Message Number: YG836 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-06 21:39:00 UTC
Subject: Re: 2 reddish spots and kidney failure, help?

Dear Erin - The red spots that you have noticed are seen fairly
commonly in older ferrets with adrenal disease, as many have
mentioned. This was mentioned in only one article that I have ever
seen, by Danny Scott in the CAnadian Vet Journal, I think.

In my experience, they tend to appear without warning and fade within
days. There is no longstanding pathology from these lesions, and
they are seen largely as a warning sign of adrenal disease. I have
never had the opportunity to biopsy one, as they are benign and
disappear quickly, so I can't tell you what or why they occur.

Regarding renal failure (the same thing as kidney failure), this is
not an esy thing to stage. We depend on bloodwork for relatively
gross trends in the diminishing kidney function. We look at the
levels of certain compounds which are normally excreted by the kidney
(like urea nitrogen and creatinine) which get higher and higher as
the kidney does its job less and less, and the concentration of the
urine, which tends to become more dilute as the kidney fails.

Renal failure is not a painful disease, but it is debilitating, and
as the kidney enters end-stage failure, human patient complain of
malaise and nausea. It is likely that ferrets feel this way as well.

If he is eating and drinking well, then things look good at the
moment. Periodic bloodwork should be done to monitor trends and to
give you some peace of mind that no "surprises" are lurking around
the corner (at least with his kidney function.)

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
Join the Ferret Health List at

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Erin Simkins" <erin.simkins@e...>
> Hello!
> I have a question for anyone who might be able to help. One of my
> old farts named Mondo (actually a foster boy) has two reddish spots
> on his back. They are each between the size of a dime and a
> They look similar to a bruise but I don't know how that would have
> happened. My gut tells me they are not bruises but maybe something
> else instead. I felt them to see if the area was raised or
> and it doesn't appear to be raised at all. I wanted to get a
> of it before I posted but I'm just so eager to know what it is that
> couldn't wait any longer. (I just saw them last night.) Perhaps I
> can post a pic tonight. Does any one know what this could be?
> A little background on him... he's turning 8 years old on April
> I started fostering him last August. He had a bilateral
> adrenalectomy on Dec. 29th as well as the lower lobe of his liver
> removed. He has cysts all over his kidneys and on his liver. At
> time, my vet gave him 4 to 8 months until he goes into kidney
> failure. How do I know when he starts to go into kidney failure?
> it painful for him? What can I do for supportive care without
> prolonging his agony? When it starts to happen, should I help him
> cross the bridge instead? I just don't want him to hurt and I've
> never dealt with kidney failure. (Same as renal failure?) It
> me to know that there's no surgery or medicine I can give him to
> rid of the cysts or cure his disease. That's the worst part about
> all of this... I feel helpless.
> Right now, he is very happy and full of life. I'm treasuring every
> moment I have with him. He's eating and drinking well too. I just
> want to be as informed as possible.
> Any thoughts?
> Thanks for your time everyone...
> Hugs,
> Erin
> PS. Dr. Williams, this is the same little guy I talked to you
> at Toronto with the polycystic kidneys.