Message Number: SG415 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2002-07-21 17:04:15 UTC
Subject: RE: Ferret with Allergies
Message-ID: <2033105.1027271055228.JavaMail.root@scandium>

Dr. Williams and Dr. Purcell,
THANK YOU! I appreciate the response....Below are my answers:

> Dear Mary:
> > My questions are these:
> > 1) Will Zeke get proper nutrition from a hypoallergenic food?
> At 7.5 years, he should, but his inflammatory bowel disease may work against
> him at this point. But if he is gaining weight as you say, it is likely
> that he is getting enough nutrition as well.

>From Mary:
That makes sense as he has "reacted" to the hypoallergenic food that I have tried thus far. He is not eating hypoallergenic food now as I can't find one he tolerates. By "react" I mean that his belly turns pink, his paws turn a darker pink(almost red) and he bites his belly and paws. This occurs on and off all day without the antihistamines or pediapred.

> > 2) Zeke does better on the Eukanuba than the Marshall's but reacts to both.
> > I started mixing the Marshall's with the Eukanuba as I had read that only
> > ferret foods will give a ferret the proper nutrition. At this stage of
> > the game....can I just use Eukanuba? Zeke's "droppings" look better when
> > I add Marshall's to the Eukanuba.
> Have your vets suggested the possibility of using a Turkey-based food -
> in ferrets with IBD there is a growing body of knowledge that chicken-based
> foods tend to worsen diarrhea, but turkey-based foods do better. I currently
> use A turkey based baby food for IBD paitents, and if I add any groung
> kibble, then it also is turkey-based. It does seem to help (Thanks again,
> Dr. Purcell!)

Dr. Purcell,
I am on my way out to buy the turkey based food. I will let you know how he does. I will try any thing at this point to make him feel better.

> > 3) Can he eat the baby food cold and how often is he suppose to eat? We've
> > been putting food in an automatic feeder and trying to feed him every 3
> > to 5 hours but Gerber told me that I shouldn't leave their food out longer
> > than an hour. The feeder has an icepack below the food which I've been
> > using. I also am reluctant to leave food out as Zeke eats all of it at
> > once and gets the diarehea.

if he eats well three times a day, you will likely keep weight on him.
> While ferrets naturally eat 4-6 times, there is a reality factor, which
> states that many owners need to work 8 hours a day to buy the baby food.
> Feed him as much as he want a minimum of 3 times a day, and more often
> on weekends or whenever possible. Remember that a 7.5 year old, who doesn't
> eat as much will not have the energy requirments of a young active animal
> and may not necessarily require 4-6 feedings a day.

Dr. Williams,
That helps tremendously. I was worried sick that Zeke would get worse if he was going longer than 5 hours without food. My ferret's vet has never seen anything like what Zeke has and he's as confused as I am. I took Zeke to the teaching hospital at ferret's vet's request and they diagnosed Zeke with food, contact and inhalent allergies and told my vet to take Zeke off the pediapred and give him antihistamines instead(Zeke had weighed in at almost 4lbs and they feel the pediapred was making him feel hungry all the time. He's always begging for food....I have a big ferret, but not that big).

> > 4) When Dr. Williams fed his ferret with IBD 1/2 ferret and 1/2 Gerber's
> > Chicken baby food, how often did he feed the ferret this food and what
> > did he do when he wasn't home to feed him?
> Ah - Mrs. Williams is home to feed the sick ones. We will go every 2 hours
> in acute cases, but our EE ferret today gets two baby food feedings, and
> as he is fairly stable on his medication, he often snacks a bit on kibble
> during the day. But his staple meals are at 9AM and 9 PM, where he chows
> down on the baby food/ground kibble mix - usually at least a jar at a meal.
> I read that the food should
> > be warmed to a little above room temperature(which I do when I am home)
> > but I am not always home to feed him and I am leary of leaving the baby
> > food out for a day unless it's in an automatic feeder with an icepack.
> Chances are that it won't hurt if it is left out a while, but also when
> it is cold or old, it isn't very appetizing, so it is likely he won't eat it.

Dr. Williams,
I understand now. Your wife stays home and is able to feed the very sick ferrets who need to eat every two hours. But Zeke would not be one of those. Zeke can eat minimum of three times a day and be ok. I will feed Zeke a minimum of three times a day as much as he wants. If I am gone for 12 hours, I will leave a feeder with the icepack with just turkey baby food. (He does gobble down the cold baby food, it's amazing, he craves the stuff). I think that when I am home, I will feed him smaller amounts a little more often. I need to get his weight down.

> > 5) Are there medications my ferret can take that would make him less drowsy
> > and would last longer? He has gained a lot of weight recently and I am
> > worried about his health.
> A baby-food diet, for all of the good it does, can make some animals fat,
> especially older non-athletes. However, with the history of itchiness
> and abdominal weight gain, have you considered the possibility of adrenal disease?

Dr. Williams,
I will take Zeke to the WI vet school to inquire about it. It's not just that Zeke itches, he bites himself also. His original vet wanted Zeke on the both the pediapred and antihistamines(when the Vet school said to switch to antihistamines) in case the antihistamines didn't work. Zeke gained another pound to 4 lbs. He still reacts to food, the grass outside etc but the reactions seem to be more sporadic since they are weening him off the pred.

My ferret would be dead had I not found your pathology web site and read about IBD and feeding a sick ferret. You do A LOT of good for others and I and Zeke can't thank you enough.

PS(I am moving and trying to get on the computer as often as possible these next two weeks but I will check again....Thanks).