Message Number: YG4960 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-06-28 22:12:00 UTC
Subject: Re: renal failure, or human failure?

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., weezilized@y... wrote:

> biscuit's nine years old--for the past seven years he had lived
> a friend of mine in another city, who didn't have anywhere in her
> house for him to run. he came here to live early this year, at
> point he was perfectly healthy... january or february, not certain
> which--and about three days after his arrival, he got diarrhea,
> started going off his food, etc.--i suspected ECE at the time. he
> started teeth-grinding, was treated for helicobacter and GI
> ulceration... no improvement, really. i've been feeding him soup
> or less ever since--he's periodically voluntarily eaten crunchies
> a few days every so often, then stopped again. a few weeks ago, he
> got a urinary infection, and an ulcer was noticed on the roof of
> mouth. antibiotics helped with those--he then got an ear infection,
> which is being treated still... last weekend he stared getting weak
> on his hind legs. now he's very very weak, can barely walk a few
> steps at a time, and holds his head sideways (probably due to the
> infection)--insulinoma has been ruled out now, so basically i'm
> looking at one of a few options...
> -kidney (or possibly liver) failure. i could pay 50 dollars for the
> test, which might at least give me an answer, but which i really
> can't afford at this point.
> -ADV, he had it before he got here, and it only became symptomatic
> afterward. i realize this is unlikely, especially as i think before
> he got here he had not been around other ferrets for a few years at
> least.
> -stress-related ulcers and sickness weakened his immune system to
> point where he's just undergoing massive system failure. this is
> i'm afraid of. i feel like if i hadn't brought him down in the
> place, this would never have been triggered.
> i guess my question is, does this sound like the latter stages of
> renal failure to you? i'm just scared as hell of running the tests,
> and having them come back negative... leaving me with a dying
> and no answers.

Dear Kat:

Unfortunately, without getting some objective data, there is just no
way to say what is going on - renal failure or otherwise. Any or all
of the scenarios may be happening, (other than stress bringing on
massive system failure - stress may bring on ulcers, but it usually
doesn't knock the immune system for a fatal loop.)

Bloodwork may bring you an answer as to what systems are having
problems, but it won't tell you exactly what sequence of events have
brought this ferret to the current point. There is no guarantee that
you will have the answers that you so desire, but it may point a
direction for therapy to ameliorate this ferret's problem.

There is only one test that will give you the answers that you
desire, but it is not one that will allow for any therapy afterward.
If one does it correctly, you'll have all of the answers you need -
it's the autopsy.

I always prefer to take a chance with bloodwork - it's a gamble, but
for Biscuit - it's his best last chance.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM

P.S. - don't feel guilty - nine is a very good age for a ferret -
very few ever get that far.