Message Number: YG1538 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-21 12:40:00 UTC
Subject: Phil

Dear Amanda:

There are a number of situations here that warrant discussion. Diffuse hair
loss is most commonly a sign of adrenal disease in ferrets of this age
group; however, with the concomitant GI problems, I cannot totally rule out
the possibility of stress-related alopecia (also known as telogen
effluvium). Inthis case, I thin that I would want to pursue other routine
bloodwork before I would concentrate on the adrenal test. Even if the
adrenal tests were positive, it would still not explain the seedy stools.

My first question is whether this ferret (or any other member of your
family, human or mustelid) has been exposed to a new ferret, a pet store
kit, or even visited a pet store. Do you have other ferrets, and are they
having GI problems? Has a fecal exam been performed, especially in light of
a prescription for Albon?

I think rather than focusing on the possible adrenal disease, I would start
with the malabsorptive process occuring in the GI tract (resulting inthe
birdseed stools.) Any additional information on this case would be

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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-----Original Message-----

Dear Dr. Williams, I have a 5 yr. old male ferret named Phil. He has always
had loose stool when he is scared - bath
time, vacuuming, etc. He has also intermittently had a mucoid stool but
been otherwise healthy. A few months ago his tail hair thinned. About a
month ago, his stools became regularly loose, but not watery, and they
appear to be bird-seedy. His overall coat is thinning, but he has no
areas. The last couple of weeks his stools became frequent and urgent
addition to being bird-seedy. He started to become somewhat lethargic
dehydrated, so I took him to the vet clinic. He is eating normally, but
drinks a lot. He also seems to have a slightly increased urine volume
looks crystalline when dried. His tummy seems round and I am curious
his spleen. The vet suspects he has adrenal disease, but I'm not sure.
suggests the adrenal panel at a price of $150. He says he would need to
him under isoflourane to get the blood sample. He started him on a
antibiotic - Albon once a day and a kaopectate three times a day. I
been treating him for four days and the stools seem the same, but he
to be more hydrated. I am going to discontinue the kaopectate (he hates
and it's not helping) but continue the antibiotic. I am also going to
the chicken baby food you suggested to see if that helps.

What course of action would you suggest? Would the adrenal panel be
worthwhile? Can't alopecia be a natural occurance as well, especially
older ferrets? I was also wondering what other absorptive conditions
make his stools irregular. Thank you for any advice you can give.