Message Number: SG17970 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2006-07-24 17:04:29 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] RE: generic malais,sever dyhidration

Well, the person did NOT post about any diarrhea and remember that if the i=
nflammation from ECE is bad enough to cause other symptoms then it very muc=
h is bad enough to cause its primary symptom of diarrhea. So, I doubt that=
ECE is involved.

In relation to severe enteritis, diarrhea, and learning:

We personally went a year after ECE presented in household before we went a=
nywhere near other ferrets because some documents mention an "at least 8 mo=
nth" viral shedding period, so we decided to just be safest for others.

Subcutaneous fluids were essential for some of ours and when we learned aft=
er the fact that one had kidney problems despite that it became a hind-sigh=
t realization that he should have had IV for a while, but it was not possib=
le to tell at the time despite excellent and daily vet care during that ver=
y rough patch to save his life.

*****It is a disease that all should learn about though.***** =

Since there is the *****possibility that it may be on some other continents=
***** now (Study of specimens underway to see if they are ECE.) it would be=
a good thing for people who are not in North America to read about it in d=
epth. Also, in the U.S. it tends to present in waves, so it is good for pe=
ople in North America who have not seen it in while to refresh themselves. =
(One problem here is that too many people have termed other milder causes =
of diarrhea "ECE" so could easily be caught off-guard by the real thing, wh=
ich is a severe disease.)

Here is a past post from 2003 mentioning appearance in waves in regions by =
one of the greatest experts on this disease:


Actually, coronaviruses aren't know for their predilection to mutate, such =
as we see with influenza viruses (of a different family, the Pramyxoviridae=
). There are many variables that determine whether a particular animal will=
become clinically ill, subclinically infected, or fight off infection. Age=
, previous infection, maternal antibody, and concurrent disease are some of=
them. =

It is well known that young animals are rarely clinically infected with the=
coronavirus that causes ECE, but can be carriers for up to 6-8 months. Cor=
onaviruses appear to infect more readily in animals with a higher gastric p=
H, and the prevlaence of H. mustelae infection in older ferrets supports th=
e higher frequency of clinical infection in this demographic. Additionally,=
many kits have maternal antibody, as quite a few breeders have endemic ong=
oing infections (facilities in which clinical animals become extremely rare=
over time.) So it is of no surprise that the young animal is perfectly fin=
e while the three older ferrets are experiencing ECE firsthand. =

Currently, there appear to be a number of ongoing ECE outbreaks, far more t=
han we have seen in recent years. It is likley that this may become the sta=
tus quo - seeing hotbeds of infection every couple of yers as immunity in t=
he animals of a particular area begins to wane. =

With kindest regards, =

Bruce Williams, DVM =


Here is a write up by Dr. Bruce Williams who is the veterinary pathologist =
who first identified the causative coronavirus and has studied it in extrem=

Here are two abstracts from veterinary journals on this disease:


J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000 Aug 15;217(4):526-30. Links
Coronavirus-associated epizootic catarrhal enteritis in ferrets.

Williams BH, Kiupel M, West KH, Raymond JT, Grant CK, Glickman LT.
Department of Veterinary Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Wa=
shington, DC 20306-6000, USA.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize clinical signs and lesions and identify the etio=
logic agent associated with epizootic catarrhal enteritis in domestic ferre=
ts. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. ANIMALS: 119 ferrets with epizootic diar=
rhea of presumed viral cause and 5 control ferrets. PROCEDURE: Clinical rec=
ords and biopsy or necropsy specimens of ferrets with presumed epizootic ca=
tarrhal enteritis were reviewed. Immunohistochemical staining for coronavir=
us antigen was performed on paraffin-embedded tissues from approximately 10=
% of affected ferrets to identify viral antigen and determine its distribut=
ion. Transmission electron microscopy was performed on fecal samples and se=
ctions of jejunum. Virus isolation studies as well as immunofluorescent tes=
ts for other similar viruses were performed. RESULTS: Characteristic micros=
copic lesions consistent with intestinal coronavirus infection (vacuolar de=
generation and necrosis of villus enterocytes; villus atrophy, fusion, and =
blunting; and lymphocytic enteritis) were consistently detected in affected=
ferrets. Coronavirus particles were identified in feces and jejunal entero=
cytes by use of transmission electron microscopy. Immunohistochemical stain=
ing of jejunal sections revealed coronavirus antigens. Antigen staining was=
not detected in healthy ferrets or ferrets with other gastrointestinal tra=
ct diseases. Virus isolation was unsuccessful, and other similar viruses we=
re not detected. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results strongly impli=
cate a coronavirus as the causative agent of epizootic catarrhal enteritis =
in ferrets. Diagnosis may be made on the basis of a combination of historic=
al, clinical, and microscopic findings.
PMID: 10953717 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Virology. 2006 May 25;349(1):164-74. Epub 2006 Feb 24. Links
Molecular characterization of a novel coronavirus associated with epizootic=
catarrhal enteritis (ECE) in ferrets.

Wise AG, Kiupel M, Maes RK.
Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, Lansing, MI 48909, USA.=

A novel coronavirus, designated as ferret enteric coronavirus (FECV), was i=
dentified in feces of domestic ferrets clinically diagnosed with epizootic =
catarrhal enteritis (ECE). Initially, partial sequences of the polymerase, =
spike, membrane protein, and nucleocapsid genes were generated using corona=
virus consensus PCR assays. Subsequently, the complete sequences of the nuc=
leocapsid gene and the last two open reading frames at the 3' terminus of t=
he FECV genome were obtained. Phylogenetic analyses based on predicted part=
ial amino acid sequences of the polymerase, spike, and membrane proteins, a=
nd full sequence of the nucleocapsid protein showed that FECV is geneticall=
y most closely related to group 1 coronaviruses. FECV is more similar to fe=
line coronavirus, porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus, and canine c=
oronavirus than to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and human coronavirus 22=
9E. Molecular data presented in this study provide the first genetic eviden=
ce for a new coronavirus associated with clinical cases of ECE.
PMID: 16499943 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Now that the coronavirus's genome is known it may become possible to develo=
p a test which can be widely available, and perhaps even a vaccine. Since =
ECE can possibly set the stage for later IBD, which can be fatal when prono=
unced and painful even when not, and the chronic irritation of IBD itself m=
ight set the stage for later GI malignancy possible future prevention is a =
wonderful goal.

Remember that information and useful product options change over time so lo=
ok at dates.

Also useful for anyone learning about ECE:
and there certainly are more in the archives

At this point in time the veterinary staff of any large ferret farm in the =
U.S. knows about ECE, though the front desk people may not always.

-- Sukie (not a vet, and not speaking for any of the below in my private po=
Recommended health resources to help ferrets and the people who love them:
Ferret Health List
FHL Archives
AFIP Ferret Pathology
International Ferret Congress Critical References



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