Message Number: YG334 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Betty
Date: 2001-02-27 18:21:00 UTC
Subject: Re: ADV, ECE in Canada

Hi Kathy,

I'm from Alberta, Calgary to be exact. We've had numerous foster homes
with long term forest green, and lime green coloured poops. It was
thought that one surrendered ferret in August /September of 1999, had
possibly passed something onto the surrendered home, then to two other
foster homes. It was thought that the illness was contagious enough to
be passed through contact with clothing and direct contact as many
households were getting these awful poops. All told, this green poop ran
through about 25 to 35 ferrets and all of these ferrets had owners or
foster homes that were in contact either directly or through this one
surrendered ferret. None of these ferrets were officially diagnosed with
ECE although it was not ruled out either, but the green poop stayed with
various groups for months at a time. With diligence and aggressive
tactics, new protocols were put into place including not introducing new
ferrets to any of the known sick households. It has been approximately 7
months that we have been green poop free with no recurrent episodes.

We've seen no signs of ADV here at this time, but that does not mean we
may not have it. Testing in Alberta is pretty much non existent. Why?
Because there still is the hard line belief that the border protects us.
Luckily we have a group of volunteers through our organization who are
diligent in watching for any signs of illness in all of the foster
ferrets, although I know that symptoms of ADV are not as clear cut
initially like some other ferret illnesses tend to be. Currently the
only available blood test for detection of ADV is the CEP test produced
by United Vaccines in the US. Although it has been reported to be a
relatively inexpensive test, in households of upwards of 19 ferrets like
my own, the cost can easily add up to a huge amount. Plus we have to
deal with a lousy exchange on our dollar. For us Canadians, it can leave
quite the hole in our wallets. We need to find a place that would be
willing to assist shelters like our own in doing this test more cost
effectively. I am hoping that our local University, which is a top notch
center, may be interested in pursuing this with our shelter as a pet
project... no puns intended.

In terms of ADV, I think that we have to make ourselves fully aware of
this disease and report any cases as soon as there is confirmation. It
means that we as Canadians need to band together and keep in better
contact with one another so that we can communicate effectively across
the country. We need to report our findings to the US shelters so that
they are informed. We have the lives of our ferrets at stake here and
there can be no ego's or feelings that get in the way of this important

In short, Canadians are not immune from anything, including Aleutians.
Many travelers make their way North from the US, and visa versa. The
truth is that there is no way to know who has brought an ADV ferret into
any city or state, without each ferret being tested, people being
honest, and every known ferret owner and breeder contacted and educated
on the dangers of this disease. The best we can hope for at this time,
is for shelters and breeders to educate themselves with as much info as
possible, and to have a plan of action in place should an infected
ferret be found. In any case, I'm sure that Judy G would be more than
happy to answer any questions anyone would have should they suspect an
ADV case.

But we also need to keep in mind that we needn't start a panic when a
case does arise. As is has been stated time and time again, as long as
we get into the practice of good sanitation methods now, we can help not
only ourselves now, but the ferrets presently in our care.

Perhaps we can compile a list of Canadian Shelters and Canadian Breeders
with contact names and e-mail addresses and have them on one site.
Perhaps all the shelters and breeders can do weekly updates on a
bulletin board in which each place can check on a regular basis. The
only way we are going to deal with serious issues is through education
and proactivity.

Betty and Her Blur O'Fur
Director of PR and Promotions
Alberta Ferret Society of Calgary