Message Number: YG2411 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Karen Purcell, DVM
Date: 2001-04-10 06:07:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Undiagnosed Hind leg weakness

You wrote:

> I bought a kit from a large pet store. It seemed very sweet but
> it looked kind of small, the employee could not give me an exact age.
> When I took the ferret home I noted hind leg weakness. It would
> attempt to walk but fall to one side and wobbled. Thru research of
> its teeth size I found out the ferret was aprox, 5-6 weeks old. I
> notified the pet store of its weakness and age of ferret and let them
> know of my concern. I was advised to feed the ferret a formula of
> high protein and made a "super mush" in efforts that if it had a
> weakness caused by not being appropriately weaned and or
> malnourishment it would improve its overall health. I bought the
> ferret wed. by fri, I had him in a vets office. He was not able to
> give a exact cause for the weakness but said the the high protein
> mush surely could not hurt and to wait 2 weeks, to see if it
> improved. He also said otherwise he seemed totally healthy. Its now 2
> weeks and he has doubled in size but the leg weakness persists.
> Anatomically he looks sound, he does attempt to walk on both hind
> legs but he ends up dragging himself, especially if he wants to run.
> Doc suggests sedation and x-rays. But I'm not sure if I should do
> this, the vet doesn't know if he will find the answer. Help! Has
> anyone else experienced this kind of weakness. He does have sensation
> in both hind limbs and his pelvis seems intact, hips equal in size
> and has good ROM. Vets last words to me "you just may not have the
> fastest ferret on the block." Any help will truley be appreciated. THX

I would be very concerned about trauma in a ferret this young
showing signs of hind limb weakness. I've also seen meningitis in
young ferrets with this sign. You might want to get a second
opinion, but I think xrays at the very least are a good idea, and
sedation should not be necessary. Bloodwork, particularly a CBC and
chem profile, would also be of use here.
Hope this helps,
-Dr. Karen
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