Message Number: FHL5706 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Vicki Montgomery
Date: 2008-07-31 13:45:00 UTC
Subject: RE: [ferrethealth] Re: ferret advice

I read Sukie's reply to your original post. I do understand you being a bit=
off balance from being told that you may have more ferrets than you can af=
ford, but please consider that you said you only make $10/hr and that you c=
an't afford high costs. Also if the vets in your area charge high fees the =
question of how many you can afford to keep well could be related to that i=
ssue,=A0high cost,=A0rather than how much you earn per hour. In Houston we =
have vets that charge $350 per adrenal gland removal surgery and other vets=
that charge over $1000 for the same surgery. It's their business and they =
can charge what they want to - whether the area citizens can support their =
costs and whether they will support those costs will determine if the docto=
rs continue to charge those costs. Sukie, in my opinion, was just trying to=
let you know that if you can't afford the costs, which I believe you said =
or at least suggested that you can't, then she was right -- maybe not what =
you'd like to hear - I can certainly understand, but there you have it. Hon=
esty without malice.
The lack of hair regrowth on your ferret's neck could be illness, but I wou=
ld think it more likely the time of year (season) that the neck was shaved.=
I get into rescue many ferrets that look very much alike. To tell them apa=
rt I will shave a patch of hair in one place or another. Sometimes the patc=
h lasts for several months and other times it regrows and the bald spot dis=
appears more quickly. We are in the middle of summer. Shedding season, for =
the most part, is over and regrowth can be slower. I wouldn't worry about h=
is shaved spot yet. If there is not coverage after the fall shed and winter=
coat growth then I would worry. But by all means watch his behavior and ph=
ysical condition.
As for adrenal hair loss - the most common places I see bald patches appear=
are at the base of the tail over the hips and on the back of the neck. It =
is not merely sparse but a bald as a baby's bottom and smooth patch that wi=
ll extend up the back and down the sides, etc. if the tumorous gland is not=
removed or if the ferret is not given Lupron and melatonin to treat the di=
Now for your little lady who lost a vast amount of hair all at once.. does =
she still have her undercoat? If so she only lost her guard hairs - It soun=
ds to me like she simply blew her coat... she has shed late in the season a=
nd it all fell out at once. While I don't think this is common I have heard=
of several ferrets blowing their coats (and dogs as well) and I have had 2=
who did that here with me. This is also not a problem - it'll grow back. N=
ow if she has bald spots that=A0could be=A0a problem. Like Sukie said there=
are many reasons a ferret can loose hair. Now I know you're proud of the f=
oods you feed, but keep in mind they are high carb foods and not really the=
very best for an obligate carnivore. Time and research will tell us if the=
foods we feed are causing the problems, including insulinoma or not - I th=
ink so, but that's just my opinion and I digress....
Finally as for home diagnosis - with experience people do come to know or b=
elieve they know what ails their pets when certain symptoms appear. So to a=
degree yes you can home diagnose, but to treat at home for certain ailment=
s in my opinion is irresponsible and may be criminal. If your ferret has sa=
y the flu and you know how to treat it then fine as long as you really are =
treating it properly - control of mucus, keeping the ferret well hydrated a=
nd nourished. I had one who came in with a bad case of earmites and I immed=
iately thought insulinoma - staggering, head tilting... took him to the vet=
and was I relieved to find out it's earmites. By using Revolution regulari=
ly I control that situation - so I treat that at home. BUT if your ferret h=
ad cardiomyopathy to try to treat that at home may be, no=A0IS,=A0dangerous=
for the ferret and again neglectful ergo criminal. I know of no home remed=
y for adrenal tumors or lymphoma, or a massive infection - say a
helicobacter infection. I can treat a bite or scratch without vet support.=
.. so you really have to weigh what you are dealing with and if you can't k=
now for sure what the ailment is then=A0it's best to have a doctor that you=
trust and can afford handle the situation. If there's not one in your town=
, maybe there is one nearby. I drive from 50 miles to 250 miles depending o=
n which vet I use for which ailment - it's a personal choice - just like se=
lecting a pediatrician or personal physician.
After 15-20 years of ownership I would think that you would have experience=
seeing symptoms and having them verified by the vet - so you should have s=
ome idea of common diseases.
Oh there is one more thing. Diagnosis of an ailment is dependent upon which=
tests are run, and WHEN they are run. For instance Coccidia blooms in cycl=
es ( any of an orde=
r (Coccidia) of protozoans usually parasitic in the digestive epithelium of=
vertebrates) - the fecal exam may seem negative today and two days from no=
w the feces may be loaded with evidence of the little guys. If the wrong te=
sts are run for a particular ailment then of course the results will be nil=
or at least inconclusive. Medicine is not an exact science in a lot of cas=
es. The doctor charges you for his services and passes along to you the ser=
vices he had to pay a lab and other doctor for conducting the test and read=
ing the tests... while it may not seem fair someone has to pay these people=
their wages - they seem to think that the patient or the patient's respons=
ible guardian should pay - who do you think should pay? Now the issue of ho=
w much you pay is determined by which doctor you hire and we've already cov=
ered that question a bit.
With experience dealing with illnesses and that means paying attention to s=
ymptoms, diagnosis, treatment and results we can all learn how to better kn=
ow when to grab them up and run to the doctor and when to put them to bed w=
ith chicken soup and a band-aid and let "it" heal on it's own.

