Message Number: YG5103 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-07-03 23:41:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Kit Panic - What just happened?

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Santinix" <santinix@c...> wrote:
> I ought to warn everyone that, since my jill had kits, I've become
> panicker on health issues. Please tell me when I'm being dumb.
> I took the jill and her ten-week-old kits and put them in a new
cage in the
> front garden today, so they could see around them and get used to
> sounds. Each in turn spent a little time on my lap as I worked in
the house,
> so they each got their share of attention. One, who has always been
prone to
> crying, lay quiet for a few minutes then had a major fit!
> shrieking, wetting and crapping himself, spraying fom his anal
> biting my hand and drawing blood. Even after it was over and I had
given him
> time to calm down, he just lay as if paralysed with shock. He
didn't even
> lick the blood from his lips and teeth (and I swear there was more
> there than my tiny bite produced). When I lifted him to put him
back with
> the others, he cried as if had hurt him. His heart was racing.

Dear Santinix -

I certainly don't think that you are being dumb here - this is a
violent reaction to a stimulus of some type, and certianly not any
type of behavior that you would expect in a kit.

The particulars of this episode, though, do not ound like a seizure,
but more of a sign of severe emotional distress. Just less than a
month ago, Sukie forwarded me a most interesting story of a yound
ferret with a history of biting and then falling into a deep
catatonic state. We surmised on this unusual case that it may be a
unusual manifestation of a fright reaction, as it had evolved over
time. Your kit may be starting something similar.

What was the stimulus - I suggest that it might be the transfer to
the new cage In a minority of individuals, such as the classic
cannibalistic postpartum jill, a profound (sometimes even a subtle)
change in the environment may trigger some very unusual tendencies.

I have yet to see an insulinoma in a 10 week old kit, and most of the
nurologic disease that is evident at that age is of a diecidedly more
degenerative nature, not episodic like this particular one has.

At this point, you have two choices - 1) simply monitor for a
recurrence or 2) try to recreate the circumstances of the first
episode and in doing so, precipitate another one (but this time, wear
gloves.) Whichever you are more comfortable with is fine, but if you
are planning to adopt out this kit, it may be nice to try to ensure
that this unwanted behvior is not repetitive.

True seizures are generally of little harm to an animal, unless it
is prolonged to the point where the animal becomes anoxic due to
unrelenting seizure activity. It is very stressful to the owner
though. If this was a brief episode, there will be no lasting

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, dVM