Message Number: YG2462 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-04-10 20:32:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Undiagnosed Hind leg weakness

Hi - I essentially agree with what Dr. Karen & Alicia and others had to say
regarding your kit with hindquarter weakness. I note when you purchased him,
he was approx. 6-7 weeks and now 8-9 weeks. The most likely cause is trauma
to the back or hips. Also, sometimes vaccinations given in the region of the
lower back can cause damage to the bundle of nerves from the spin to the
legs. At his age, he is a bit young to do an ADV test since the
recommendation for both the Elisa and CEP test is for ferrets at least 12-13

I have a couple of other thoughts. When he is out and about, is he on a wood
or tile floor? Sometimes kits "flatten" themselves on slick floors. It is
also possible that he never really learned to walk if he was raised in a wire
cage - or injury went undetected. He should be evaluated by a ferret savy
vet and possibly you might want to try him on a course of prednisone - per
your vet - to see if he does improve. Does he have any problem with
incontinence? If he makes it to a corner or a litter box - damage might not
be that extensive.

MF will exchange ferrets & shelters, God Bless them, will often take in kits
or ferrets like this. But - if you are really attached to him......maybe he
is already in the best situation. Let us know how he does. Best Regards, Meg

In a message dated 4/10/01 9:56:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
ferretwise@m... writes:

<< So sorry to hear of this unfortunate circumstance for this kit. I may not
be able to add anything positive -- but I can give you a few pointers. If
you understood kit shipping from the mills to pet store-- it is possible
that the kit sustained a spinal injury-- an x-ray may be helpful in this
case. Also it is possible that a reaction to a distemper vaccine may have
left the kit in a compromised condition. have heard of other ferrets (
older age of course) who have had reactions to modified live canine
distemper vaccine and have been left impaired- in their case it was more a
neurological effect. In this kits case you need to understand it is in a
pet store at 6 weeks old age-- already vaccinated against canine
distemper. THE ONLY company that manufactures an approved distemper
vaccine for ferrets recommends vaccination at 8 weeks of age-- NOT 6 so I
suppose there is a reason for this.
It would be good to hear from the vaccine manufacturers and raters on this

In the end IF the ferret is a Marshall Farms ferret-- I understand from
company representatives that if a shelter will assume the ferret-- they
will replace it with another-- of course they will let you exchange it with
the pet store as well-- but the end result to the status of the ferrets
outcome is somewhat dismal in most cases.

Best wishes in trying to do all you could for this young ferret--
unfortunately-- if the pet store does not make good on this-- they have the
"caveat emptor " (buyer beware) in their favor as you were aware of a
potential problem and bought the ferret anyway..

At 01:58 PM 4/10/01 +0000, 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
> >>