Message Number: YG726 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Karen Purcell, DVM
Date: 2001-03-05 07:41:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Bob C: Question for *ALL* the Vets

Hi Bob,

I can tell there will be some hot ferret health discussions this
weekend ( I have several vets coming here, too!).

You wrote:
> I have notice a disproportionate number of ferrets suffering from
> adrenal disease to have hairballs present in the stomach (or portions of
> hairballs in the intestine). My limited research: N = 187 ferrets;
> ferrets with adrenal disease = 79; ferrets with identifiable hairballs 5
> mm or larger = 52; ferrets with adrenal disease AND hairballs = 36 (I
> once might have made mention of these data to some who read this list;
> if they look different from these, it is because I redefined what I
> would call a hairball, causing some numeric changes). This makes sense
> to me; ferrets losing hair from adrenal disease would have a high
> probability of ingesting more of it while grooming. Usually the
> hairballs are rather small, pea- or bean-sized or smaller (but still 5
> mm or larger), but I have recovered nine monsters of the thumb-sized
> variety. In one single case, I believe the cause of death was due to the
> hairball. It was a thumb-sized monster, trailing through the pyloric
> valve into the duodenum. A single 18 mm tear extended from the pyloric
> region into the duodenum, and the abdomen was full of partially clotted,
> reddish blood. Food contents also filled the abdomen. There was no
> obvious signs of infection or inflammation. The ferret was reported to
> have died quickly, without warning.
> So, the first question is, has anyone noticed a higher incidence of
> hairballs in ferrets with adrenal disease?
Actually, I've been looking for them since you mentioned it awhile
ago. I have had my adrenal patients on some sort of hairball remedy,
when they aren't already. Haven't noticed too much difference, but
have had 2 adrenal surgeries out of the last 5 with multiple
hairballs in the stomach. These were all bean sized, 2 in one, 3 in
the other. The ferret with 3 had been showing signs of gastric
distress pre-op as well.

> So, the second question is, has anyone noticed a similar incidence of
> decreased bone density in ferrets with adrenal disease?
No, this I haven't noticed, but I'll review some xrays for you.

-Dr. Karen
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