Message Number: FHL4865 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "melkbordner"
Date: 2008-05-07 10:26:42 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] vomitting, diarrhea, weight loss, skin lesions, left leg weakness

Hello all,

I just typed this really long post and hit something and lost it all.
Grrrr :sigh:

I have concerns about my (MF) neutered 5 yd old male ferret, Tommie.

The vet I use is ferret knowledgeable but not an expert. I have taken
my kids 4 hours one way to Dr [Removed as per FHL rules] in VA. And
my local vet will consult with him when warranted.

About 2 years ago Tommie had an episode where he *passed out*. But
all BG readings were well within the normal range. The after that he
seemed to fall at times and flatline often. The vet really didn't
pursue nor think insulinoma. And in my opinion what he did was
*different* than my kids who had insulinoma.

I think it was about Feb this year he had a BG curve test which he
was within the normal limits. I think the last one was at the high
end of the low stage. I hope that made sense. Either way the vet
ruled out insulinoma.

Leading up to BG curve test Tommie has been having more frequent
episodes of his legs giving out and overall weakness. It seems to
mostly be his rear left leg that gives out. He has also been
flatlining more often like every few feet and it is like he sighs
when he flatlines.

He has had on/off diarrhea since the middle of last year. Alot of his
stools were mucousy and dark brown and tarry at times. And when it
was pure liquid, the color was generally very dark brown.

I have two ferrets. Peanut my other kid is also MF spayed female
about 5 1/2 yr old. Her poops have NEVER been *normal*. They were
near pencil thin alot of times but the vets (several had seen her)
all seemed to think this is normal for her. Well since about the same
time as Tommie, she too started getting loose dark brown tarry
stools, but she seemed healthy other than that and being blind.

I lost two ferts within 2 months of each other last year. And they
seemed to go into depression. So I passed it off as that as did the
vet. Macie and Treeroo are who passed on, they had lymphoma but their
poops were tarry near the end too.

It was around Feb this year Tommie drastically lost weight but seemed
his *normal* self as far as play etc. He was ALWAYS 2 lbs 12 oz
occasionally topping 3 lbs during winter seasons. He got down to 2
lbs 4 oz in a VERY short period of time. X-rays and blood work were
done. Both pretty much normal. (Please forgive me for not listing the
blood values as I have a BAD headache but NEED to get this message
out ASAP for Tommie has taken a turn for the worse.) I do recall
there was indication his liver was inflamed or infected so he was put
on Prednisolone. Prior to this, his diarrhea had gotten worse so he
was put on Metronidazole and something else (escapes my mind now) for
two weeks. Seemed to clear it up.

Then the diarrhea came back and that is about when the weight loss
seemed to occur. I was giving round clock Gerber Chicken and Turkey
baby food feedings. The vet put him on Metronidazole for possibly
long term and suggested giving him heavy whipped cream to help fatten
him up even though it would possibly worsen the diarrhea. So I did
that. And within hours of giving it to him, he would vomit!!! So I
stopped the cream immediately. The vet put him on Metoclopramide and
AD canned food. So I mixed the baby food and AD together. I have been
giving nightly baby food as a *treat* since my first ferret got sick
so that would give them extra nutrients and also make it easier for
them to eat if/when they would get sick.

Around Feb this year I realized he was no longer eating ANY Totally
Ferret food. He used to ALWAYS be eating. I know he was not eating TF
food at all because I isolated him and counted the pieces and also
counted Peanut's and she too had not eaten any kibble, but she was
not losing weight like Tommie. I passed that off as she was stressed
by not having her cage mate with her so she didn't eat???

When Tommie eats kibble, he chomps VERY loudly which I find abnormal.
It is like he is grinding or scraping his teeth together and making a
I don't know how to describe it but a screeching noise??? I believe
they slowly stopped eating TF around the time of Macie and Treeroo
passing. I would be throwing away what I thought was alot of food
after it was in their bowl a few days BUT I thought that was because
I no longer had alot of ferrets. I had 9 at one time and slowly lost
them over recent years.

