Message Number: YG4995 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Christopher
Date: 2001-06-29 19:42:00 UTC
Subject: ADV - making it make sense

Ok, we still get responses to the poll that say I have no idea what
you are talking about with this ADV stuff. Which is wonderful! One it
tells me that these people care enough to take a poll on something
they don't know about and two it gives us a chance to realize we are
talking greek. So, with a deliberate attempt to avoid the technical
stuff.. here is ADV.

AD is Aleutian Disease and it is caused by the Aleutian Disease
Virus, which is why we say ADV all the time around here.

The important things to know are;
1) it attacks your ferrets immune system and eventually kills.
2) there is no cure
3) there is no vaccine to protect your ferret
4) a healthy looking ferret with no sign of illness can pass it on.
5) it is possible that you could hold a ferret somewhere and go home
and give it to your ferrets.
6) if you've not tested you could very well be running around killing
other people's ferrets just by holding them.
7) there are not enough responses for the poll to be accurate yet,
but assuming it were an accurate sampling.. Half the people you know
who have ferrets have never tested. 1 in 10 of every ferret owner you
know has an ADV+ ferret. That's scary, but it is probably high as I
expect people with ADV+ ferrets to be more interested in the poll and
more likely to take it.. and there are not enough responses yet for a
valid sampling.
8) you can't look at a ferret and know if it has ADV. In fact most
cases are probably diagnosed post mortem by a pathologist. Though now
that more and more people are testing that is probably changing.
9) the symptoms of ADV are non-specific, so once a ferret starts
acting sick you still don't really know what's going on until a vet
notices from labs that the globulin is really high and orders and ADV
10) most ferrets appear well, spreading the virus, until they are
about to die.

Now for a scary thought... Just this week I had a vet, whom I trust
and respect greatly, tell me that it "only occurs in wild ferrets and
mink and isn't found in domestic ferrets so there is no need to test
captive bred ferrets." Let us tell that to the 10% of the people who
have already responded to the survey and are watching their ferrets
die and being incredibly careful about bathing and changing clothes
before they leave the house and go to the petshop to pick up a ferret
toy because if they forget once, they could pass it on. The people
who are probably afraid to pick up a kit and cuddle it for a second,
in that same petshop, just in case. The same people who don't dare
bring a healthy ferret they just fell absolutely in love with home. I
see a cute kit in a petshop and I have to stop and remind myself that
six is enough, but I do at least have a choice.

That's what ADV is! I hope you have tested and aren't putting other
people's ferrets and kits in petshops at risk. I hope your friends
have tested and don't accidently kill your ferret with a hug. I hope
everyone who visits petshops and shelters is going home and bathing
and changing clothes before they cuddle their own fuzzies. I'm as
guilty as anyone when it comes to letting my ferrets play with other
ferrets or coming home from the shelter and sitting on the couch
where the ferrets are going to be playing in another 10 minutes when
I get my second wind... That's why I want these figures so bad. Am I
too paranoid? Am I not paranoid enough? How big of a risk do I want
to take with my fuzzies life?

ADV doesn't infect humans or cross over to dogs or cats.

I hope that helps it make sense to those who haven't heard yet. I am
really sorry that I didn't personally tell you sooner, and I am
hoping this is in time for your own ferrets. So, who haven't YOU told?