Message Number: FHL6018 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Clover Williams"
Date: 2008-09-17 03:14:47 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Need help with Alfie--deformed jaw locking up

Thanks, guys. I have to say that that story about the DMK guy
actually made me cry. How beautiful!

One vet I spoke with did suggest a feeding tube, but only to discard
the idea. She said he'd probably fidget with it too much. I agreed,
but when I got to thinking about it I wasn't so sure anymore. I mean,
he can't really bite it, can he?

The jaw bone actually is deformed and has always opened only a
little, but that doesn't explain it closing still further. A vet
school may be a good bet. Not for student work, as this is something
without a set procedure for them to learn and practice. But maybe for
a prof's reputation. I've always been under the impression that
doctors of all kinds like strange cases, but maybe I've always been

The good news is that with carafate lending desire, he figured out a
way to suck/slurp up his very watery food (CC). I can't tell whether
he's sucking or steam shoveling, because he does tilt his head back
now and then. At any rate, he's able to get some sustenance on his
own, and has put a little weight back on and gotten more active. And
the closed jaw has opened slightly. Not enough to get it even where
is was before, but some, so massage could help that further. It's
worth a shot. His poops look pretty good--brown and often semi-
formed. And he is more active than a couple of days ago.

The bad news is that there have been other symptoms. I'm starting to
wonder if this is neurological. You remember I said there'd been some
running into things. The vet at the time didn't do a thorough eye
exam but he did check for tracking and blink reflex, and also looked
for cloudiness (shoot, I could have done all that for free) and said
his eys looked good. And it didn't happen much. So I figured Alfie
was just distracted. You know how they get. But yesterday he seemed
wobbly when he walked. OK, so he was just getting back on food. And
today he has been doing a lot of walking that seems almost like butt-
scooting. At one point, for a very short time, he even did that and
at the same time was walking on his front elbows, sort of like a
baby's crawl.

I'm stumped. The two vets I spoke with were stumped. Then I look up
mysotitis on past posts to see whether ferrets get that. And there
was only one mention. DIM. (What is that called now?)I hope it's not
some version of that. He does have hind leg weakness, but a lot can
cause that. The inappetence may be similar too. But other symptoms
don't really fit: Running into things--if that is part of this whole
thing--was not a sudden thing and didn't really seem like weakness.
He doesn't seem to be in pain. And the appetite returned with
carafate. But, if taking all his recent troubles as a whole is
warranted, what he has is just strange.

An upside. If all this is transient and goes away with the ulcer,
there may be hope for the original problem--the jaw. A lady emailed
me about having seen something similar on Animal Planet about a dog
with a genetic defect who couldn't open his mouth all the way, and
received successful surgery to correct that. If his problem was the
same thing Alfie has, he may be able to get the same thing done. I
know he'd never bite me, but I still can't help thinking how happy I
would be if he did. (I had dreams about trying to teach him to chew.)
Anyhow, I'm trying to find out more about that and will report back.


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