Message Number: YG3648 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-16 20:48:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Urgent Bandit needs help again

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., cjbandit@a... wrote:
> Thank you all for responding to my original post about Bandit...

OK - this is going to be long and a bit confusing, but let's take a

> I took him to the vet and he could not or did not feel comfortable
> his urine-so I'll work on that at home. Bandit did give the vet a
sample of
> white seedy diarrhea during his office visit- I just noticed for
the first
> time bright red specks of blood along with it and the doctor said
the white
> seeds I referred to was mucous.

The "seeds" may also be undigested foods, suggesting that either his
GI tract is not digesting properly, or there is something in it that
does not agree with him.

True blood may be the result of colitis, or course, but it doesn't
fit well with the seeds - which are usually small intestinal in
I don't know but blood sounds serious to me,
> the doctor said he thought Bandit had a case of colitis. I know
from what I
> read here that colitis is rare in ferrets so I told him so. He
didn't seemed
> to concerned with the blood and his suggestion was to put Bandit on
a new
> diet-the eukanuba blend for fragile intestines....

Well, I am always concerned with blood, regardless of the cause.
> While at the vet I had him do a full CBC as well as an in house
blood test
> cause whenever I try to get the blood glucose from the lab the
values seem to
> come back wrong. The results came back all normal (I couldn't
believe it)
> and the in house blood glucose read "79" and the one sent out
was "98" so I
> don't know which to believe.

Read either one - they are both normal - 79 is just borderline low
normal, but not enough to get excited about. Colitis may result in
elevated WBC,s and you are not seeing that. Most small intestinal
problems do not show changes in bloodwork, other than perhaps an
elevated lymphocyte count.
> Dr. Williams in addition to Bandit's problems with his stools he
also has bad
> breath and a hard ball/callus on his foot pad-I notices hair loss
on the
> elbows of top legs and feet, areas that he lies vet says to
soak his
> foot in empsom salts??

I don't put a lot of faith in bad breath, especially if the bloodwork
looks good. Now the callus on his foot pad - I guess I'd need to see
a picture of that, but the pads are occasional sites of neoplasms,
particularly low-grade malignancies - but I doubt that it is related
to anything else.

Epsom salts? Don't think so - a good exam and a biopsy is probably a
better way to go. Never have used epsom salts in ferrets - afraid
that they may drink it and get diarrhea.
> >New Post
> Since the original post I have only seen blood in his stool twice
and it was
> the day I took him to the vet. The blood was bright red indicating
that it
> was coming from the lower bowel which my vet says is not indicative
of an
> ulcer.

Got to agree with that.

>His stools are back to seedy, yellow, brown, green haven't seen much
> mucous as of lately but it was happening for awhile before and
that's why I
> took him to the vet

I really like this much better for small intestinal diarrhea (that
seedy poop is really a good localizing sign) than for colitis.
> Dr. Williams what do you thing this blood means?? What would you
> as a treatment??

Well, if you haven't seen it recently, I wouldn't treat it at all.
Blood in the gut (if that is what it is) may arise from a number of
causes, including straining.

Also I have a copy of the blood results if there is
> anything that you would like to know about his blood chemistry.

That certainly can't hurt.
> Oh the doctor gave me bene bac (something with acidolphilus and the
> good bacteria) and I asked him for Tylan for the diarrhea what do
you think??

I don't really believe in Bene-Bac, a human product - humans and
ferrets have different bacterial flora in the intestine to start
with. Not excessively radically different, but different enough that
the marginal effects of Bene-bac in humans are probably negated in
ferrets. Tylan - it seems to work in a non-specific fashion in some
cases of diarrhea, and it usually doesn't hurt, so it probably would
be okay to try. And there isn't much you haven't tried at this

> It's Bandit again, this time I noticed his breathing sounds
belabored. Every
> two seconds he breaths heavily out of his nostrils and his whole
body seems
> to rise....I can hear him breathing and it sounds like we would
sound if you
> blow air out of you're nose with you're mouth closed. He had
> earlier-he sounded as if he had a hair caught in his throat and
kept licking
> his chops and making funny noises.

This could be a vast number of things - upper respiratory infections
and flu are the most common, but any condition of the nose down
through the lungs could conceivably do it.

> Banditwas just to the vet and he said his
> heart sounded fine and all bloodwork came out normal.
> Could this be a heart problem or lymphoma?? Dr. Williams what
should I have
> Bandit checked for?

Well, it could be either, I suppose. Listening to the heart may
reveal some problems, like arrhytmias and murmurs due to valve
disease, but failing hearts can sound perfectly normal, and the
bloodwork can also be normal. Lymphoma can also have perfectly
normal bloodwork up until there is major organ damage.

One thing that you can do in this case is have some radiographs taken
of the chest. Heart disease may be visualized in the form of an
enlarged heart, or fluid in or around the lungs, and lymphoma also
may be visualized if solid tumors are present.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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