Message Number: YG1280 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-14 22:45:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Proliferative colitis

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., jazmufsky@a... wrote:
]> I have searched the archives (specifically #164) and read a bit
about PC. I
> have a ~3yr. old gib, Mufasa, whom my wonderful vet has been
treating for a
> least six months. Muf began with loose stools last fall and our
vet ruled
> out any parasite or bacterial infections with numerous stool
samples. He
> thinks it is PC. I realize a biopsy would be definitive in
diagnosis, but Muf
> has gone from four pounds down to three. I'm afraid he wouldn't be
able to
> handle sedation as he is skin and bones.

> He has been treated with Pedipred (1cc qhs) since December. The
vet has
> tried a shot of Invermectin also, without relief.

Has Chloramphenicol, the only antibiotic effective against the
organism that causes proliferative colitis been attempted?

At one point, he ate a
> little kibble and I backed it off to .5 but he quit eating
altogether. So, I
> went back to the 1cc. Muf is very energetic, alert and playful and
> from the weight loss, you wouldn't realize he was having problems.

That may mean that he is a surgical candidate, and a biopsy is the
only way that you can definitively rule of PC in this case.

>He loves Gerbers 2nd stage chicken and turkey. I feed him
> only at night to try to get him hungry enough to eat the kibble.
> work. He does eat at least a jar of food at a sitting.

Well, that is a good thing. We can keep these guys going
indefinitely on baby food, especially if you are supplementing with
taurine (as noted below.)

His poo is mushy but
> good in color, although I occasionally find some fresh blood in it.
> seediness is lessening and I find an occasional medium sized,
somewhat formed
> stool; these are few and far between. I caught him grinding his
teeth at one
> point after finding the blood in the stool and I gave him some
Carafate. It
> aggravated the problem and he quit the grinding w/in 24 hours and
as soon as
> I d/c it, he did eat a little kibble also, but quit again. His
weight has
> stablized, I think, but not gaining. I have tried Ferretvite, but
even in
> small quantities, he throws it right back up; he does keep the
> down.
> I am also concerned about the lack of Taurine in his diet. One of
my rescues
> had CHF and was put on a half a tablet BID which I ground up with
> Ferretone. Should I start it with him?

Can't hurt in this case. I usually recommend grinding kibble into
the baby food after a month or so to try to increase taurine intake,
but your solution is even better. Might I ask who makes the tablets
that you have acquired....?

OK - so now the diagnosis is proliferative colitis. While some of
your description supports it, specifically the gender of the patient
and the occasional presence of blood, more evidence rules against it.

Most cases of proliferative colits result in frequent defecation with
pain, mucous, scant stool, and fresh blood. Your description of
loose seedy stools of apparently normal volume, suggests a small
intestinal origin rather than a colonic one. The seediness of the
stools suggests maldigestion/malabsorption, which is generally done
inthe small intestine. Problems in the large intestine generally
result in a lot of pain and straining and small frequent poops; small
intestinal problems result in profuse watery to seedy stools without
pain, as a result of malabsorption.

AT this point, in order to rule in or out PC, a biopsy would be in
order. If this ferret is active and playful, and eating a jar of
baby food at each feeding, he may be a better candidate than you
know, in spite of his weight loss. If a biopsy is still not a
possibility, than empiric therapy with chloramphenicol would be most
appropriate in a suspected case of PC.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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