Message Number: YG279 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Dr. Bruce Williams
Date: 2001-02-26 14:33:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Intro and dilemma

Dear Jaclyn:

I'm going to agree with Patty on Kif. Difficulty urinating can be a
significant and urgent problems in male ferrets with adrenal
disease. In a small percentage of adrenal cases, the estrogens
liberated by the adrenal glands result incystic enlargement of the
prostate, which eventually swells to the point where it closes off
the urethra. These animals can't pee on their own, but you can
easily empty the bladder by squeezing it.

Total blockage of the bladder can result in death in as little as 48
hours, so we take it serously. Foul breath can occur as toxins build
up in the body in such cases, but they appear to do this far less in
ferrets than in cats and dogs. While the breath may represent
something as minor as gum disease, we generally rule out severe life-
threatening illnesses first.

This is one for a quick vet visit. A blood chemistry panel and a
good physical exam will give us all of the information we need on
urinary function and patency of the urinary tract.

Trevor is a bit more difficult to assess in this venue, because the
signs are pretty tenuous. Ferrets with high temperatures often turn
bright red to pinl on the nose, gums, and forepaws, as blood vessels
dilate to try to liberate heat. You can also see aprofound color
change when animals go into shock as well, as blood is poorly pumped
throughout the body,and the animal's blood is poorly oxygenated
(called cyanosis.) However, cyansosisusually is a severe sign and
animals don't pull out of it without some help.

While laundry detergent is not a good thing for the ferret to be
licking, it is likely not a significant cause of toxicity. But let's
lock it up anyway.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM
Join the Ferret Health List at

> The one with definite adrenal is doing great. The other, though, I
am more
> concerned with. He's a four and a half year old Marshall Farm male
> Kif. His history is clean, no illnesses since I got him at ten
weeks old.
> Last fall, though, his fur went thin in "all the right areas." His
> tail and spine were very sparse. He got it all back, which I know
> happen. He's losing weight right now, which I'm not sure whether to
> attribute to spring or illness. The most unusual thing, though, is
> breath! Normally, it's rather soft and sweet like the other
ferrets. In
> the last few days, though, it has gotten pungent, to say the
least. I don't
> know how to describe it, but it's strong and foul. Also, if it
helps you at
> all...he goes to the litterbox often without urinating. (This
could be
> attributed to my training. ?? I litter trained him by giving
treats and
> ever since, he would run to the box and pretend because he thought
he'd get
> a treat. Perhaps this is a continuation of that.) And...about a
month ago,
> I began mixing 8in1 Ultimate to their Totally Ferret. Perhaps that
> something to do with his breath. I can't find any information on
bad breath
> in the critters or I would not bother you with this. I'm not sure
if it's a
> bad sign or not. My vet here is nice and I believe she's fairly
> knowledgeable, but I'm a little worried and want other thoughts.
> The other adrenal ferret, Trevor, is approximately 5-7 years old
> again) and I got him as a stray in March of 1997. He had
insulinoma surgery
> in April 1999 and the vet saw minor evidence of right adrenal
troubles, but
> didn't remove it. He's had minor hair loss and is slightly more
> though he's always been passive. He's in great shape mostly.
Though, twice
> now, he's gotten very dark pink. His nose, ears, around his eyes
and his
> lips would suddenly turn dark red-pink. He'd feel hot, though we
> successfully take his temperature. By the time we got a good
reading, the
> color was gone and the thermometer read 102. While he was dark, he
was a
> little listless and would go lay on the tile, as if he felt too
hot. It was
> gone in the matter of 20 minutes. On both occassions, I found my
> laundry detergent bottle on the floor (where he often leaves it.)
It had a
> little detergent dried to the side and I wonder if Trevor perhaps
> this. I can find nothing else around my home that he could have
> into. So, either it's this irritant or it's an internal problem.
> If anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. Thank you very
much!! I
> know this email is very long, but I just want to be sure to include
> that could be of help.
> Sincerely,
> Jaclyn KVRB
> "Only pilots live life in all three dimensions."
> _______________________________________________________
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