From: Pat Stauffer
Date: 2001-07-25 08:43:00 UTC
Subject: dislocated elbow
I had this happen to a jill several years ago. She had gotten
out of her cage while I was at work. I found her with her
front leg just dragging as though it had nerve damage.
Luckily I work in an animal hospital. I ran her back to work
and X-rayed her. The associate that was on told me he had good
news and bad. The good was, it was not broken. The bad was it
was the worst dislocated elbow he had ever seen and he did not
know what we were going to do with it. Since the leg seemed
"dead" amputation might be the only option. I was devastated.
He called several other vets for opinions as well as a
veterinary orthopedic specialist that is a friend of his. He
said he could attempt to wire it together, with no guarantee
as he had never done a ferret before. If it were a dog or a
cat, to start, he would wrap it and do strict cage confinement
for several weeks. Good luck with a ferret! We decided to try.
The first time, we used a tongue depressor as a splint and
wrapped just the leg. As you can imagine it did not stay very
long. Our head tech has horses and is always wrapping
something. She made a suggestion that we pull the leg back
flush against the ferret's side and body wrap her, if you can
picture what I describe. I borrowed a playpen that she could
not climb from a friend and she stayed in there for weeks. It
was big enough where she wasn't totally confined but she
couldn't over do it. We went back for weekly bandage
readjustment. We gave up after 5wks, but hoped that would be
sufficient. The leg was weak, but she could use it and had
control. I would exercise it and gradually allowed her more
and more free exercise. I guess it helps that she was running
up and down 15 steps after a while.
Today, you can barely tell unless you look very closely.
She has a very slight bulge to that elbow. She even had her
picture in the AFR, as a ferret who went from nearly being an
amputee to a first place winner. One of the comments on her
score card was that she was one of the most well muscled jills
a judge had ever seen. I guess it was all that "controlled"
exercise. She very rarely limps and she has never learned her
lesson about climbing. She still does it to this day. Each
case is different and this may not work for you, but might be
worth a try.