Message Number: YG5046 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Pam Sessoms
Date: 2001-07-01 20:10:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Please help--bleeding sore in


I'm not a vet, but here are a couple of thoughts. With the isulinoma, if
his blood sugar is not stable right now, he could be feeling nauseous. A
ferret having a low blood sugar episode may claw at his mouth - he'll put
his front feet in his mouth and rake his claws up against the palate and
can cause sores and scratches like what Benji has. So, if he hasn't had
his blood sugar tested recently, that might be a place to start.

There are other reasons they claw like that (GI stuff), but perhaps with
an insulinoma guy, that's something to check out first. And of course,
maybe he's gotten the sore some other way, but this mouth-clawing thing
isn't terribly uncommon with ferrets - I've had a number of them do this,
and I have only dealt with a rather small number of ferrets. I think
kidney disease may also sometimes cause oral ulcers in ferrets and other
animals, but given the location you describe, it sounds very suspicious
for a self-inflicted scratch.

> He has also had the dark, tarry stools indicative of his
> swallowing the blood.

Much as I hate to bring up another possible problem, it might not hurt to
consider gastric ulcers... any mention of dark tarry poop makes my
"ulcer" warning flags go up. It might also go along with him clawing at
his mouth. Is he by chance grinding his teeth, especially during a
feeding? That's a sign of stomach pain; ferret with ulcers often have
those two signs, dark poop and grinding teeth... Getting him on carafate
for that may really help - give it 10-15 minutes before each and every
feeding. It'll help him eat more comfortably. Dr. Williams has a
fabulous article on gastric ulcers on his website at

> And what can be done for a tiny sore in the mouth??

Good question... It will heal on its own, and the soft diet you are
already feeding will help. I bounced a few ideas around in FHL message
number 4949 (you can get to a specific message number by going to the
group's web site message listing), but I warn you that it's mostly just
ponderings and I still don't really know if any of it actually helps much.
Sukie also later wrote that her fuzzy Warp had an easier time eating from
a little plastic squeeze bottle when she had a scratch on her palate.
Watch him really closely after he eats - the ones I've had with
mouth-clawing have often wanted to do it after a feeding. Sometimes just
cuddling for a few minutes after the food can keep them distracted until
the urge passes...

Good luck, an 8 yr old ferret is a special little friend! And keep
everyone posted.

-Pam S.