Date: 2003-01-19 20:47:24 UTC
Subject: ASAP: sudden death 3 ferrets - poison?
this situation happened overnight at one of our foster homes. the home is older with a gas furnace (not sure which type of gas yet) and they've definitely had uneven heating; thus the window in the ferrets room is always cracked.
the ferrets had playtime out in the house, where ferrets have lived for 3+ years now (not to mention countless dogs and a toddler human) overnight thursday. mom's life got to busy so they weren't able to have playtime friday or saturday. saturday morning at 10am mom freshened water and food and tidied the cage. all three woke up and greeted mom. she didn't see them again until 7 am this morning.
huck was a 4 year old who had adrenal surgery earlier this year. his results were not extrodinairy, just "normal" adrenal disease, treated with cryo surgery.
minnie had adrenal disease but we decided not to do surgery. she was extremely tiny and though she ate like a horse, she was still micro. she was about 5.
blossom was 3-4 and had adrenal surgery last winter. again, nothing spectacular. she had returned to apparent great vigor; she was a very spunky lady.
the ferrets ate our house blend o' chow and were being fed from the usual receptacle. the two adult humans, the 3 year old human, 6 dogs and all the ferrets all drink the same tap water. nothing had been added to the ferrets environment this past week at all: usual treats, etc. they were not out for playtime in any new areas.
this morning all 3 were dead. minnie was in the hammock. she had blood around her nose and mouth and a pool of blood underneath her, which appeared to have come out of her back end. can't say how much yet, havent' seen the hammie. minnie was white in color.
blossom and huck were curled up together. blossom had a small amount of blood out of her nose/mouth adn she and huck were purple in color.
my first thought was "canary in the coal mine." they are by far teh smallest critters in the home, after all. could this be carbon monoxide? mom's going to pick up a detector today. could there be enough in the home to simultaneously kill all the ferrets but not harm the humans, at least not that we know of? if not carbon monoxide, then what? the home would never use mothballs, rat poison, etc...they have too many critters and a toddler. ?????
at this point i haven't spoken with my vet so i'll ask in advance for what type of autopsy to do, what to look for, what type of samples to take, etc. etc. has anyone had any kind of experience like this? we are devastated at the news of course, but i must say i'm also afraid tomorrow i'm going to hear of other trouble with crittes and humans in the home...if it were me i'd be out of teh house! one friend also mentioned the trouble with black mold. ??? the home certainly doesn't know if any such danger is present. ???
thx for any advice anyone can offer!