It wasn't until this past week I also realized that it was about the
time Macie and Treeroo passed away that I got a new 15 lb bag of
Totally Ferret food. They stopped eating as much and getting diarrhea
more often. I thought it was depression because you could tell by
their actions they were stressed over losing their buddies so close

So this past Sunday I got a NEW bag of TF food and slowly Tommie
started eating it again. He wasn't too sure at first. But I am happy
to report I have been hearing his chomping. I isolated him and
counted the pieces. I had put 66 in and he had approx 15 left later
that day. WOOHOO!!!

Has anyone else noticed their ferrets not eating TF food recently?
Did they change the ingredients?
I have a little over 12 LBS from 15 lbs left of TF food from Aug last year!
I put their food in a tightly sealed storage bin so I no longer have the bag
it came in.

Tommie has also been getting SKIN LESIONS since about Aug last year.
They get really bloody and scabbed over. The vet gave me Tresaderm
which seemed to clear them up pretty quickly. At that time he had 2
lesions; 1 on one of his rear legs and the other on the opposite
front leg. Then a few months later he got one on the back of his
upper part of his neck / bottom of his head area. I think he also had
one on the side of the trunk of his body. He has had several
recurrences on the head area pretty much at the same spot. They look
like sores. I noticed a few started out as a pimple. Then they would
bleed and get ugly looking.

Tommie and Peanut do not fight so I know it is not a bite wound.
Peanut also had one lesion shortly after Tommie had his first ones.
But since she only had one recurrence that I noticed.

This past Sunday I noticed Tommie vomited 3 times shortly after
feeding him his *soup mixture* (baby food and AD). And it looked just
like the soup so it didn't even digest any. Oh I just started mixing
his meds in his *soup* because I HATE scruffing them. Would that
cause him to vomit?? I wouldn't think so. It is the Prednisolone and
Metronidazole both mixed with Ferretone. I had some Metoclopramide
left so I gave him some of that and isolated him. He did eat and

Tuesday I noticed he was trying to vomit. He is so polite, he goes to
the litter to vomit. But I didn't see anything that came up. I put
him by himself and he seemed fine the rest of the day. AND he had his
first VERY normal looking poop in a long time. That formed lighter
brown color. So I put him back with Peanut and during the night he
seemed to be at it again only this time I didn't see him but he was
up and looked all roughed up (hair standing out like it is rough)
like he does afterwards. Then I let them out because he seemed
agitated and determined to get out. I had got up to go to the
bathroom and couldn't get back to sleep from worry so I figure why
not let them out at 3 am.

He seemed very agitated and kept going from litter box to litter box.
I gave them just the baby food this time and I noticed something that
scared the crap out of ME even ~ Tommie had an *accident* while
eating. He had poop all over his little but and tail and the floor.
So I cleaned him up which he was NOT too happy about. Then he went to
the litter and pooped VERY runny dark brown. (What happened within 24
hrs of that NORMAL stool????) And when he got out of the litter he
scooted his lil butt across a LONG section of the floor. I picked him
up and he didn't seem *sore*. It may have been slightly pink but I
thought from me cleaning him which I rubbed gently and he didn't have
any part of his rectum protruding outward.

Occasionally I will give him NBone (in the pink bag) as a treat which
he LOVES SO MUCH he has fought other ferrets trying to steal his
stick. SCREAMING mad fight!!! Well I gave him one Sunday and he kept
running around with it which he sometimes does. To find that special
secure place to eat. Only he did not eat it. He just lay there beside
it. He did eat it later.

I hope I got everything. My head is getting worse and having trouble
thinking. But I am desperate to get any suggestions that I can take
to the vet today!!!

I will go without to help Tommie!! He is my baby!! He
follows me everywhere and it would seriously kill me to lose him. I
had one other ferret with whom I bonded so deeply with, Fred. I lost
him May 29 2005 and I seriously got sick and thought I would die
myself!! I collapsed on the vets floor and just sobbed!! I cried
EVERY day for about 3 months and still do! I can't bare to go through
that again!!

Anyway...Thank you for reading and I am sorry this got long. I am
trying to describe everything wrong with Tommie and hope I didn't
miss anything.

Melanie &
Tommie and Peanut

[Moderator: poster included some private details that she might wind
up thinking twice about later so those were edited out and posters
can learn those privately if she chooses to share that way. Let's just
say that she needs to get the most bang for the buck from whatever
testing is done for financial reasons.]


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