Message Number: YG2639 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-04-17 15:58:00 UTC
Subject: Re: ECE related questions

It's been isolated and ALSO confirmed by other researchers.
Chances are that the due date of the book was just such that
the announcement of the confirmation happened AFTER it was
considered to be in a final format by the publisher. Books
often seem to be about a half year one year MORE out of date
than their original year of printing. When the references are
even older that really can confuse things.

If you go to the Ferret Mailing List archives you can search
there for the announcement of the confirmation, but if
you don't have the chance here are the two most important ones
which illustrate the search.

April 19, 1999, Item number 57229, from Bruce Williams
(carried by me to FML), followed by item number 60404 three
months later (carried the same way) with the confirmation

>while in acute cases, coronaviruses may be isolated from
stools of affected
>ferrtes, this test is dependent on a number of factors,
including stage of
>disease (only very recently infected ferrets may have levels
of virus high
>enough to be seen under the electron microscope,). While
coronaviruses have
>been isolated numerous times in affected ferrets (including
in my research
>in 1993 and in research conducted at Purdue University), this
virus has
>proved elusive in terms of growing it in cell culture, which
is thefirst
>step in developing a sensitive and repeatable test for ECE as
well as a
>I need to reiterate however that although coronaviruses are
the mot likely
>cause of ECE, and certainly strengthen a clinical diagnosis
of this disease,
>a negative fecal exam for virus certainly does not rule it
out, especially
>in animals with definitive clinical signs. Characteristic
clinical signs
>must still be regarded as the definitive "test" for ECE.

>thought you'd like to be the first to know, and you can post
>info to the FML - please direct any questions to me. Let's
not blow
>this one up too big, though, because I am not announcing a

>Dr. Matti Kuipel at the Purdue University College of
>Medicine, has definitively identified a coronavirus as the
cause of
>epizootic catarrhal enteritis in the ferret. Loops of gut
from a number
>of cases of ECE submitted to the Purdue Diagnostic Lab
>positively for antibodies against a particular type of
>These results have been repeated at a separate Canadian
>Another collaborator, Dr. Melissa Kennedy of the University
of Tennessee
>appears to have isolated a primer for a restricted portion of
>coronavirus genome from this material.
>I have sent material from the original work that I did with
the virus in
>1994 for confirmation.
>We have long suspected coronavirus as the cause of ECE - the
>were seen in the work done at the AFIP in 1994, and
sproadically since
>then. Dr. Kuipel's persistent efforts to nail down the cause
of the
>disease (which he appears to have done in elegant fashion)
>"legitimize" the disease in the veterinary literature and
hopefully will
>open the door for others to conduct additional research,
isolate this
>agent, and produce rapid diagnostic tests and a vaccine. We
>currently working on publishing the pathology data from the
>investigation, dating back to 1994.
>Please realize that this announcement DOES NOT mean that a
>diagnostic test has been developed (all tests were run on
>surgical biopsies of the intestine or autopsy material), nor
does it
>mean that a vaccine is available, nor are the researchers
developing any
>of these products for the market. However this is a vital
piece of the
>puzzle, and should go far in enticing the right parties to
look at the
>potential for developing these type of products.


This post is in reply to:

At 8:49 PM +0000 4/17/01,
In Fudge's _Laboratory Medicine: Avian and Exotic Pets_,
there is a section
on ferrets. In the section marked Rabbit and Ferret Liver
Gastrointestinal Testing subsection Infectious Hepatitis and
Enteritis of
Ferrets (p 302), it says "Infectious hepatitis and enteritis
of ferrets is
perhaps the best name for the disease previously described
as "green slime
disease" or "epizootic catarrhal enteritis."" ..... "No
etiologic agent has
been identified, although a virus is suspected." If you
read on to the
section entitled Ferret Microbiology and Virology subsection
Catarrhal Enteritis (p 339), it says "Although viral
particles resembling
coronavirus have been seen in necropsy samples from
experimentally infected
animals and negatively stained preparations of feces, the
causative agent has
not been isolated." The first section's infromation came
from personal
contact with Dr. Rosenthall in 1998, the second came from
Dr. Willaims from
the 8th Small Mammal Conference in 1997. This book was
published in 2000, so
I am wondering why it does not definitively say that ECE is
a coronavirus? I
thought it had been isolated?

On the subject of ECE, is it normal for a ferret to have
icky poops 90% of
the time? The ferrets got it in August and were over it by
late October. Of
the ten, eight are doing well (as long as I do not change
food or offer
treats), but one ferret has bouts now and then of green
slime (at least once
a week) and another has some sort of diarrhea on almost a
daily basis. This
particular ferret came to me in August and has since had an
adrenalectomy and
a nephrectomy; he has seemingly been abused and suffers from
some nerve
damage apparently causing him to be incontinent. I don't
know if this would
have anything to do with his icky poops, or if it is ECE

Kudos to Dr. Williams--saw your painting on JAVMA today!!

As you can see, the timing was such that the discovery likely
came out after no changes could be made to your text.

We had a three month run, too, and also had a bad strain of
it. There was variation among the individuals, though. Some
were not hit as hard, and some were badly affected by the
disease. One of our's had kidney damage. of our three who
were badly hit none had their intestinal function return
completely to normal.

Right here on the FHL in the files you can read: