Message Number: YG3102 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-01 14:35:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Ferret crashing, intestines all on right side of body.

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Lynn Siegel" <gypsi@a...> wrote:
> His temp was low at 98.9. The tech couldn't get a fecal sample, it
> wasn't there. He weighed 3.55, which on some it may be ok but this
guy is
> obese. It isn't a firm fat, it is a sloppy fat. Mushy. Upon
> the vet said that something felt odd. After the exam he told me I
> options of either putting him to sleep or taking an x-ray & doing
blood work
> to try & find out what was going on. There was no way that I was
having him
> put to sleep without at least finding out more. Blood work showed
that he
> had a low protein level & a high lipose level. Other readings were
in the
> normal range & I can supply anyone with the complete readings if
It is always best to supply all blood results. Often, problems can
only be diagnosed by analyzying values in the context of other
values, or looking at the ratios to two values taken together. The
low temperature is suggestive of shock - during shock, the body shuts
down peripheral blood vessels, resulting in a decreased body temp,
and in severe cases, may actually lose the ability to regulate

> The x-ray was shocking. All of his intestines are on the right
side of his
> body. His spleen is ok. His heart appears ok. Either his bladder
or liver
> is shaped a little odd but the vet said it wasn't anything to worry
> now. There was a shadow of something on the left side but it
wasn't clear
> so he couldn't determine what it was, but it was large. The left
side is
> also full of what he thinks is fat.

Well, something is pushing the intestine aside, and in most cases, a
neoplasm is the cause. Occasionally, you may see a greatly swollen
kidney due to a previous urinary tract infection, blockage of the
ureter, and backup of urine, resulting in swelling and destruction of
the kidney on that side (hydronephrosis.)
> He is to get 1.5cc of Pepto Bismol, 0.5cc Metronidazole & 0.3cc
Amoxi 2
> times a day for 14 days. Plus he is to have Eukanuba Veterinary
> Nutritional Intestinal Formula "Low-Residue Adult" food. I had
asked about
> A/D since he had been on it another time & also at the emergency
> but the vet said that it was "high residue" which wasn't good for
> diarrhea. I guess that goes through too quickly?

Low residue foods are better for ferrets with diarrhea than the high
variety of medicatins that are often tried, but they are only good if
the ferret is eating them. If this particular ferret is going off
food, that is not a good prognostic sign for upcoming surgery (which
is certainly required. A/D, if he has taken it willingly before, is
probably warranted in this case.

Has anyone seen this before & do you know what caused it? Does fat
> inside the body look the same as say fluid on an x-ray? Is there
> that can be tried other than surgery?

Fat in the abdomen does not look at all like fluid. Fluid obscures
the abdominal organs; fat actually accentuates them, giving them very
distinct outlines and making the radiograph very crisp.

At this point, exploratory surgery and identification of the problem,
and biopsy if it turns out to be a mass (or removal,which would be
better), is definitely the only way to go. You can forestall this
option by going with ultrasound, but surgery is still an eventuality.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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