Date: 2001-07-10 18:37:00 UTC
Subject: ADV Comments
I have something to share with you all. This may get long but
I feel what I have to say is important and needs to be heard.
I just HAVE to send a heart felt thank you to so many people
and again, remind everyone how important testing and research
*Interject Personal Note - The heartfelt message by Sonya
regarding the ferret she has loved from afar was our Jojo.
Sonya, I am so sorry you had to learn of this... I was
heartsick at the thought of telling you. Thank you so much for
all the love and support you have given Jojo for so long...
and for encouraging me to test, even when I thought it wasn't
possible. I can only tell you that Jojo is not actively sick
with ADV, it turns out she had underlying Adrenal as well and
THAT is why she wasn't getting better.... I can assure you she
will be cared for to the best of our ability and when
possible, we will do everything we can to find her a safe,
permanent and loving home. All our love from me and Jojo*
The area we live in had never had a single documented case of
ADV, so I had a very lazy attitude towards testing every
rescue or worrying about it too much. Certainly, I will have
some warning when it hits our area and have time to
prepare.... after all, we never did get any of the ECE
From the day I received word of Jojo's positive testing, I
went into panic.... worry for all the ferrets here, for those
who have come through.... and yes I will admit, worry about my
reputation and my "standing" in the ferret community. I called
on a few people I trust with... "Do I go public now? Do I wait
for the rest of the tests? Do I get accused of hiding it if I
wait? Do I get slammed for having sick ferrets if I tell about
Jojo? Will I have to shut down?"
I can't describe the torment I was going through. My first
round of thanks is to those online vets, people at Avecon and
the other shelter people I spoke to during that testing
week.... your confidential yet caring input and advice...
understanding my fears and support helped me survive it and
helped me make the decisions I came to.
The second round of thanks MUST go to all of you whom have
contacted me since the announcement... both publicly and in
private.... your outpouring of support, understanding and
concern has alleviated so many fears. I was fearful of public
humiliation, shame or being condemned, as I am sure MANY
others out there are... whether you are "just" an owner, a
breeder or a shelter.... I now understand the horrible fear of
letting people know. That fear was outweighed by my fear of
having sent ferrets out to other homes infected, or being a
cause in spreading it.... the idea that ferrets out there
might be unknowingly sick because I don't speak up is
something I could never live with.
Thank you all for understanding and caring... for the emails
from so many of you, both ADV positive and negative for your
support. I realize that there is no shame in coming forward
and anyone who considers themselves a responsible owner and
especially a breeder or shelter OWES it to the ferrets and the
ferret community to go forward and speak up.
I realize how very lucky I was that all the other tests were
negative, (and yes I will retest), but this was also a very
frightening wake up call for me and many of us in this area of
the country. This disease IS anywhere and everywhere and could
pop up at any place and time... until we know more... until we
have a cure or vaccine... nobody is immune from the threat.
I have learned more about ADV in the past week than I ever
knew..... I guess I thought "Ignorance Is Bliss"...... and
maybe it was... I wish I didn't know so much about it now....
There MUST be a cure and/or vaccine found... we MUST learn
more about this horrible disease... we MUST, as a community,
support those who are working towards that goal.
Face it... ferrets are not as important to the animal research
world as dogs and cats... we are not yet totally considered
"mainstream".... Iams or Purina is not going to be willing to
sink millions into this.... it is going to be up to us... the
ferret lovers to get something done.
I encourage us all to do whatever we can to assist in the
goal.... "support" doesn't just mean "give money"... it you
can, that's great too, every penny is needed.... but even if
you can't afford to give money out of pocket there is so much
you CAN do!!!! Help run a fundraising project for funding,
help spread the word... use whatever talent you have for the
cause... put up a website... make phone calls... spread the
word for testing to owners.... put up flyers at pet stores and
vet clinics..... help make sure all your local vets know about
the virus and testing available..... put up a donation jar at
your vet clinic!
I personally, have a background in Public Relations and
Advertising and have offered any assistance I can give to Dr.
Stephon. Our club will be doing fund-raisers to help research.
I will also be adding an ADV awareness section to our sites.
On my own homefront, I am going to be very diligent now...
getting home test kits and testing all rescues immediately,
running regular random retests and encouraging all owners to
Since testing is cheaper is large batches, I intend to start a
trend here in the area of ferret owners to have "test groups"
and make dates for people to do it together as a group.....
Okay I am rambling now... the soapbox is getting tired of my
weight so I will stop.... but my final messages are this:
Thank you for all the support and understanding.
Test your ferrets and don't be afraid to share the results.
*Hopping Off SoapBox*