Message Number: YG2610 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-16 21:11:00 UTC
Subject: Re: ECE help.

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., cherrisa@u... wrote:
> I ferret sitted two ferrets the other weekend and my two contracted
ECE. I'm guessing what that
> is because they have all the symptoms. I pulled the FAQ about it
off of the internet but I would
> like to talk to someone that has experience with it. Skippy and
Bugsy have had this for 7 days.
> Skippy has insolinoma and has stopped eating so I've been having to
force feed her gruel
> (iams canned kitten food, their ground up food and water) every
three hours. I only started doing
> that for the last 2 days because she was eating a little bit so I
didn't think much of it. I rushed her
> to the vet on friday because I didn't realize until yesterday
(Saturday) and searching the internet
> what it was. I promptly called my vet to talk about it and his
response was I don't know anything
> about ECE so I had to explain it to him and all he could tell me is
to let it work itself out.
> Skippy's stools are runny not seedy (I'm guessing because I'm
feeding her gruel) and going
> from beige to green and back again. Bugsy has the seedy stools and
they are going from solid
> to runny back and forth. He is eating though so I just make sure
that he gets up to eat every few
> hours. Skippy does have mouth sores and they are both grinding
their teeth.
> Bugsy hasn't lost any weight but skippy is dropping her weight
fast. Skippy is finicky anyway
> so this is quite a chore.
> Please any comments and suggestions are welcome.
> Cherri
> cherrisa@u...

Dear Cherri:

The files section contains an abstract from the Journal of the AVMA
from last year which described this disease in ferrets (imagine his
surprise when you direct him to the article). Also you might want to
check my site at for information on ECE -
there are a number of issues in the FAQ which I don't agree with.

One is the feeding of kibble - either intact, ground up or moistened
to ferrets with acute ECE - they can't digest it, and it worsens the

The grinding of the teeth suggests the possibility of gastric ulcers -
a common complication in ECE and one that significantly worsens the
prognosis. Unfortunately, the advice of "letting it work itself out"
is not appropriate, especially in this case. The combination of
ulcers and ECE will result in inappetence, and if a bland diet is not
instituted, what little is taken in will not be utilized.

Hit the site, read the sections on ECE, gastric ulcers, feeding the
sick ferret, pull the abstract in the file section and search the
archives of this site (the FHL) for more information. Then take it
to your vet and let's start some definitive treatment.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, dVM