From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-16 19:43:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Help..Sick ferret ECE, Adrenal Disease, possible
--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., ubkarate@y... wrote:
> Dr. Williams,
> October 1st,2000 my ferret came down with ECE after bringing home a
> new ferret. The new ferret was to be my 7th ferret. Four ferret
> became critically ill, two passed away over the next two months.
> was the first to become ill. During this time he was diagnosed with
> adrenal disease. Josh was to ill to do surgery. After waiting four
> months my vet felt that Josh was as stable as he was going to be
> surgery was performed. The adrenal tumor was very larger. It was
> the size of a large grape but no other sign of illness could be
> This was February 7th. Josh's health has continued to decline ever
> since the ECE. Even the adrenal surgery didn't help much. He
> stabalized that is about it. He has had an inconsistent stool ever
> since. It comes out as blobs. Sometimes the smell is terrible. I'm
> concerned about his teeth grinding when he eats. This has been
> ongoing since the ECE. All the ferrets were grinding there teeth.
> the past several weeks he has lost an ounce of weight a week and
> sugar came back low pointing to Insulanoma. May 11, 2001 Josh had
> surgery to look for a pancreatic tumor, none was found. His weight
> this time was 2.1lbs down from 2.6lbs in February. A biopsy was
> on the pancreas and Liver. I should get the results back in the
> few days. We have done the prednisone and I am giving him Pedia
> for children along with his water. He does eat but it isn't a lot.
> will not eat baby food or anything other than his normal food. All
> will take is ferretone. I'm afraid he is just going to go to sleep
> and die. Please help with suggestions. What is the teeth grinding?
> also no longer likes the other ferrets to bother him. Megan did the
> teeth grinding, isolated herself from the other ferrets was eating
> and went to sleep and died. She was treated for ulcers, had adrenal
> disease along with the ECE. She never recovered. I fear for Josh's
> life and don't know what else to do. I'm afraid he will continue to
> decline as well and die. PLEASE HELP!!! He is under Vet care but
> was hoping for some more advice. Maybe there is something more I
> do but don't know about. Is someone still trying to find a way to
> treat ECE? Haven't heard much lately.
Based on your description, you have more than just ECE going on - you
have a gastric ulcer. Grinding teeth is classic for abdominal pain,
and is often a sign of gastric ulcers - especially in those ferrets
under the stress of a systemic illness like ECE.
There is a lot of information in the archives of the FHL, the FML,
and on my page at http://www.afip.org/ferrets on gastric ulcers. In
brief, these are holes in the lining of the stomach. When a ferret
begins to eat, he stomach liberates acid in preparation for digesting
the food coming down the esophagus. The acid gets in the ulcer and
it hurts - ferrets immediately stop eating. When they realize that
everytime they try to eat it hurts - they will then refuse food.
The treatment for this disease is not to stop feeding them, or to
stop the acid production, but to use a drug to plug the holes
(temporarily) and prevent the acid from getting in the acid. That
drug is Carafate, is readily available, and with good nursing care, a
bland diet, and the rest of the treatment outline on my Web site,
will really help with ulcers.
Ulcers do complicate ECE, and it appears that you have had a really
tough time. However, this is one that you can save with the proper
With kindest regards,
Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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