Message Number: YG1313 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-15 15:28:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] broccoli

In a message dated 3/15/01 4:05:14 PM Eastern Standard Time,
vedinger@y... writes:

<< a few days ago someone told a story on the fml about her ferrets
stealing broccoli. she asked if anyone else had ferrets who like
it. i replied and said that yes, my murphy loves broccoli. today
someone wrote me and said that it's bad to give ferrets vegetables
because they can't digest them and it could cause a blockage. >>

Dear Vicki - I used to give my ferrets a bit of veggies here and there but
now have substituted little pieces of meat or fowl instead. They also get
meat/fowl to as a meal every day (Also Totally Ferret, etc.). I will tell
you why I no longer give veggies. You mentioned that you see the little
pieces pass through in the stool.
This means the broccoli hasn't been digested - ferrets really can't digest
vegetables very well, and you are giving pieces small enough not to cause
blockage - so far.

My ferrets gave up veggies forever the day Tiger Lilly went down. I will try
to be brief on her story since I wrote up the history and it was posted on
the web. It also goes well with the recent comments of "starving" ferrets
with full coats. Her Grace, The Tiger Lilly as she was called just about
always had a full coat year in and out.
One morning when I picked her up, she felt lighter then the day before and I
stopped and checked her -- could feel her little ribs. I immediately
isolated her in hospital cage for observation, as well as offering her
Nutri-Cal & Ferretone, which she refused. It did not take long to ascertain
that she had a blockage. On palpation, her stomach actually felt enlarged -
which really concerned me.

Naturally, it was Saturday morning (ferrets almost always will have a health
crisis on the weekend or a holiday). Since she would not take oral fluids, I
started her on Lactated Ringer's and called her vet who was in but dealing
with several emergencies. I felt I could keep Tiger Lilly stable until
Monday - if not would call vet at home. Monday a.m. she promptly went under
exploratory surgery to remove the blockage.

It was a mess. Tiger Lilly loved veggies and would get little pieces of
broccoli, carrot and even lettuce. Tiger Lilly had what the vet called
"garbage belly". A few days before, a carrot stick went missing from my
lunch plate and even though I searched, I couldn't find it. I was not too
worried - didn't think any ferret would eat too much to cause a problem.
Wrong. Tiger Lilly had a massive blockage leading out of the stomach into
the intestine and in the stomach. Lots of carrot and even some lettuce. The
swelling that I palpated was indeed a very gassed and swollen stomach. But
worse. Her pancreas were really ticked off. She had a massive case of
hemorrhagic pancreatitis. She was in very bad shape. Coming out of surgery
her vet gave her only a 50-50 chance of survival.

She came home on instructions for nothing oral for the next 72 hours. Would
still be maintained on SQ fluids. Well, not to elaborate, but it was touch
and go but she made it. Thank God. And that was the end of vegetables for
my ferrets....

On a side note, while her vet was in, she found that she had hyperplasia of
the left adrenal and it was removed. This was a case of silent adrenal
disease. No symptoms whatsoever. Tiger Lily was over 4 years at the time and
believed to be from Path Valley - she was a rescue. I hope you will consider
this story and change your mind about giving veggies and substitute another
treat. You have been lucky so far. Best regards, Meg