Message Number: FHL6001 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Tressie"
Date: 2008-09-14 22:10:24 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Need help with Alfie--deformed jaw locking up


Our rescue organization arranged an adoption from MaFF of 2 DMK siblings
- a gib and a sprite, to one of our members here. The gib's jaw would
only open a tiny amount. The shelter mom had been massaging his jaw
daily, reasoning correctly that his jaw muscles were probably tense and

In a few weeks his jaw opened more than it had the day he arrived. The
woman who adopted him has kept this up and increased the frequency of
the massage. His jaw now opens large enough for her to put her entire
thumb into his mouth. She brushes his teeth every day, at first with
the tip of her finger, now she can put in a ferret tooth brush.

When he first arrived he was being fed crushed up kibble in water, which
he slurped. That was at the end of June - he can now chew regular

We couldn't figure out how he had managed to survive all this time with
his handicap but discovered it one day. Amazingly his sibling would
chew the food for him and then transfer it from her mouth into his! We
were stunned at the level of intelligence these two displayed. He
would also take some kibble and dip it into water until it softened and
then would lick it up. Then he started taking his softened kibble to
his adoptive mom and made a pile for her to crush for him.

He has gained weight and is thriving. The siblings were about the same
size when they arrived at their forever home. He now tips the scales at
4 lbs. and is considerably larger than his savy little sister. The daily
massage sessions are part of his daily routine and so is having his
teeth brushed. They are both pandas and both deaf.

This has been a tremendous amount of work and time devoted to this DMK
on the part of his adoptive mom, and the shelter mom before him. But
the results have been worth the effort.

This pair are young, just over a year old. I don't know if you'd have
as much success with an older ferret whose jaw has been that way longer,
but might be worth a try.


--- In, "Clover Williams" <rezgrrl@...>
> Some of you may remember Alfie, whom I got last year. He has a rare
> but documented manifestation of the same genetic cluster that causes
> the blaze and deafness. In his case, he has both but also a deformed
> jaw that opens only a tiny bit. He was on soft food, cut small, or
> gravy. The original shelter was told by their vet that surgery would
> be risky (since it's never been done), expensive, and possibly
> unnecessary. It's generally been assumed that what would finally do
> him in would be complications from tooth decay. I've had his teeth
> cleaned, but they can only get to the gum side, and without the
> benefit of hard food. . .
> Well, the past few days, he hasn't wanted to eat. I have tried
> tempting him with lots of extras in his soup and lots of coaxing, and
> he seemed to be eating. Today I finally tried forcing him to eat, and
> even when he relaxes a bit and gets into it, it seems that his jaw is
> locking up even more. There was just a tiny gap in the very front for
> me to dribble in some very watered down carnivore care. And he seemed
> dehydrated, so sq'ed but I'm wondering if he was even able to drink
> much. (For the past month he has been running into things now and
> then; I don't know if that's related.) Will I have to do this every
> four hours to prevent an ulcer and/or dehydration and related
> complications? Should I assume he's got at least the beginnings of
> these things now? He just pooped a drop of black, but that hasn't
> been an ongoing thing.
> He's sweet, perky, otherwise healthy, and only about 4. Really not
> ready to go. But he scared me by botttle brushing after an itty bitty
> sub-q, and then curling up in that way. That. Way.
> I guess I also hope that some vet/orthopedic veterinary surgeon out
> there has some previously unexplored ideas. And really wants to write
> a paper about this unusual and potentially high profile case. Really,
> the only thing I had thought of before all this, was checking into
> having the teeth removed by cutting into the bone (Since they can't
> be pulled). Radical, but since the teeth were doing no good and
> endangering his life, it seemed logical. Now, if they're closing more-
> -I dunno if the teeth are even the issue any more.
> I hope you all can come up with options. Please cross post this if
> you feel it may help.


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