Message Number: YG5584 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-07-16 22:58:00 UTC
Subject: Re: giardia

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., rebecca klein <jaxy25@y...> wrote:
> The posts about ferrets and fish made me think of
> the time that Rumpstein got Giardia. Let me tell
> you ferret owners out there that haven't
> experienced this, it was horrible. He was sick
> and dehydrated, wouldn't eat, wouldn't play,
> wouldn't drink. I took him to the vet and she
> diagnosed immediately. She stated that it's most
> likely that we tracked Giardia into our home on
> our feet. Dr. Williams or other vets, is this
> correct? That we can simply walk into a grocery
> store and then bring it home on our shoes?
> Anyway, he was on IV's for a couple of days,
> still no change. I swear he was on his death bed
> when I rushed him back to the vet and she IV'd
> him again, then injected him with steroids to
> help stimulate his appetite. It was just minutes
> after we got home that he started eating like a
> madman!! He was himself again in a few days. The
> scary thing is that I had never met any other
> ferret owners that have experienced this before.
> Is Giardia in fact a feline ailment? Is this
> something that will run it's course? What's the
> best route for treatment? The antibiotics we gave
> him seemed no help.

Giardia is most commonly acquired by ingesting water contaminated by
feces containing Giardia oocysts (this is the problem with ferrets
drinking out of fish tanks.) While tracking it in could conceivably
happen, the chances are fairly remote.

The response of Rumpstein to steroids and not to antibiotics is
unusual and makes me somewhat doubt this diagnosis. Giardia is
treated by metronidazole, and spontaneous cures are uncommon. Then
again, I have lingering doubts about the pathology of Giardia in
ferreets, as it may be isolated from apparently normal ferrets.

The key here is that Rumpstein is better.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, dVM