Message Number: YG3282 | New FHL Archives Search
From: katharine
Date: 2001-05-05 22:41:00 UTC
Subject: Re:Katharine on low protein for sick ferret

Dr. Willard wrote:
>If the ferret has a kidney failure then that
needs to be treated
specifically not a general recommendation of "Low

Champ's chronic kidney failure is being treated
through various medications and sub-q fluids. I
guess we don't need to get into the debate again
as to whether an animal (or human, for that
matter) needs less protein when in kidney
failure. There is definitely a difference in
opinion between nutritionists and veterinarians.
My vet believes that a low protein diet is
necessary for chronic renal disease because of the
kidney's inability to process protein as well as a
healthy kidney.

Assuming we believe that lower/different levels of
certain nutrients are necessary to treat certain
illnesses or conditions, ferret owners and vets
have to turn to cat and kitten "specialty" foods
because there is no such thing in the ferret food
world. The only ferret foods in existence are for
"healthy" ferrets. When the ferret food
manufacturers start developing these specialty
foods, there will not be a need to turn to cat
foods. I do think there are too many special
diets out there (marketing ploy, in my opinion)
but I also think that many of them are helpful and
necessary. Ferret owners don't have that luxury.

I would venture to say that Gerber's chicken baby
food has not been tested on ferrets, but a lot of
us use it when our ferrets are ill or recovering
from surgery. Just because it hasn't been tested
doesn't make it bad. If that were the case, we
would be seriously limited in drugs that could be
adminstered to ferrets. In the ferret world, we
have to rely a lot on "off-label" usages.

Most special diets are used temporarily to treat a
certain illness or condition. In Champ's case,
chronic renal failure is pretty much terminal. My
goal is to keep him comfortable for the rest of
his days. I can't see how low protein can do a
whole lot of damage (assuming you believe that it
is unnecessary for kidney failure) with a terminal

This has been an interesting discussion.