Message Number: YG1596 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-22 13:57:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Digest Number 79Kidney disease and
proper foods

Katharine from surcool has a good questions regarding the proper
level of
protein for ferrets with kidney disease.
We began a limited study looking at lowered levels of protein for
damaged ferrets a few years ago. We had problems because there was
mixed and
limited data and information regarding what was considered the
definition of kidney disease or the diagnoses for kidney disease in
We did have one situation, which was not in a controlled
environment, where
several 8 or 9 week old kits were given an improper antibiotic and
subsequently destroyed a great deal of the kidney function if not
the tissue
itself in all of the ferrets. This was defined as a BUN of 100+. (I
this information directly from the owner as the vet who recommended
antibiotic in the first place would not call me.) Three had died by
the time
I received the call. The vet had prescribed the Hills k/d canned
diet as the
recovery diet for the remaining kits. The owner said after three
days the
remaining kits were not doing well and the BUN's still over 100 +.
suggested that she feed Totally Ferret which had 37% protein and 24%
fat plus
much higher levels of vitamins and minerals than the cat k/d. I
knew that in
order for the kits to recover they had to build new tissue plus
their immune
system. It would take all nutrients not just protein or vitamins.
two weeks the BUN's were below 40 and after four weeks below 30.
The normal
range is about 20 to 40. I realize that this is purely anecdotal
but the
principle is that any time an animal has damaged tissue, kidney or
other wise
it needs proteins of high biological value (BV) and a complete
profile of over 60 nutrients in the proper proportion to rebuild the
This subject has been studied in both dogs and cats extensively in
the past
several years at the U of GA vet school with similar conclusions.
So my
response to the question as to what is the proper level of protein
ferrets suffering from kidney damage is I have no data to support
recommending lowering it when feeding a diet such as Totally Ferret
or any
other that has protein from quality animal sources of 90% or higher.

Hopefully there will be veterinarians or owners who may have input
to this.
DR Tom Willard