Message Number: YG1234 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-13 22:28:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Ferret having urinary challenges

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Tamara Stanton <tamarastanton@y...>
> Second, our first urinary challenge with him: Hobbes
> immediately took to urinating in small amounts in a
> number of places around the room. It didn't appear
> that he was having problems urinating or that he was
> in any pain (he drinks more water than any other
> ferret I've ever seen and is eating us out of house
> and home!). We took him to the vet (very, very ferret
> knowledgable) for the general check up but also for
> fear of adrenal (shelter mom mentioned that peeing
> like that may be a sign of adrenal).

Not a bad thought - male ferret, hyperestrogenism often results in
marking behavior.

Our vet
> thoroughly checked him out with this problem in mind,
> and mentioned that the adrenals didn't feel enlarged
> but perhaps he had some kind of infection, so we're on
> Clavamox.

Let's not rule it out yet - it's still at the top of the list.
Normal sized adrenals are not something that you can really feel with
any veracity, and you can have hyperfunctioning adrenal lesions which
don't result in adrenal enlargement. Bottom line - just because you
can't feel the adrenals, doesn't mean they aren't the cause of the

It's been over a week and there has been no
> change in behavior (it's very odd; he doesn't just go
> in corners...he even goes on the bottom shelf of the
> bookcase!

I wish we knew more about his history and how long this problem has
been going on. Incontinence is unusual in male ferrets, and the rare
cases I have seen have been anatomic in origin - urinary diverticula,
aberrant ureters, etc. Should the additional adrenal evaluation not
be productive, a possibility is contrast studies of the bladder.

> Third, our second urinary challenge: This morning, I
> noticed him drinking his own urine from a small pool
> on the floor. He may have been doing this for some
> time, but this was the first time I noticed. I checked
> the FML archives for guidance, but only came up with 3
> conclusions: 1, this happens to many ferrets, usually
> male; 2, at least one person thinks that it may be a
> sign of diabetes (MAJOR concern because we give
> nutrical as a treat); and 3, at least one person
> thinks that it may be a sign of adrenal.

I'll buy off on #1, but I don't think there is any evidence for #2 or
#3. #3 is easy - get a urine dipstick from your vet and check for
glucose. While diabetes will result in excess urination, it is
usually controlled, and the animals often have noticeable signs of
excessive thirst and excessive urination, and may show weight loss.
There will be glucose in the urine, and a dipstick will pick it up.

Well, that's a place to start (or several).

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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