Message Number: YG2870 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-04-23 13:26:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Very sick ferrets, vets, please help

My best advice is to get a more complete blood profile, including
chemistries: most important are ALT, GGT, Lipase, Globulin, Glucose,
BUN and creatinine. Try to do a 4 hour fast prior to sampling. The
WBC suggests acute infection, but you said it might be inaccurate.
Infection would commonly involve the GI Tract or liver, but in this
case possibly the lung/chest. Check for hypoglycemia too, and have
the x-rays reviewedÂ… most masses in the chest would be very visible.
Also try to rule out an intestinal blockage, if infection exists,
initial therapy would probably be antibiotics (flagyl and amoxi, or
baytril and amoxi) and fluids or other supportive care. The acute
signs sound like hypoglycemia, typical of an insulinoma, but
insulinomas do not occur suddenly. So if he's suddenly hypoglycemic a
second problem may have occurred (such as a GI upset). Any illness
that produces appetite loss will cause rapid hypoglycemia if the
ferret is carrying an insulinoma. If the sugar is low, suspect an
insulinoma, but don't ignore the other blood tests which may suggest
another, more recent illness. Feed him often to help his glucose stay
stable and keep him warm (glucose drops faster in a cold environment).
Insulinomas are best treated surgically when the patient is
stabilized. Good luck and I hope that I was of some assistance to
Mark Burgess DVM

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Ulrike" <ferretlove@n...> wrote:
> Hello
> My Mason was acting very sick this morning. Yesterday he was
> around and playing and eating well and this morning he was wobbly on
> feet, very weak, lethargic, depressed, very thirsty, he went to the
> bowl, drank a little, then he just stood over the bowl and didn't do
> anything like he forgot what he was doing. Like his mind went
blank. He
> couldn't manage to go into the toilet to have a pee. When I fed
him, he
> didn't seem to want to eat and he was shaking and shivering after he
had a
> little but about an hour later I gave him more and he was happy to
eat and
> was okay after eating. He's very floppy when I hold him, just lies
in my
> arms, doesn't seem to have any energy. He felt hot to me but when
we got to
> the vets, his temperature was normal. I also used some urine strips
on him
> to see if he had sugar in his urine but it was negative. The vet
felt his
> tummy and couldn't feel anything so suggested a blood test and an
> The blood test results are:
> HCT = 56.5%
> HGB = 20.7 g/dl
> MCHC = 36.6 g/dl
> WBC # 9.3 x 10^9/L
> GRANS = 7.7 x 10^9/L
> %GRANS # 83%
> L/M # 1.6 x 10^9/L
> %L/M # 17%
> PLT > 18 x 10^9/L
> The # means that the result isn't accurate because something didn't
> properly, the vet explained it but I didn't quite understand why it
> accurate.
> The x-ray showed something in Mason's chest. My vet doesn't quite
know what
> to make of it and will phone somebody who may know how to analyse
the x-ray.
> There seems to be something in his chest that shouldn't be there.
My vet
> said something about a possible lymphoma? Whatever it is, it seems
to be
> pushing the heart out of it's place. My vets x-rayed Igor and Jack
> their hearts were in the middle but Mason's is more on one side.
The lungs
> are clear, there seems to be no fluid. The mass is in a cavity
between the
> heart and lungs and is pushing the heart over to one side (I think
the left)
> and the right hand lung is being compressed. It doesn't seem to be
> now but the speed he's gone downhill, who knows what he'll be like
> My vet isn't actually sure whether it is a mass but if the heart is
not in
> it's place... Mason is on antibiotics for now and I syringe him
fluid as he
> seems dehydrated.
> The vets took the blood from the jugular vein and didn't have to
sedate him,
> he held still for them. When he had his x-ray, he just laid on the
> and they didn't even need to hold him... That's not good for a
> My other guys have never held still when the vets attempted to get
> from the jugular vein, no matter how sick they were...
> From Ulrike
> and Jilly, Jack, Bella, Tom, Mason, Baby, Dana, Fox, Reno, Rose,
> Barney, Spike, Hobo and Gremlin
> Missing Angel, Hope and Igor
> West Wales Ferret Welfare
> E-mail: ferretlove@n...
> Last update 23/02/01
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