Message Number: YG4880 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-06-25 21:46:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Vets please, repost: Abscesses developing from inside
the neck/ throat?

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Ulrike" <ferretlove@n...> wrote:

> I had a phone call today from a man who's had problems with
abscesses. He
> had 5 cases in the last year and the neck swells up to double or
three times
> the size with no mark on the outside. The vet drains it and there
is loads
> of puss. The vet thinks that the throat gets scratched from the
inside and
> so allows for the abscess to develop? The ferrets are on 99%
kibble and
> every now and again they get a rabbit. But the abscesses have
happened when
> no rabbit was fed, the man fed a rabbit 5 weeks ago and then just
> since and a few days ago he had another abscess case... Has
anybody ever
> heard of this or experienced this?

Dear Ulrike:

There are some syndromes that can do this, but the best way to
diagnose the problem is to either culture the pus, biopsy an affected
node, or both.

There are truly some bacteria that affect animal species through
puncture wounds, and some species are preferentially affected in the
head an neck through inoculations during feeding. Actinomyces is
one, and is especially difficult to treat. Streptococcus
zooepidemicus can do this, and has been incriminated in on-again, off-
again outbreaks similar to what you describe.

The key is to culture the pus rather than just drain it out. An
abscess is almost a pure culture of the bacteria in question in the
majority of cases - then you have an answer, plus you can choose the
most effective antibiotic.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM