Message Number: YG1735 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-26 00:48:00 UTC
Subject: Re: ADV questions

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Jaclyn" <jaclynv@e...> wrote:
> Hello everyone!
> I can't seem to find, on any of the ferret sites, any information
> the symptoms of ADV. Or the outcome for those ferrets who contract
> it. I know it's fatal, but how long does it take?
> Are the ferrets ever asymptomatic? How long after infection does
> take for the symptoms to show? Etc., etc.
> Can anyone point me in the direction of this information?
> Any links or books would be very helpful.
> Thank you.
> Jaclyn

Dear Jaclyn:

Aleutian Disease in ferrets is an auto-immune condition initiated by
infection by an innocuous parvovirus. Infection is not always fatal,
as some ferrets are able to clear the infection, but once clinical
signs of the disease are seen, the disease will proceed to its
inevitable course, the demise of the ferret.

The course of the disease is 18-24 months, with the balance of that
time being without symptoms. It is generally only in the last
several months that the symptoms of the disease become obvious -
renal failure, weight loss, splenomegaly, and terminally, clotting
abnormalities. In a small subset of cases, an early sign may be
ascending paralysis, from which the animal recovers to health for a
period of many months, before eventually succumbing to the kidney
damage that an immune system gone awry can cause.

Currently, there is no treatment or prevention, but diagnostic tests
can identify infected ferrets. The problem with Aleutian disease is
that as it is generally an asymptomatic infection until late in the
course of disease, apparently normal asymptomatic ferrets can spread
virus in urine and to a lesser extent in feces and other secretions
to all around them.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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