Message Number: FHL2996 | New FHL Archives Search
From: ferretgm
Date: 2007-11-12 02:35:17 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] dry heaves, lethargy- blockage?

I have a 4-pound, 2-year-old male ferret that had been in excellent health. He turned two in July-ish, I think. He's typically had extremely high energy levels until about a month ago, at which time he started slowing down noticeably. As an example, instead of insisting that i get up at 4AM to give him his chicken baby food, followed by an hour of running around the house knocking things over and diving through his tunnels, he wakes me up at 6-ish, hangs out with me while I get ready, and sometimes plays a little with one of the other ferrets before going back to bed around 9:30 AM. I put it down to the typical overall energy drop I've experienced with ferrets around that age in the past.

Last week, I noticed a few days where he'd kind of hiccup, almost like his stomach heaved. The heave/hiccup would end in a little cough, a short "kak" sound. It seemed to subside by the end of the week, although he seemed more tired than usual, so I thought perhaps he was just that he's about to shed (his fur feels a bit rough, the way ferret fur sometimes does right before they blow coat), and didn't worry about it.

Today he had normal stool in the morning (normal color, semi-liquid, but that's normal when he's had a bunch of baby food), but an hour ago, he started having violent heaves. They were nonproductive, and accompanied by a lot of stomach gurgling. For about 30 minutes after the heaving stopped, he tried to lie down and sleep in various places, but was obviously uncomfortable and kept moving from place to place. He seems extremely exhausted - he can barely keep his eyes open even when he clearly wants to. He doesn't seem dehydrated. He had normal urine output just after all the heaving. He shouldn't be starving - he did eat about a jar of chicken baby food this morning, as well as a few treats this afternoon.

I wonder if he hasn't somehow gotten a partial blockage. I can't think of anything else that would account for the symptoms.

If you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate it; the vet we're seeing right now is very busy, and I would like to have some suggestions for him if possible. (Our old vet at that office retired, and this one will see my ferrets because I have been going to that clinic so long, and he knows a lot about them, honestly, but they aren't taking new ferret patients, so I'd like to find a vet that really sees quite a lot of them. I have been looking for another vet, but I don't think tomorrow's the day to try to get him in to see a new vet when I can have him in the office being taken care of at 8:30 AM tomorrow.).

Any suggestions welcome.
Thanks in advance!

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