Message Number: YG2145 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-04-03 22:18:00 UTC
Subject: Two sick ferrets -- one urgent question

Hi ~

We have six ferrets ranging in age from 4 to 7 1/2. Two are on pred
and proglycem for insulinoma, one gets lupron shots for adrenal
disease, one is fine (knock on wood), and the two others having been
having major problems the last couple of months. It is these last
two I wish to discuss.

In a nutshell, about two and a half months ago, Tigger, one of our
four years olds, began to lose weight, became lethargic, had
diarrhea, and would not eat. We had him x-rayed and ultrasounded as
well as had numerous blood workups done. However, nothing was
conclusive. His protein level was very high. Also, there is a mass
of some sort on his pancreas but no one could give a definitive
diagnosis. ADV was discussed, but we did not have the blood work
done to test for it. He currently seems better, but refuses to eat
anything but gruel (duck soup) and this only by hand. Any
suggestions on how to ween him from the hand feeding and get him back
on his regular food?

Now on to Kahlua ~ aka Callie. She is our petite, beautiful little
butterscotch who is now 5 years old. Callie has always been tiny,
weighing about 1 1/4 pounds. Always, from day one, her vulva was
swollen. About two and a half years ago, she had an adrenalectomy.
She came thru with flying colors. Now, about a month ago, she
started to show signs of being in distress. She was sleeping more,
scratching a lot, eating less, had diarrhea and was losing weight.
We took her for blood tests, and, like Tigger, her levels came back
high for protein also, as well as her white and red counts were
high. We tried supportive care, but she continued to go downhill.
Her spleen was enlarged. Finally, last week, our vet said he did not
know what was wrong with her but suggested that sometimes removing a
large spleen in a ferret works wonders. He encouraged us to get
Callie the operation. Her spleen was getting bigger, and she was
becoming more and more lethargic. (We could even feel her spleen.)
So, this past Monday, Callie underwent the operation. She went into
it at 545 grams and came out at 434. They said her speeln was 1/3
the size of a 14 pound cat. It was huge. Unfortunately, there was a
malignant mass in it. The cancer also spread to her intestines and
lympnodes. We are awaitng the biopsy results and ~ believe it or not
~ are hoping it is lymphoma as we were told she could get some
quality extra time with chemo whereas with the other cancers chemo
doesn't work well. We are devastated. (We have already lost 6 of
our other lovies to cancer. It is so unfair how these wonderful
companions et so sick.) Now, finally on to my questions. When we
brought Callie home last night, she was doing surprisingly well. She
was eating the gruel and fairly alert. However, she was unsteady on
her feet and tipped over a few times. When this happened, she seemed
to have trouble getting up and "dragged" her back legs. By this
morning, she was basically paralyzed in her hind legs. (She also
seems very pale to me.) We saw the vet tonight, and he said he
didn't know what is causing this paralysis. It could be from
weakness, but he doubts it because of the way I described how it
happened. He said she could have thrown a blood clot after the
surgery and it may have gone to the spinal cord. Or she could have
lymphoma in the cord. However, upon examining her and palpating, he
said she didn't seem to be in pain. He put her on a quarter of a 5
mg tablet of pred twice a day for the next two days and then wants to
decrease it. Has anyone had any experience with something like
this? Any suggestions on helping her and making her more
comfortable? If a blood clot did cause this, is it reversible?
Please help with any comments or info you may have. We are desperate
to help Callie. We know we are going to lose her, but selfishly want
more time with her. We do not want her to suffer, though. Any

Thank you ~