Message Number: YG3644 | New FHL Archives Search
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.

Dear Angie:

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 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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