From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-09-14 15:52:00 UTC
Subject: info needed: furballs, thickened stomach, aberrations, etc.
I tried to send this earlier but it did not appear.
Scooter just had surgery again today. He is our little 4 and 1/2
year old boy who had furballs the first time back in the Spring.
This is the boy who came to us with a deformed hand (two surgeries
corrected it in the past.) and who has never thrived; he is a
couch-potato of a ferret on whom we have to impose exercise, and is
very insistent on grooming everyone -- highly social, though prone to
panics and very sensitive to the moods of those around him. When he
had that furball he had presented in such a way in multiple tests
that they expected to find lymphoma, but liver and nodal biopsies
were fine. The organs had been inflamed by the fur ball. Tooty went
on regular laxative in small amounts.
Shortly afterward he presented with what looked like a Helicobacter
flare-up and responded well to treatment. Then a short while after
that the same loose stool problems showed again and after many tries
over months responded best, but not fully, to continuous Helicobacter
meds, with best response to the Amoxi, Flagyl, and Pepto combo.
Steroids were uneffective, and other Helicobacter routines were
partly effective but to a lesser degree.
Two days ago he had one short and mild bout of vomiting. As soon as
he was held it stopped and he was fine.
Yesterday he began vomiting again, again mildly, but repeatedly. He
also showed frustration, difficulty urinating, pain, and tiredness,
with mild dehydration.
(Please, not that he had no adrenal symptoms at all and that this was
an acute onset. His coat is thick and full and he had behavioral or
other changes that would make a person think of adrenal problems.)
At his emergency vet visit yesterday he needed to have urine removed
by syringe. The urine was healthy urine. After some of the urine was
removed from his bladder -- which had been rock hard -- he was able
to be expressed manually for more urine. Many blood tests were done
(results still unknown by me, except that his blood sugar was fine),
and exploratory surgery scheduled for today.
Today his left adrenal was removed, a large furball again was removed
from his stomach again, his intestine looked fine, a liver biopsy was
I do not know if the left adrenal showed any problems or if it came
out "in case" given that prostate question in relation to most cases
of urinary blockage.
How in the world could Scooter have again formed a furball so rapidly
in just months? We are keeping fleece things away after another
ferret had a furball which was mostly of bedding fleece. (Scooter and
Jumpstart have been our only two ferrets, in 19 years of having
ferrets in the family, to develop furballs.) Are there defects of
digestion or of structure which can lead some individuals being more
likely to develop furballs? Scooter is a couch-potato (but Jumpstart
is still very active and muscular at an older age though he hasn't
jumped over any 2 and 1/2 foot barriers in about 6 months);
never-the-less, can activity level -- as in tendency to sit-around --
contribute to digestive problems as it can in humans?
Okay, just heard from our vet who operated today, assisted by a
second ferret vet for part of it. The left adrenal was large, and
was very hard to reach through very highly vascularized fat. So, he
had a totally asymptomatic adrenal problem (which makes three ferrets
over the years that we have had who were totally asymptomatic -- two
on necropsy and Scooter with his acute prostate inflammation). Right
looked normal though snug up against the Cava. His stomach was
thickened abnormally. A biopsy has been taken from the pyloric
region. Part of his liver looked wrong and that has been biopsied.
The fur ball is out and it was partly blocking him. Nodes were
pulled for testing. Spleen was large but normal otherwise so was
left. He was responding too rapidly and deeply to the Iso so surgery
was ended at that point.