic tendencies on pred as they test
for both urine sugar and ketones. I don't know if litmus paper test
strips or perhaps aquarium water test kits will work accurately for urine
as it is not plain water - can anyone answer that? :-)

Best wishes to all!

-Pam S.

Oh and btw, Sonic has had no more crying while peeing since I wrote that
original message, and her urine pH is 6.8 lately, so I didn't drop off a
urine sample. I probably will later this week, though, and definitely
will if she cries again.