Message Number: YG2222 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-05 16:08:00 UTC
Subject: Re: New ferret with diarrhea

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., jaswander@w... wrote:
> I just got a new ferret (Gunther) March 18. April 2 I noticed he had
> birdseedy stools,not formed the greatest but not diarrhea. He acts
> playing and curious, but he seems to be off his food a little, only
> eating about half what he used to. Now for the history. May 8,
2000, I
> had my ferret Darby put to sleep. About a month earlier I had
bought 2
> new ferrets and after a week or so I started putting them together
> my original 2. Darby fought with them quite badly and a week or so
> all 4 came down with diarrhea, Darby the worst. It was like water,
> smelled badly and was yellow at first. Took them to the vet, was
told to
> give them Flagl and Amoxi. The Flagl went over like a lead balloon,
> Darby pawed and foamed at the mouth with it. Next we tried Bene-Bac
> witch didn't help,during this time Darby stopped eating. I force
fed him
> Ferretvite what I could but he also started grinding his teeth. I
> finally took him to the vet and told them to take him and give the
> medicines and feed him, he was getting worse with me. They did some
> blood test ( I can't remember what) and said I think that his liver
> enzymes were about 500, a couple days later they did it again and
it had
> went up to about 700 or 800. Then the vet said she thought he was
> he definately wasn't when he was home. Vet told us she thought
Darby had
> liver cancer so he was put to sleep, he had lost over half his body
> weight by then. I had looked up ECE but the vet didn't seem to want
> listen to me or didn't think it was that. My question is does this
> like ECE and if it does could my new one be getting it or is it
> thats causing the birdseed poop and smaller appetite. Remember it's
> 11months since I thought my other ferrets had it!

Dear JEnny -

Although there is a lot of info sprinkled through your post, it does
sound like ECE - the history of two new ferrets (from a pet store I
presume), an outbreak of diarrhea, evidence of seedy stools
suggesting malabsorption - it does sound like a case of ECE in your

Regarding Darby - I am wondering why a diagnosis of liver cancer was
given. Signs of a gstric ulcer in addition ot the diarrhea (tooth
grinding and inappetence seem fairly clear.) Liver enzymes of 700-
800 are consistent with not eating, and generally would be of little
concern in this case. Was a biopsy of the liver ever performed to
identify a neoplasm?

Rmember that young fererts get relatively mild signs - so if Gunther
is a young ferret, we generally would not expect him to get extremely

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM, DACVP
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