Message Number: YG716 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-05 08:24:00 UTC
Subject: Question about treating ulcers and Helicobacter

Unfortunately, the finalization of the blood test for Helicobacter was not
finalized by the company. It is probably a good thing however, as ferrets
are ubiquitously infected with Helicobacter, and a positive test would
likely yield no useful information.

I am not a fan of Pepcid use in the treatment of Helicobacter. The effect
of the organism on the stomach is to decrease the stomach's ability to
secrete acid, which is necessary for digestion. This effect raises the pH
of the stomach. Pepcid, by shutting off the remaining acid production,
compounds this problem, and can actually worsen the animal's ability to
digest food.

A better alternative for animals who are being concomitantly treated for
gastric ulcers and Helicobacter would be Carafate, which has no antacid
effect. Carafate simply patches the ulcers, and prevents pain during
eating. It is normally given ten minutes prior to a meal. The fact that
your ferret continues to grind his teeth at meals suggests that the ulcers
are not responding to the current treatment.

Another cornerstone of ulcer treatment is the institution of a bland, highly
digestible diet. Kibble is not appropriate for animals with gastric ulcers.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM, DACVP
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-----Original Message-----

Dr. Williams,

I have read your comments from the Small Mammal Conf. about the development
of a blood test for Helicobacter mustelae. I was hoping to learn more
about the progress of this test, and it's availability.

My 5 y/o ferret is under tx for suspected ulcers from H. mustelae - and
after 3 weeks of tx he is still grinding teeth on feeding.

His tx is amoxicillin, flagyl and Pepcid.

Any additional information is appreciated.