Date: 2001-05-12 02:56:00 UTC
Subject: Ferret "mystery illness"
I am not a vet, nor have I played one on TV.
I've had two here within four weeks with the same symptoms. One was a shelter
guy, Schemp, the other, one of my personal ferrets, Chumley.
The first, Chumley, I thought was insulinoma. The symptoms were "classic"
with the exception of the bright red foot pads. It turned out, after x-ray,
to be pulmonary adema caused by congestive heart failure. He's now on Lasix
to control his fluid build up and Enacard for his heart condition. Two weeks
later he tested with a low glucose which we can't treat with surgery,
pediapred or proglycem because of his heart trouble and the medication used
to treat them.
Schemp started with the same symptoms almost exactly one week ago. X-rays
showed fluid and a slightly enlarged heart. He's now on Lasix to control his
fluid and will probably go on digitalis to treat his cardiomyopathy.
A third ferret, Willie, one of our fosters, showed the same symptoms two
weeks ago, with the exception of the red foot pads. His x-rays showed fluid
which was also treated with Lasix. The underlying cause is more suspect.
Although there's no definite outline of a tumor, there's reason to believe
there might be one in his chest.
I don't write this with the intent of setting off a panic. Heat or Insulinoma
could be responsible, as well.
Cover all your bases. If the symptoms persist and your ferret goes back to
the vet, ask for a fasting (four hour only) glucose and x-rays.
We've always, in the past, pumped up our ferrets with ferrevite or nutrical
before we fast them for any reason. We've recently begun to suspect that this
will alter the true glucose results. Theoretically, four hours later the
sugars should have cleared their system but we've had several who have had
normal readings when tested and two weeks later were low. I'd still recommend
the extra boost before fasting but I'd recommend it more like five or six
hours prior to the test. Remove the food four hours prior.
Good luck, and I hope everything works out!