Message Number: YG2824 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-21 15:32:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Perforated Intestine

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., ejaml@c... wrote:
> The questions... What could cause the intestine to perforate? If
> exploratory surgery would have been done the first visit or even
> second one could he have survived? I'm not asking for a guarantee
> with what was happening to his insides it had to be so painful I
> would have wanted to have prevented that from ever happening to my
> little guy. Should I have insisted on surgery sooner?

Dear Ann:

Sometimes you see perforations for no apparent reason. AS you
indicated, foreign material can result in perforation - especially if
thre has bee a blockage for any significant period of time.

Another cause of perforation is neoplasia - certain tumors can weaken
the wall of intestine and result in tearing - lymphoma is probably
the most common of these.

Generally , if there are feces in the abdomen, the prognosis is very
poor - at best you have a severe septic process with a mixed
bacterial population. One thing that I have some trouble with is the
fact that we have a perforation and feces in the abdomen, but the
bloodwork did not show any elevation in WBCs?

It is always a difficult issue to determine when surgery is
appropriate. I tend to agree with you - if there is a question, then
you go in preferably earlier than later. I would rather rule out the
possibility of a blockage by surgery and come up with nothing, than
wait until a ferret is a worse surgical candidate. But, not being at
the original presentation of your ferret, and with the bloodwork not
being markedly abnormal, I am hesitant to second guess your vet on
this one.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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