Message Number: YG4817 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-06-23 22:19:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Symptoms of Distemper

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Bev Toney <bgtoney@y...> wrote:
> Help,
> We adopted a puppy who after a month had to be put to
> sleep because of distemper. My ferrets had had their
> shots, but two of them came down with a runny nose and
> thickening on the pads of feet and on the ears. Both
> signs of distemper. After a 2 month stay at the vet
> with antibiotic injections and daily care. My older
> ferret died. The 9 month old came home better but
> without much use of his back legs. He is getting
> better but we still dont know what he had(has?). Does
> anyone have any ideas.
> Thanks
> bgtoney@y...

Unfortunately, with the exposure to distemper, and the nasal dischard
and pad thickening, distemper still has to be at the top of the
list. Not every ferret reads the textbook, but until distemper has
been definitively ruled out, he poses a risk to any ferret he comes
in contact with. Being vaccinated is good, but there are instances
in which vaccination does not result in a sufficient titer to protect
against clinical signs. A ferret who is less than a year old and had
the requisite number of boosters is probably in better shape than an
older one, but no guarantees.

One possibility is to check biopsies from both of the affected areas
for viral inclusions. I have done this before on other ferrets and
was able to identify the disease. In some cases, even normal skin
from a ferret with distemper has evidence of viral infection.

If you would like, I'd be happy to look at the biopsies at no charge -
it may give us a diagnosis.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, dVM