Message Number: SG8576 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2004-04-19 20:10:17 UTC
Subject: Mystery Illness
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My two ferrets have fallen mysteriously ill. This has happened once before. Both went catatonic as a result and the vet had little or no hope for their recovery -- but they did get better.

But it's happened again, and I don't know what to do. I have a great exotics vet that's familiar with ferts. They're doing everything they can.

Here's a little about the illness; I'm hoping someone can help me out.

I have two ferrets, one female, two years old, and one male, four. They're both fixed. I feed Totally Ferret (and Marshall's Farms Duk Soup, some paste treats and Ferretone occasionally). I use Yesterday's News or Good Mews (recycled paper pellets) bedding. They are a little behind on their shots, but were current last time this happened so distemper was ruled out. They have not been outside, or had contact with any other ferrets, etc.

They just stop eating, and drinking, and go downhill very quickly, leaving them malnurished, dehydrated, and nearly catatonic. This happens to both at the same time, which makes things like bowel obstructions, cancer, etc. unlikely.

Spike has neurological issues this time, she's curling to one side and won't twist the other way. This morning the vet said she'd been rolling all night, and was nearly corkscrewed when the vet went to check on her.

They are only allowed free in a ferret-proofed room, and we only use non-toxic cleaners (Simple Green). I have checked around their cage many times and I can't find anything they might get into. Last time they underwent a tox screen which came back negative.

There are no lumps or obstructions that the vet can find. CBC panels came back inconclusive last time. Signs of inflammation, but nothing more helpful than that. They're doing a new ferret specific one this time, maybe that will turn something up.

Part of those have come back. Spike's glucose is very high (the vet says that that could be stress). Wiggy's, though, is the opposite -- extremely low. (Low normal is 80, his came back as 10.) The vet said that doesn't fit the clinical picture, though, as he was moderately alert when I brought him in, so she's redoing it.

The vet has said that the best course for Spike, if nothing shows up on the panels that she can treat aggressively, is to put her down. I'm heartbroken but I don't want her to suffer.

I can't think of anything else right now, but please ask if you think some other information will help.

If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.