Message Number: YG2494 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Pam Sessoms
Date: 2001-04-11 21:01:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Enlarged Heart

On Wed, 11 Apr 2001, SAM MANGHAM wrote:
> He also said this does not address the heart disease problem. He said
> there are different meds for this.

I have a 7 year old, Sunny, with dilated cardiomyopathy. She also has
insulinoma but that's stable. She is doing GREAT right now and is on
quite a few meds... It's hard to say what is causing what, but for now,
we're really happy with her progres. At diagnosis, her heart looked *bad*
(yeah, really clinical terminology, sorry) on ultrasound and her ejection
fraction (?) was 18% - after being on her meds for a couple of months, the
heart actually looked much better and the ejection fraction was up in the
upper 20's (29? can't remember for sure). This was a somewhat better
response than the cardiologist my vet consulted thought we'd probably

Her regime is:

Digoxin once a day - we're still checking blood levels and increasing the
dose to try to get this in the therapeutic range.

Furosemide/Lasix (very tiny dose and maybe not even needed at all right

Lotensin (benazepril) once a day. We started with Enalapril which is in
the same general class of drugs, but she didn't respond to it as well as
we had hoped, and she improved a bunch on Lotensin.

She also gets CoQ10, L-carnitine, and taurine. Mostly people don't think
the taurine is necessary, but the cardiologist said he has seen some cases
(prob in other species, I'm not sure) where blood levels looked OK but the
heart tissue was still deficient on necropsy. So Sunny gets all of three
of those twice a day, mixed into a tiny tiny bit of thin mix of Bob's
gravy - I can get doses if you're interested. The jury is also out on the
l-carnitine, but it helps in some human studies and in some breed of dogs
(boxers?). Think there's getting to be some consensus that the CoQ10
really does help...

Anyway. Again, it's hard to say which things are contributing, and it's
also impossible to say how long she'll continue to do well. She's not
doing cartwheels these days, but she *does* grace us with a little dance
about once a week, and she's strong enough to run and explore for a few
hours every day. She's much more now active than she was when it was

Cardiomyopathy is unfortunately yet another common problem with our
ferrets... Dr. Williams' and Sukie's writings and the stuff folks have
already pointed out on the web are very helpful. Also, Dr. Heidi Hoefer
has an exceptionally concise, clearly-written info sheet on her website

Keep everyone posted, and we're sending best wishes,

-Pam S.