Message Number: YG3144 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-02 15:00:00 UTC
Subject: Re: conjested heart failure

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Psalm 366" <psalm36_6@h...> wrote:
> I woke up this past Saturday to see my ferret very weak. The trip
to the vet
> showed fluid around the heart. She now is on Lasix and Enacard. Has
> gone this route with a ferret? She is 1 of age. Can anyone tell me
how long
> they have seen ferrets live on this medication?

Debora - you may want to check the archives for information on
cardiomyopathy. This is a disease in which heart muscle is replaced
by scar tissue, and the heart is then unable to effectively pump the
blood throughout the body. Lasix is a diuretic prescribed to
decreased the blood volume and make it easier to pump it around the
body, and Enacard relaxes the blood vessels to make themwider and
easire to pump the blood through. The third component of therapy
which will eventually enter the picture is digoxin, a digitalis
derivative which strengthens the contraction and normalizes the
rhythm of a failing heart.

Cardiomyopathy is a common problem in American ferrets, with a likely
genetic background. However, when it is seen in a 1-year-old, it is
a poor prognostic sign. Many old ferrets have some signs of it at
necropsy, but are claimed by other diseases first.

One thing to remember is that we cannot cure cardiomyopathy, only
slow its inevitable progression. Medication and response should be
monitored carefully, and dosages optimized as best as possible to
prolong quality of life as long as possible. While I am hesitant to
handicap the lifespan of a young ferret with cardiomyopathy, for him
to see his second birthday would mean that you have done extremely
well managing his condition.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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