Message Number: YG2115 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Flemming Farms
Date: 2001-04-03 13:52:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Coughing

> From: AFERRETVET@c...
> Subject: Re: Coughing
> Hi Amy,

Hi! <waves>

> A chronic cough that does not clear up.
> Have they tested for AD yet?
> Bordetella would be another possibility.

No they have not tested for ADV. It is not here. Or at least it is
assumed. I, however, would like to get ahold of some tests and do some
random testing. Just because we do not test, have not had new ferrets
brought into the country for about 100 years or more, or have mink here -
doesn't mean it is not here. Could be a big clue in the puzzle. I *do*
known that some of the Aussie kits I imported into the US (before I moved
over here) were exposed to ADV and tested positive. I know you have seen
one of the boys (or I think you have) - Larrkin that Kathy has.

> I also have some questions for you about
> husbandry and adrenal/insulinomas in Australia.

Sure. I can answer these as best as I can from my knowledge. Shirley -
please chime in if you have other comments. I know we differ in some of the
issues and would like to have your imput here as well. (Btw - hope you guys
are all doing well - my schedual has changed and I can no longer make any
meetings.) Dr. Lewington? Are you here? Would like you imput as well.

> What age do they spay/neuter the ferrets over there?

Generally over the age of 6 months. Probably closer to one year or so.
From what I have gathered, the choice was to desex or v-hob the boys and
have the girls remain whole. Many people believe (or believed) that whole
jills make excellent rabbiting ferrets (I have heard jills are better
workers than hobs - maybe because the boys get so big and fat and cannot fit
down the warren holes? lol). Anyhow, it was discovered that older jills
were developing ovarian tumours quite frequently and desexing is not
reccomended at 6 months to a year if the ferret is not to be used in a
breeding program.

> Do they keep them indoors or outdoors?

Both. I know people that keep them strictly indoors, strictly outdoors, and
both in and out. Currently, my kids are outdoors. I have had no problems
(except for a very clever jill that went down to the shops and then came
back home - just another reason to not descent) housing them outdoors.

> What do they normally feed them (dry food
> or whole prey)?

Both. Some people feed straight biscuits (kibbles) and some feed a more
"natural" diet. I know a bloke that feeds his ferrets whole peigons that he
breeds as well as mice and rabbit. They have biscuits available to them all
the time. Most people I know (including myself) feed biscuits and meat
daily. I feed raw chicken wings, mince, lamb, etc. My kids get their meat
at night so it doesn't go off in the heat of the day. They also get tinned
kitten or cat food as a treat. All the ferrets (save some really dirty and
oily ones) are in top notch shape on this diet. Breeders that are serving
meat need to watch the kits' calcium intake. If they are feed a straight
meat diet, then the kits often develop rickets (sometimes called "swimmers
syndrome"). It is where their bones are deficient in calcuim so much that
their legs cannot support their body weight. If caught early it is
correctable to a degree.

> How common are adrenal gland disease
> and insulinoma over there?

lol! This is where I disagree with some of the Aussie folks. =) Generally
it is thought that it is not in Australia (either disease). I have seen
ferrets have seizures. They haev had fasting glucoise test and have been
determined to have insulinoma. I know of a ferret on pred currently. He is
an altered boy who was altered late in life. He is almost 6 years old. I
know of a household that has had 4 ferrets die with insulinomas (the owner
did not know what it was her ferrets all had - the last one she had the
fasting test done on and necropsied when he passed on - several pancriatic
tumours found.). I know of another one that was confirmed in a necropsy as
well. These were in Western Australia. I cannot comment on other states or
territories. I personally know of two ferrets that have had adrenal
tumours. One jill (altered late) was so ill that surgery was not an option.
She lost her hair one spring and was bald all summer. Her hair came back in
the winter. When she was bald, I infomred the owner that I thought it was
adrenal (I have seen heaps of them in the US). The owner asked their vet
and was told that adrenal was not in Australia. The next spring the ferret
lost all her hair, etc, and the owner switched vets. This vet thought it
could be adrenal - but at that stage the jill was too ill for surgery. When
she was put down, the vet necropsied the jill and found both glands with
tumours. I believe Dr. Lewington had a ferret with adrenal, but I am not
positive of that.

Incidentaly - the ferret with the green urine and baldness is in Australia.
My first thought was adrenal. (Hugs to you and your boy WeEz!)


Do You Yahoo!?
Get your free address at