Message Number: YG1258 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-03-14 12:36:00 UTC
Subject: IMPORTANT member note on variation in drug responses

I was very positively impressed by the extremely well worded and
balanced note by a list member who pointed out that not all
individuals respond the same way to the same medications. That is
such a basic truth that it bears repeating: not all individuals
respond the same way to the same medications!

A medicine which helps most ferrets CAN be ineffective, dangerous,
and sometimes even fatal to an unusual ferret here or there. It's
the same as with humans. How many of you know people who can't get
any relief from some antihistamines although others work for them?
How many of you know people who become ill if they have some
medications? How many of you know people who have to reserve some
medications for uses that can't be avoided -- like people who have
glaucoma but may need a steroid to survive an anaphylaxic reaction
even if that medication may blind them, or like a person who is
allergic to penicillin and cephalosporins who must risk death from
allergy to fight death from flesh-eating bacteria? How many of you
know people who will die if they have a certain set of antibiotics or
some other medication? *****Ferrets are NO different that way. Just
because something works for most does NOT mean that it will work for
all ferrets. They run those same sorts of perils listed for

Take my word for it: we have been there! We have had a ferret who
had an exceedingly aberrant response to Lasix and she really needed
the help of that sort of drug. Over the years (14+) that I have been
on the internet reading about ferrets I have read of strange drug
responses to a wide assortment of drugs by a number of individual

It happens; it is reality, and as such it is very important that
people note which animals have unusual responses or reactions
(including allergic reactions) and make sure that those are noted in
the individual ferret's charts and papers. Some individuals just
plain need to be handled differently from typical ferrets.

There are so many variables among individuals: genetics, uterine
environment and fetal exposures, acquired medical sensitivities,
tag-along allergies (a hypothetical class last I read for which a
severe allergic response to one item causes the body to also
misidentify something else within it at the same time as an invader),
allergies, sensitivities, environment, past medical history, other
medications taken, existing medical conditions, etc., etc., etc.
Variations prevent absolutes. NO medication is right for everyone.
There WILL be individuals who need to be treated differently from the
norm and it is essential that everyone realize this.

Also, sometimes there is no choice but to risk a medication, in hopes
of saving a life. Yes, that happens, too.

Just as each of us is unique in some ways medically, so is each
ferret; some just do it in a much more pronounced fashion, and if
those individuals need medical alternatives -- as they often may --
then that reality must be accepted and worked with.

Anyone who has ferrets long enough will at some point encounter one
of their own who has aberrant responses; don't forget that.