Message Number: YG1786 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Diane Burman
Date: 2001-03-27 16:14:00 UTC
Subject: [Ferret-Health-list] Mo - has my vet stumped

In less than a week 3 of my 14 ferrets have run up medical
bills of over $1500. My vet (who is quite ferret knowledgeable
and works with a ferret shelter) is quite puzzled by 2 of the
3 ferrets. I will explain each in a separate e-mail. Otherwise
it would be way too long.

First is Mo. He was part of the infamous Christmas rescue on
the FML. He was an intact male ferret until the end of
December. He is guessed to be about 4yo and weighs about
3-1/2lb. While in the shelter, in the early weeks after his
rescue, I saw him vomit on 2 different occasions. Each time
all that he appeared to bring up was some white foam. I
adopted him (and a female of about the same age) about January
first. Since bringing him in to my home I noticed that he has
periods of lethargy & grinding of teeth but I have never seen
him vomit or gag. He appears to be urinating, defecating and
eating fine. His stool appears well formed and there is no
visible evidence of blood, either frank or digested. I feed
Totally Ferret and Innova. These periods of apparent
discomfort last about a day then he is bouncing around with
the rest of the business. They only occur about every 2 or 3
weeks that I have noticed. So...each time I make the decision
to take him to the vet he seems fine the next day so we don't
make the appointment (the vet is 1-1/2hr away).

Well, this past week I decided we needed to know what was
going on with Mo. I guessed a hairball (there have been quite
a few with this problem in the Christmas rescue group) or an
ulcer or maybe even insulinoma. Unfortunately it doesn't
appear to be any of these things. He has dialated
cardiomyopathy (with no fluid in the abdomen) and something
going on with his lungs, stomach & intestine. What really has
my vet stumped is his lungs. You can see the small spots
across the bottom of his lungs on the x-ray. The vet also said
that there is a digestion problem because he might have a mass
in his stomach and there was a lot of air in his intestines.
The x-rays have been sent out to a radiologist because my vet
said he had never seen anything quite like this in a ferret's
lungs before. My vet's concern is that this my be a malignancy
(lymphoma?) that is affecting his lungs, stomach & intestines.
I think it's still possible that it could be a hairball in his
stomach but I guess he's not the best surgical candidate with
significant heart disease. BTW, his glucose (fasting) was 109
so I guess insulinoma is pretty much ruled out. The vet said
the rest of his blood work was all fine (I have a copy here if
it would help to post it).

Right now my vet is treating his stomach as if it's
Helicobacter. Mo gets Pepcid A/C 2x/day and Biaxin 2x/day. I
am also giving him as much petroleum jelly as he will take (he
hates cat lax but tolerates the pj if there's nutracal mixed
with it) 2x/day on the chance there's a hairball too. He will
be re-examined late next week (2 weeks from original visit).
Those are the only meds he is on right now.

So far since the vet visit he continues to do well and has had
no spells of lethargy or teeth grinding that I have seen. Any
thoughts on what might be ailing him other than the heart
problem? What might those spots be in his lungs? What options
does he have for diagnosis and treatment if he has a heart
condition? If he had lympho, wouldn't some of his blood work
have been "off"?

Thank you to one and all for your help.
Diane & the gang
PS I will post about the other 2 ferrets (Cody and Meg) in
later emails.