Message Number: SG18515 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2006-10-23 16:09:46 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] RE: missing the litterbox and crying

The pain while urinating still sounds like possible prostate problems secondary to adrenal disease since he is being attacked but the vet should ALSO check for other possible causes such as
urinary tract infection

In relation to the second there are TWO different types of stones that ferrets usually get and those have OPPOSITE medical and nutritional approaches so it is essential to know which type. On rare occasion more unusual stones stones show up.

Of the two uroliths historically the more common has been struvite and with struvite stones the urine is too alkaline and the ferret needs less plant matter and more meat in the diet (and sometimes an acidifier)

In recent years with higher protein foods given more often cystine stones are on the increase and with those the urine is too acidic (the opposite of the last stone type described) and the ferret is unable to handle larger amounts of any of four amino acids (building blocks of protein) so the protein levels have to be cut back. Luckily, most seem to do fine on a diet of not more than about 35% protein, but on very rare occasion medications have been needed. These are discussed in the FHL Archives (which are hosted separately from the FHL) and Doctors Tom Kawaski and Mike Dutton have each handled one such case successfully if their journal articles or consultation become needed. (Finding help to treat unresponsive cystine stones in ferrets is hard so this info is like gold to have upfront.)

If cystine stones are found there is a study of these stones in ferrets on-going so in that case your vet should contact
Michelle Hawkins VMD Dipl. ABVP (Avian Practice)
Assistant Professor
Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Service
VM: Medicine and Epidemiology
2108 Tupper Hall
University of CA, Davis
Davis, CA 95616
530.752.1363 (ph)

(The team is looking into dietary factors, genetic factors (in humans and some other mammals there is one which has been known about for a long time and several others found more recently in people which are less common so there are multiple possible genetic routes in mammals in general, etc.

If this team leader, Dr. Hawkins, sounds familiar they are also doing the genetic work into vulnerability to endocrinological work. On the FML a link
was recently posted to an adrenal disease article by Dr. Johnson-Delaney which also mentioned a pers. com with Dr. Hawkins and the MEN (Multiple Endocrinological Neoplasia) portion of the study, and she has been mentioned before. They may have final results as early as next year some time if all goes well, and if not then later...)

BTW, do NOT clean up ferret bathroom mistake with ammonia if you have ever done that. It smells like super urine so serves to increase the accident rate of any members of carnivora.

-- Sukie (not a vet, and not speaking for any of the below in my private posts)
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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