Message Number: SG16040 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2005-11-22 15:45:24 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] 3 Ferrets, Elevated Liver Enzymes, High Red Blood Cell Count, Helicobacter?

I am desperate for feedback/opinions. I have two very sick ferrets and lost one which could not be saved. I have two others with no symptoms - yet. I am terrified.

Our Boo first went into a sudden decline. She was our elderly
sweetheart that had been battling Insulinoma and adrenal disease for the past two years. She took a sudden downfall, her insulin levels/glucose levels were uncontrollable. By the time my husband and I found her, she had so many cuts where she clawed her mouth. With many tears, I made the decision to put her to sleep a few days later after we believed all medical options were exhausted. She was pretty much comatose. My decision was based entirely on the diagnosis the cancer was finally to much for her to endure. She was beyond the point of any hope for recovery.

A few days after her death, our 3.5 year old (Cid) became violently ill. He started gagging and pawing at the mouth and was immediately taken to the emergency clinic. At first, he was suspected of a blockage. After 2 days when x-rays and a barrium test proved negative, he was diagnosed with a Helicobacter infection. His red blood cell count came back at 61. Followed by 60 the next day. The vet thought perhaps the results were related to dehydration and even ran a couple of extra tests questioning if there was some malfunction in his equipment. Cid experienced hind end weakness and a rapid loss of weight & muscle mass. At one point, he could barely stand.

I asked the vet if it would be necessary to treat our other ferrets (3.5 years, 1 year, and 8 weeks) with preventative antibiotics. I was told no, that the infection is normal flora in the gi tract and not a transmission risk.

After seeming to "bounce back" 10 days later, Cid's rbc count was down to 58 after Amoxicillin/Flagyll treatment (still WAY above normal). His last visit to the vet was on Saturday morning. He is eating by himself and seems back to his normal, playful self. He has since gained weight and appears to be improving. The vet felt we should give him a month then run another blood test to monitor the red blood cell count and treat him accordingly from there.

By Sunday evening, our 1 year old was listless and declining fast. He too, began to experience hind end weakness, complete loss of appetite, and was in bad shape. Blood work Monday revealed this liver enzymes were elevated to a critical level, he had a possible liver infection, and his diagnosis was also a suspected helicobacter infection.

Here is his blood work taken yesterday:

Mascot Hematology Profile
WBC 7.50
NE 2.34 *low 2.5-12.8 normal
LY 4.57
MO 0.35
EO 0.19
BA 0.05

NE 31.18 LW3
LY 60.95 * high 20-55 normal
MO 4.68
EO 2.56 WS
BA 0.61
NBRC "rare"

RBC (ml/uL) 9.21
Hb (g/dL) 19.3 *High polycythemia *Severe
HCT (%) 43.3
MCV (fl) 47 *High
MCHC (g/dL) 44.6 *High *Severe
RDW (fL) 19.5 *High Anisocytosis

PLT (K/uL) 753 *Severe *Thrombocytosis
PMV 7.8

ALB 4.9 (2.2-4.4 normal)G/DL
ALP 90 (10-90 normal) U/L
ALT 642 (****20-100 normal) U/L
AMY 14 (300-1100 normal)U/L
CA++ 7.9 (8.0-11.8 normal)MG/DL
PHOS 3.1 (3.4 - 8.5 normal)MG/DL
NA+ 146 MMOI/L
K+ 4.6 MMOI/L
TP 5.2 (5.4-8.2 normal)G/DL
GLOB 0.3 (1.5-5.7 normal)G/DL

I am begging for feedback as to the prognosis or even a similiar
experience. I am still shocked to comprehend how this was
originally deemed not contagious. I am just praying our other two (and one is only 8 weeks old) do not contract this illness.
Thankfully, the vet agreed to preventative antibiotics for the other two.

Also, does anyone have any feedback concerning the heliobacter test available from ? I
don't mean to sound negative, but I am terrified to risk
a "probable" diagnosis given how critically ill 3 of my ferrets have become in such a short time frame. If the test could give a better basis or rule out the heliobacter infection, it would give me more confidence than a "possible" diagnosis.

Please, offer any feedback/suggestions. I am absolutely terrified.


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