Message Number: YG4023 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-05-26 23:04:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Chicken Baby Food and Renal Failure

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Mahri Shelton <everythingferret@y...>
> Hello! My ferret Ginger has recently been diagnosed
> with the beginning stages of renal failure. We had an
> ultra sound done and the "dark" areas on her kidneys
> are not dark enough and the kidneys seemed a little
> small. They also found that the right side of her
> heart is mildly enlarged, however her heart is
> functioning very well right now (she is on heart worm
> prevention medication and they didn't see any heart
> worms). Blood tests showed elevated kidney levels (I
> don't have the lab results with me right now), and my
> vet told me that they were not that bad yet. Ginger
> is around seven years old (no one knew her exact age
> when I adopted her, but I have had her for five years
> and she was full grown when I adopted her).

Unfortunately, without the kidney levels, I am unable to confirm
whether we are truly starting into renal failure, where a low-protein
diet would be helpful, or simply have some elevated enzymes.

> Ginger has been eating a meal of warm chicken baby
> food, warm lactose free milk and a side order of
> Eukanuba Kitten each morning for breakfast. She then
> free feeds on the Eukanuba all day (my vet recommended
> the Eukanuba after she had her surgery a year and a
> half ago). Should I stop giving her the meal of
> chicken baby food and milk in the morning (she really
> looks forward to it)? My vet wasn't sure how much
> protein (percentage wise) the baby food contains. I
> have switched her over to a lower protein premium cat
> food instead of the kitten chow to help her kidneys.
> However, I still want to make sure she is getting
> enough fat in her diet.

It is difficult to say whether to stop the baby food or not -
certainly if will cause an older animal to decompensate and stop
eating all together, I wouldn't advise it. If she readily takes the
low protein diet (actually for a ferret in true renal failure, a low-
protein cat food such as K/D is probably indicated, rather than
simply an adult maintenance diet), and doesn't miss the baby food,
then it probably would be a good idea.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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