Message Number: YG2263 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-05 22:57:00 UTC
Subject: Re: ECE/ Low Blood Sugar-Questions

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., cjbandit@a... wrote:

> 1) You suggested having Bandit's blood glucose done again to see if
it still
> came up low (last reading 62)- I plan on doing so but wonder how
the pred
> that he's taking will effect the reading?? Once again he's on a
low dose .50
> ml 2x a day.

The prednisone will undoubtedly raise the glucose. Now if it is
still low, then it doesn't make a lot of difference - but if it is
in the normal range, then you have to worry that the pred was
affecting the reading. Removal from prednisone for 7 days prior to
bloodwork should give you a valid reading.
> 2) I decided to go with the pepcid because I have not seen a
difference using
> the carafate. I am crushing a 10mg tablet and suspending it in
10ml of water
> and giving .25-.30ml (1-2x) a day. I believe I read somewhere that
was the
> proper dosage, can you comment?

That is an appropriate dose. The dose for famotidine (Pepcid) is
0.25-0.5mg/kd twice daily.

> 3) I noticed Bandit's tail feels bony like a spine would feel and
he looks
> like he's very narrow (a sunken in look) around his hips he also
looks like
> he's loss muscle tone- but he is about 5 years old now and has had
> glands removed, I think some of his muscle loss can be attributed
to the
> surgery and age?? True or False? How can you tell if there is true
> loss, specific test? When should you become concerned?

There really isn't a specific test for muscle loss - close monitoring
and weighing is probably the best way.

> 4) I cannot tell if Bandit is dehydrated-his gums feel normal but
the scruff
> on his neck takes a minute or so before it completely snaps back.
I feed him
> babyfood (4x) a day and add water to it but I wonder if he's
getting enough
> food and water. I don't know what kind of food to leave down for
him while
> I'm at work, I know you said to stay away from the kibble-because
of the ECE
> what can I leave for him while I'm at work??

You can leave the babyfood gruel down - most ferrets won't eat
anything anyway.

Activity is often a very good indicator of dehydration. I don't like
the skin turgor test for dehydration for the very reason you mention -
it can often not return quickly to its normal position in a normally
hydrated ferrets. If your ferret is normally active and eating, and
he becomes listless and inappetent - I generally recommend a bit of
fluids to see if it perks the ferret back up. Even for very il
animals, the risks of subcutnaeous fludis are minimal.
> 5) Lastly, I just discovered that Bandit is probably blind! When I
let the
> new kit out he can't locate him by sight only by scent and he's
been bumping
> into things and startles more easily. I asked my vet to do a
retinal exam
> and she said you really can't tell with ferrets and there was
nothing I could
> do.

No - a good retinal exam will show evidence of degeneration - lack of
vessels, hyperrelectivity, etc. It simply is a matter of experience
with doing good opthalmic exams. All of the evidence is there if you
know how to interpret it.

Is there a test that can be performed and is it possible because he's
> been on babyfood for so long that he was missing certain nutrients
> caused him to go blind?

I'm not sure how long he has been on the babyfood, but it takes
months, if not years to lose your sight due to a lack of nutrients.
Retinal atrophy is a common degenerative disease in ferrets and is
far more likely to be the cause of Bandits diminished eyesight.

Is there anything I can do for his condition as far
> as nutrients or making things easier for him to find his food ect.
(If anyone
> has a blind ferret could you please e-mail me directly)
> 6) The vet said Bandit's Blood Chemistry was within normal values
except his
> Hemacretin was 59.5%
> and his sodium was 1.34 and his potassium was 4.4 could you comment
on these
> values and tell me what you think they could mean?

The hematocrit is slightly elevated which suggests mild dehydration,
and the sodium is slightly low (134) which may be seen with fecal

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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