Message Number: YG6219 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-08-08 21:22:00 UTC
Subject: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

I have been meaning to write this post for about 6 months now. My
ferret Zinc was diagnosed with IBD in October 2000. I followed a
protocol similar to that which Dr. Burgess mentions in the IBD file.
Initially, Zinc was put on pediapred, and she didn't seem to respond
at all. Shortly afterward, we started her on Imuran (0.1 ml every
other day) in addition to her pediapred (0.3 ml 2x daily). It took
about 3 weeks for her to respond to the treatment. The difference
was amazing in her! She was on that drug protocol until May 2001.

It was at about that time that she started looking terrible.
Something had changed, but I didn't know what. After seeing the vet
again, we learned that (1) she was dehydrated and (2) Imuran was
likely the cause of this change in health (many of the blood test
results were low). I think it had something to do with Imuran's side
effects and/or building up in the system. Her health improved
tremendously while weaning her off the Imuran. She's doing great now
and is getting off the pediapred. She is easily affected by
stressors in her life and will begin to have diarrhea, but hopefully
we can limit those stressors and treat the diarrhea when it occurs.

There are a couple of points I'd like to mention. First, from my
experience, Dr. Burgess's protocol works. My vet contacted Dr.
Burgess and consulted with him (regarding their experiences with IBD
and its treatment). Thankfully, as a result of this consultation,
Zinc is on the mend.

Second, my vet firmly believes that there is a link between IBD and
lymphoma. There is a link in humans and cats as well.

Third, I guess I don't understand the controversy of IBD. I suppose
I don't understand where Dr. Williams is coming from in terms of his
opinion about IBD. And I'd like to throw this out there in the hopes
that I might better understand myself since I,too, have been
diagnosed with IBD. To me, it doesn't matter what it's called as
long as we know what we're talking about and the treatment is
generally the same. No one yet knows what exactly causes IBD or
other ulcerative diseases of the intestine in humans. We also don't
know the cause of cancer (generally), does that make the diagnosis
any less valid?

Granted, it would be wonderful to know the actual cause so that the
disease may be prevented. But if a bacterium were found in a ferret's
inflamed intestine, how would we know whether it's a cause or effect
of IBD? And if the treatment is the same regardless, what's in a

I realize that I'm getting into the theory of it all, but it's been
bothering me for some time. I just want to understand. I hope I
haven't stepped on anyone's toes.