Message Number: FHL3036 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Sukie Crandall"
Date: 2007-11-14 21:02:05 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: eggs

--- In, "suesferrets" <nutty.dogs@...> wrote:
> just asking if anyone else has ferrets that are sick after eating egg
> ,i have always given my ferrets eggs every so often mixed with cat
> milk for a treat but just recently one of mine is sick after having
> egg so she justs have the milk

She'd be better off on a more ferret friendly diet if these are principal
components of the diet.

There are several ways that eggs can cause illness in ferrets, but first
let me say that they tends to have very high quality protein.

If the eggs are raw infection risk goes up. Ironically, one of the ways
to deal with one type of infection (salmonella) involves a cleaning
process which strips the outer layer of the shell away, making it more
permeable to other infections -- which is why when i was a kid we'd
just leave the eggs we gathered out on the counter and eat them within
a day or two, but grocery eggs must be refrigerated.

Intolerance could occur, as could allergy, or the ferret might be having
problems processing so rich a food item.

There are also two types of dietary nutritional disorders which can be
caused by raw eggs: biotin and thiamine problems.
(In fact, I think that one vet text has an editing
error that got one of these wrong, but don't count on me to be right on
that score because I can't clearly recall the error so it might have been
in relation to something else.)

in which I garnered info from perhaps the most detailed of ferret vet texts
on nutritional things:


According to _Biology and Diseases of the Ferret, 2nd edition_ raw
eggs have caused not only salmonella risks and Biotin deficiency in
ferrets, but also can cause Thiamine deficiency. See page 168.=20
Symptoms vary from lethargy and anorexia to worse symptoms with
advances cases, even convulsions.

A more common cause of Thiamine deficiency in ferrets has been diets
high in fish species that contain high levels of Thiaminase.

Some info on biotin (which already came up in discussion) and raw
eggs since the question came up whether raw worsens the Biotin
deficiency risk (answer is yes):


is an important B-complex vitamin that's found in both the whites and
yolks of raw eggs. Not all of this biotin is availability to our body
when a
raw egg is eaten, however, because there is another substance found
in raw egg whites - called avidin - that binds together with biotin and
prevents it from being absorbed from our digestive tracts. The best way
to prevent this lowering of biotin availability is to cook the egg
whites. The
cooking of an egg will destroy the binding power of avidin so that
the biotin
in the egg will become much more available...



...Because raw egg white contains the biotin-binding protein avidin,
large amounts of raw eggs to dogs has the potential to cause a biotin
deficiency.37 Although uncommon, this could pose a problem for owners
who insist on supplementing their pet=92s daily diet with raw eggs.
Signs of
biotin deficiency include scabby skin lesions, hair loss, and pruritus.
Depigmentation and dulling of coat color has also been seen in
biotin-deficient mink and foxes.38...



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