Message Number: YG2556 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-15 00:44:00 UTC
Subject: Re: AIHA

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Rbossart@a... wrote:
> In a message dated 4/13/01 7:29:48 AM, Dr. Williams writes:
> << One thing that I have had the opportunity to see in AIHA ferrets
> (usually they go so quick all we get is the tissue) is a peripheral
> blood smear. I would be interested to see if they manifest with
> spherocytes (abnormally shaped RBC,s with a diminished oxygen-
> carrying capacity) as other species do. >>
> We had two who died within a short time of one another. Both
> initially with the yellow tint to their skin. Dr. Dutton of the
Wear Animal
> Hospital, Weare, NH made the diagnosis based on very low red blood
counts and
> said that many of the remaining red blood cells appeared to be very
> - abnormally shaped.

There are a number of changes which can be seen in severe anemias,
which represent immaturity. When the body recognizes that there is a
diffuse oxygen deprivation, among many other processes, the bone
marrow begins to release immature red cells, which in themselves have
diminished oxygen carrying capacity (but diminished capacity is
bettern than none at all!)

Normal RBCs shed their nucleus and the balance of cellular organelles
while still in the bone marrow - this allows them to maximize their
ability to carry oxygen, but limits their life span (you can't
reproduce or effectively repair damage without this machinery). You
can tell that an animal is anemic by the number of nucleated red
blood cells in the blood, or those with residual organelles
(reticulocytes) - these have been kicked out to early.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, dVM

> Dick B.