I do wish you the very best of luck with your little kids and hope to hear =
soon that everyone has straightend out, so to speak, and that all is well w=
ith your guys.
Vicki Montgomery Tricks and Treats Rescue Greater Houston/Galveston Texas 7=
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man wi=
ll not himself find peace." ~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer

--- On Thu, 7/31/08, Terry Keene <> wrote:

From: Terry Keene <>

sorry maybe I didn't give enough background on myself and my ferrets and al=
so declair enough clear info. earlier.

I also want to make clear that I don't want to sound stand-offish.

I have had ferrets since I was a young kid and I'm now 29, so I've had them=
for at least 15 years if not 20. I obviously have been extremely lucky bec=
ause most of my ferrets have lived very healthy, uneventful, and long lives=
. I personally have had 6 ferrets live 9 years, one was two weeks away from=

I have only had one diagnosed with insulinoma who still managed to live til=
l 8 with a reasonably normal life.

As far as what they eat I feed them a variety of different high quality fer=
ret foods such as drs foster and smith superior original, totally ferret ve=
nison-turkey- lamb, 8in1 ultimate ferret crunch and moist canned, zupreem, =
and marshall. I give the best treats like bandits, dooker delights, and oth=
ers of that quality.

I mean not going pee actually, and then having liquid diarhea.

I mentioned Scorpio of whom we took to a exotic vet. They tried to cath him=
and they couldn't find a hole. so they put him to sleep and massaged him t=
o go and he did then prescribed those meds. after doing a ph test and blood=
work. Ph was in normal range with no stones, etc and blood was a little of=
f on liver counts but they said because of the problem he just had nothing =
to worry about, so they never did give us any reason for what happened but =
still charged us 400.

I am very aware that adrenal disease causes fur loss but to my knowledge it=
is patchy and usualy starts at the feet, tail, etc. What Gypsy experienced=
was just a sudden shedding effect all over, no patches, no skin showing, n=
othing like that, and it just happened over a couple days time.

I am also disappointed to see you would suggest that I have more ferrets th=
an I can care for as they are litterly our children in our family. They hav=
e 2 ferret nation cages, in their own room, and run free in that room all d=
ay of which we play at their level with them at least 3 hours aday or to su=
ggest fostering ferrets to me as the biggest piece of having ferrets is the=
fact is that they are ours not someone elses.

I suggest that the vets at least in our area don't obviously know what they=
are doing and charge way to much for the lack of service they provide.

I guess what I would like to know is why my Scorpio's fur on his neck where=
they shaved him to take blood out of his juggler is not growing back, it h=
as been 3 weeks

and to save the rest of my ferts from unwanted, unknowledgable vets who lik=
e other doctors charge way to darn much.

would like to know if there is a way to learn or to be taught how to proper=
ly diagnose and/or treat ferrets from home even if it is not complete, to a=
leviate the time and money, so far, that hasn't provided me or my ferrets w=
ith any cures, knowledge, or satisfaction. To tell someone that is in the h=
ospital that he is possibly dieing but all tests are coming back clean is i=
nsane and incompetent in my opinion. It is the same with an animal actually=
it is by far worse because first the animal can't talk and doesn't underst=
and us, and now they have to explain to the owners I don't know. Then they =
still charge us insane fees.


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