Message Number: YG3131 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Mary R. Shefferman
Date: 2001-05-02 10:32:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Epogen

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Debbie F" <Debbie@v...> wrote:
> My ferret is sick. His red blood cell count is way down. 6 weeks
ago, when the count was at 8%, my vet and I each brought in a healthy
one-year old and he got 2 blood transfusions that day. Two weeks
later his red blood cell count was holding at 13%. My vet thought we
could try Epogen. Wylie was put on .025cc sub-q every other day. I
gave him the first shot and he was extremely nauseated. Two days
later, time for another shot, the nausea had pretty much gone so I
gave him the second dose. Again, extreme nausea. So much that he
would groan through the night. I did not give him any more. Two
weeks after the shots, he pinked up more than he had been. I have
not gotten another blood count but his gums and the roof of his mouth
has gone pale again. The nausea is gone. So has his appetite. I
would like to give it a try again, my vet says I can. She has not
seen any side effects before, but has only used it on cats. Has any
one here used it on ferrets? Is the nausea a common side effect or
could that have been from something else ( like the beginning of an
ulcer). I did treat it with Carafate. When that did not control the
pain, I tried Zantac. Any other ideas, or do you think I should not
try it again. We are not sure of the cause of the anemia. He had
adrenal surgery one year ago and the right was just debulked as it
was too difficult to take out. Could the cancer have spread to the
bone marrow and slowed the manufacturing of red blood cells? Any
ideas would be appreciated.
> Thank you,
> Debbie F.

I don't know if Epogen would have the same side effects in ferrets as
in humans, but one of the most common side effects in humans is
hypertension. The thing is, it occurs over time, not necessarily upon
injection. It is one of the things docs have to screen for during
Epogen therapy. The same is true of hyperkalemia (high potassium in
the blood). Nausea is not one of the common side effects in humans,
but pretty much any drug could potentially make a person or an animal
nauseated. I don't know if there might be a more immediate reaction
because it's a ferret instead of a human. I also don't know if the
fact that it is a human recombinant hormone would cause other
potential side effects in ferrets or other animals. I guess that's
not very helpful. (I used to work for a company that did all the
educational stuff for doctors & pharmacists on Epogen & other biotech
drugs -- so I know some of the humans stuff, but I don't know how
well it translates into ferrets.) I would think you'd want to figure
out the cause of the anemia so you could follow a more specific
treatment that could target the problem.

Good luck with your little guy.

--Mary & the Fuzzies