Message Number: YG7331 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-09-19 06:43:00 UTC
Subject: Re: back injuries

We have some human friends who have a similar problem in
their family (except it's the cervical spine) and for them it is
genetic but does not show up in handicaps till they are 40 or
older. The surgery is extremely tricky for them and only partly
successful. The father and both of the sons have it.

I guess what I am saying is that such thickenings can be genetic
in humans, and multiple members of that line have abnormal
gaits, so they others need to be watched closely and there
needs to be serious thought given by the breeder(s) to culling
that genetic line. It could be a terrible thing to pass along.

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Jacqueline Snyder <SNYDER@G...>
> We recently euthanized a ferret who had a degenerative spinal
condition. I
> posted to the FHL last summer on it, when his problem
appeared. In a
> nutshell, a previously healthy ferret suddenly began losing
control of his
> back legs. This ataxia spread upward so that he eventually lost
bladder and
> bowel control. By the end, he was facing infections due to the
> to urinate.
> When the loss of control first appeared, we tested him for a
variety of
> possible causes--viral, bacterial, trauma, etc. (bloodwork,
> spinal tap, myelogram). His fifth lumbar vertebra was slightly
> and dye would not move past it in the myelogram. The situation
was somewhat
> confused because another of our ferrets developed a hind end
weakness at
> the same time, but that turned out to be unrelated. However,
we did
> determine that three half siblings (various related mothers and
one father)
> appeared to also have a very slightly abnormal gait and the vet
felt there
> was some degree of spinal abnormality in each of them. In
short, we felt it
> was a genetic problem. In any case, the only treatment was
steroids, which
> seemed to make the ferret more comfortable. Surgery to open
up the ferret's
> spine and find and repair whatever was wrong was beyond the
capability of
> anyone in our area.
> The vet performed a necropsy and sent slides to a pathologist.
The ferret's
> spine was abnormally thick and the spinal cord was severely
> This explained the loss of function. The pathologist concluded
that the
> damage was due to earlier trauma. The vet, however,
disagrees and still
> feels it was due to a birth defect.
> This ferret, and his siblings, had been bred to have a short
'baby' face
> and a wide, stocky body. He was indeed an adorable ferret, but
it seems
> highly likely to me that breeding for the short face inadvertantly
> bred for the spine defect.