Message Number: YG6266 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-08-10 12:50:00 UTC
Subject: Help with difficult diagnosis; anthracosis? (long post)

My ferret, Nutmeg, has been showing many 'difficult to interpret'
signs and I would love to have some insight into what is going on with
him. Back in March he began be very aggressive towards my 4 yr old
female. She was showing signs of adrenal problems and has since had
her second adrenalectomy. It was thought that this aggression toward
her could have been the result of her producing excess hormones, but 3
months post surgery I am still seeing the same behavior.

Nutmeg was also urinating frequently, losing some hair on his hind
end, and falling to the side a lot when he walked. At this point we
thought maybe it was insulinoma being masked by adrenal symptoms. We
did exploratory surgery (June 21) at this point with a great doctor.
His fasting glucose prior to surgery was 150, which rules out
insulinoma. The doctor found no signs of adrenal tumor or insulinoma.
He had an enlarged spleen which reacted well (apparently lifted from
the body to see if blood returned to the body?). During surgery the
vet found growths on his lymph nodes and the largest one (in his neck)
was sent for biopsy. The biopsy came back with negative results for
malignancy but the report stated that they found a dark spot which was
likely due to anthracosis. It is my understanding that anthracosis is
carbon trapped in the cells and is commonly due to smoke inhalation
(in humans anyhow). What could cause this in ferrets (who have lived
their whole lives in a smoke-free house)? And is it harmful?

Since the exploratory, he has been urinating even more. Sometimes I
can't believe that so much liquid could be stored inside one little
body. He's also drinking a lot. He has frequent diarreah (sometimes
explosive). He still has the 'drunk walk' and seems to fall to his
right side when standing still. He's been more lethargic than usual,
he no longer sleeps with my other two ferrets, and he sometimes
wimpers when he's picked up. He also has some raw spots on his skin
which look like either a) he scratches himself raw or b) he is itchy
in these areas because of the spots. He'll be 5 yrs old in October,
had ECE about 2 1/2 yrs ago, and seems to always have LOTS more wax in
his ears than the others. Other than that, he's been very healthy and
hasn't even experienced any weight loss.

My vet did a CBC, chemistry and urinalysis (July 31). Here are the
ALB 3.79 g/dl (2.60 - 3.80)
ALKP 35 U/L (9 - 84)
ALT 195 U/L (82 - 289)
BUN 16.8 mg/dl (10.0 - 45.0)
Ca 8.95 mg/dl (8.00 - 11.80)
CHOL 125.4 mg/dl (64.0 - 296.0)
CREA 0.23 mg/dl (0.40 - 0.90)
GLU 133.7 mg/dl (94.0 - 207.0)
PHOS 6.23 mg/dl (4.80 - 8.90)
TBIL 1.47 mg/dl (0.10 - 1.00)
TP 8.20 g/dl (5.20 - 7.30)
GLOB 4.41 g/dl (1.80 - 3.10)
Na 157.3 mmol/l(139.0 - 169.0)
K 5.45 mmol/l(4.60 - 7.60)
Cl 117.2 mmol/l(106.0 - 125.0)

HCT 53.7 %
HGB 18.1 g/dl
MCHC 33.7 g/dl
WBC 6.2 x10^9/L
GRANS 3.6 x10^9/L
%GRANS 58 %
L/M 2.6 x10^9/L
%L/M 42 %
PLT 769 x10^9/L
Retics 0.6 %

pH 6 protein 1+
sp:gr 1.035
20-30 WBC
5-10 bl. epi cells

Due to the WBC in urine, he's on Baytril (1/2 of a 22.7 mg tablet
every 12 hours) for possible bladder infection. I haven't seen any
improvement in 10 days on meds. She also prescribed Etiderm (twice
weekly) to hopefully help with the skin problem.

I have a really wonderful vet, but we're both stumped. Any insight
would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post.

Thanks for your help,