Message Number: YG6908 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Pam Sessoms
Date: 2001-09-02 11:46:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Loss of use of hind legs

On Sun, 2 Sep 2001, Ferrets Unlimited Ferret Shelter wrote:
> What other things should they be looking for? What other things can
> be done? Could he possibly recover?

Stressful and scary stuff!! I can't really answer most of your questions,
but I did want to say that at least in some cases, depending on the cause
of course, YES, they can recover!

I'll relay the story of my little demented guy Mojo, who had a somewhat-similar
thing happen when he was a baby. He rather suddenly lost most use of his
back end (he also had a badly healed rear leg fracture, but it was
probably unrelated). X-rays were normal, but the assumption was that
there was some kind of soft tissue swelling perhaps putting pressure on
the spine, and the goal was to treat inflammation and try to reduce

We treated him similarly: pred shot at first, and then we went to oral
pred after that. We started out pretty low at 1.25 mg every 12 hours, but
we wound up increasing it quite a lot to keep getting some results; it was
frightening, but we really had nothing to lose. We were giving him as
much as 5 mg every 12 hours for a time, but if memory serves
(this was around 5 years ago), we mostly used 2.5 mg every 12 hours.
There was a *very very* slow tapering off of the pred at the end of the

It was *terribly* exciting to see him begin to try to put his feet under
himself and take those first couple of stumbling steps. All in all, I
think it took about 3 months before he was getting around at all
normally. He still walks funny, mostly because of the broken hind leg and
the resulting differnet leg lengths, but he gets around great.

Oh yeah... I *think* our vet at the time did say something about there
being a slim chance that a myelogram (x-ray with dye injected into the
area around the spinal cord) could turn up useful diagnostic info that the
regular x-rays missed. But he wasn't about to try it himself in such a
small animal. He wasn't very positive about it, and we did not pursue
it. But maybe someone else here has more thoughts on that...

GOOD LUCK and keep us posted,

-Pam S.