Message Number: YG3360 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-08 13:36:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Neurological Problems in Ferrets

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Shortley, Lisa" <shortleylj@m...>
> Hi everyone!
> I have a little girl named Hope who just turned one year old this
> January.
> Here's how the story from the surrender goes:
> Hope and her sister were purchased by a college student at 6 weeks
> This college student thought it would be fun to physically abuse
the girls.
> They were kicked, thrown against walls, deprived of food, and very
> abused. This went on for about 2 weeks...
Both would fit easily in the palm of one hand. Faith had a
> fractured vertebrate, two broken ribs, and a broken leg (from the
> jumping on her). Hope couldn't walk. Both were malnurished and
> scared...
> Faith has recovered completely from the abuse and aside from a kink
in her
> tail, you'd never suspect that she'd been through what she was.
Hope, on
> the other hand, has some severe balance issues. She's like an
> clumsy kit - she tries to run with food in her mouth and falls
> (can't do two things at once). Also, the girls have some potty
> whenever I do something they don't like (like clean their ears)-
but that's
> okay with me.
> Anyway, we always just assumed that Hope had some neurological
problems from
> the abuse, which is why her balance is so off. I believe that
she's also
> deaf as well but it's hard to tell with her. Is that what you
would call
> her problems? Neurological? Is there any way to tell the extent
of the
> damage to her? Is it even worth it to wonder? She's VERY happy
and healthy
> aside from the balance problems. I doubt that she will ever
outgrow that.
> Anyway, the balance problems have existed since she first arrived
to the
> shelter and was able to walk after everything - so I know it's
nothing like
> insulinoma or anything like that. Is there a medical name for her
> condition? Aside from stating that a complete jerk abused her?

Dear Lisa:

While this is an absolutely terrible and tragic study, it is very
difficult to establish the cause or extent of her injuries without a
true neurological examination. While the lesions are most likely
neurological, musculoskeletal problems would also have to be ruled
out in this case. I don;t know if the potty issues are related, as
you say that they are more frequent after a manipulation that they
don't particularly like.

If the signs are not getting worse, I don't think that there is a
reason to rush out for a neuro exam; it can wait until the next time
that she is in the clinic. It is unlikely that anything at this point
will reverse the signs.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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