Message Number: SG2886 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Pam Sessoms
Date: 2003-01-09 18:26:29 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] Opinion on Brain Damage
Message-ID: <>

> I cut off a velvet pants leg, making a wide strap and put it under
> Melissa's body, raising her up and allowing her legs to raech the ground
> comfortably and she could walk. Actually she was scooting around really
> fast (providing I am holding her up). My question is could she still be
> weak and this is just helping? OR could this be a sign of brain damage
> because she can not get around by herself?

I don't think that this necessarily means that she has brain damage.
Ferrets who are ill from any cause are very often weak in the hind end,
and making support slings like you did to take some of their weight and
stabilize them a bit will allow them to travel around quite well. This
can happen with any serious ferret illness but of course insulinoma is a
big one because it makes them so weak from the low blood sugar. I'd be
more worried about brain damage if the seizures continued or if she's
having signs such as nystagmus (the eyes move involuntarily, rapidly,
jerkily) or walking in circles or even apparent sudden blindness. My vet
told me once about a ferret who had brain damage, probably from not
getting enough oxygen during a surgery - this was somehow confirmed by
histopath on the brain tissue - and he was seizuring and had nystagmus and
was a real mess.

In another post you asked:

> Is there any reason why I shouldn't assume for the next day or 2 that
> her glucose is up to normal if I am feeding her constantly and giving
> her prednisone?

Unfortunately, I don't think you can really assume that... It can
sometimes be pretty hard to bring a really severe insulinomic back into a
normal range with meds and feeding. The supportive care and meds are
great, but it can take time, and the tumor might be pumping out more
insulin than you can easily defeat. I don't recall when the pred was
started, but in my limited experience, it starts helping some with the
first dose, but it takes around 2 or 3 full days of proper administration
to see where that dosage will get you.

I'd definitely suggest getting her checked again when you can to help
figure out what's going on, how to adjust the meds, etc. It might also
help you figure out if anything else is going on, if you see that her
blood sugar is indeed back up in the normal range. Maybe that whole
chemistry panel can get re-run. However, if the blood for a full panel
will have to sit around for processing, it might not hurt to do the blood
sugar first and separately - you can get falsely low blood sugars if the
samples sit for too long.

Continued healing thoughts,

-Pam S. (not a vet)