Message Number: YG2446 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Steve Austin
Date: 2001-04-10 19:49:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] ECE

Mr Lipinski wrote:
"Perhaps you can understand why, to my mind's eye, I look upon ECE as a
virus with a jaundiced view. If an identified coronavirus, why is there
no test available to determine the presence of the infective agent prior
to the horrible symptoms typical of its presence? And yet another
querry, why is there no effective preventative treatment after the
enteritis is first observed? "

Well, I would say that money is limited for ferret research. That it
takes years to isolate a particular agent and find a way to reliably
identify it.
I have brought home two ferrets from a pet store and seen my two healthy
ferrets go through a week of slimy, neon green diarrhea that came within
2 days of the new ferrets, and hit both of my ferrets at the same time.
The petstore ferrets never got sick while with me.
I then read about hundreds of cases like mine,and that it is obviously an
infectious agent- to hit two ferret the same way at the same time.
Now, whether it is 100% coronavirus, or another virus, it is without a
doubt an infectious agent. Ask any shelter that had it go through their
crew. It is not 100% going to cause disease in every ferret, some may
have immunity from their parents as kits, or had it as kits and had
little disease, but it does give them an immunity to the disease. Maybe
you are onto something, maybe there is something in your diet that
"protects" the ferrets from ECE- they may get it and it may not get them
sick. However, the only way to prove this is a non-biased, double
blinded study, and we are again looking at money. I believe there is a
test for ECE, but it is expensive and would not be practical at this
What preventive is there for distemper, or for that matter polio,
measles,and numerous other viral diseases? For the most part developing
a vaccine, or strict quarantines for suspected carriers. Of course, it
seems some ferrets shed the virus for over 6 months, so this indeed is a
long quarantine time.
Of course, ECE comes in outbreaks, so maybe your area has not had an
outbreak, or you are doing something "right" where the virus isn't
surviving long enough to infect a ferret.
Either way, I am happy for you, but let us not forget all those who have
had this virus and had to deal with the illness it caused- and the long
term damage it can do to the digestive system.

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