Message Number: YG5264 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Lisa Shortley
Date: 2001-07-07 22:00:00 UTC
Subject: Re: my ferret died...I need major advice

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Bruce Williams, DVM" <williams@e...>
The picture is not that which we would associate with
lead- based paint - plumbism is a prolonged disease which is
manifested by severe anemia, but not hemorrhage. Also in lead
poisoning, radiography of the stomach may show radiodense chips, or
dark lines in the extremities, due to the action of lead in bones.
Thank you for replying Dr Williams.
After hours and hours of wracking my brain...I thought about the fact
that I fed Nala and everyone else chicken gravy Thursday night. The
chicken gravy consisted of a whole ground chicken, and amongst other
things, egg shells. I believe that the white chips were most likely
the undigested egg shells. Is this possible? All week, including
Thursday, Nala ate wonderfully. She ate kibble normally, and when the
chicken gravy was served, as normal, she was the first to the bowl and
she returned for seconds and thirds. When I saw that she was slightly
dehydrated about an hour following this, I made her duck soup (A/D and
turkey baby food) watered down with a lot of pedialyte. Again, she
stood on the floor and ate this from the bowl with no coaxing at all
from me.

She'd been to my vet's the prior Friday (one week prior to death) for
an ear infection. Saturday she was at another vet's for the Lupron
injection. Her weight at this visit was exactly two pounds. Both
vets examined her and palped her well. Typical weight for Nala
spanned from 1.7 to 2.25 pounds. Thursday evening, she remained
solid, muscular, and not thin or boney at all. I had noticed this
because I was watching her eating the duck soup and was looking
closely at her skin and how much fur she had lost. I had just
scheduled her for a third adrenal/exploratory surgery with Dr Weiss in
August that day.

My vet who did the post mortem reported no thickening of the stomach
wall and no signs of any disturbances aside from the bleeding and the
white flecks throughout her stomach. Her vomit did not have blood in
it, only her bowel movements. Her vomit found in the cage looked
exactly like duck soup had been spilled. I knew there wasn't duck
soup in the cage so I knew she had thrown it up.
> But I doubt that lead is the problem, and your story unfortunately,
> is not an uncommon one. The combination of black blood inthe
> stomach, vomiting, and red vomit and stools in an animal tht was
fine the previous day is strongly suggestive of a subacute to chronic
> ulcer which unfortunately eroded into a blood vessel. The vessels
> are quite supreficial at the end of the stomach where it empties
into the small intestine, and this is also the area where most ulcers
> occur.

Her small intestine was reported to be slightly reddened. I must
express some relief that lead poisoning is not thought to be the
problem. I have been so worried about my other nine ferrets and
the other pets in my house with this being suspected.

>It is likely that the ulcers may have been there a while, but
> just silent, and it would be interesting to compare Nala's weight at
> necropsy with her most recent weight to see if she had been off her
> food as of late.

Would the ulcers have been seen during her exploratory surgery done on
3/30? She never showed any signs of being sick and was actually at
the top of her game these last several months. Her breath never
smelled bad, she ate like a horse, and she played like a kit - always.

> Many ulcers are very small and only the most careful examination
> disclose them. I am interested in hearing any toxicologic results,
> but in this case, I fear that they will be negative.

Do you think I will ever get an answer as to what caused this? What
about the sandy blood that was taken from her stomach while she was
still alive? I should have the pathology report on Monday from that.
It did not come in from the lab today as we had hoped. The samples
have not been sent out yet. My vet is in the process of trying to
speak with the proper person to send the

Thank you so much for offering your advise. I have tried to be as
specific and exact as I can and it's hard leaving out all the emotion
in these posts.
Lisa Shortley