Message Number: FHL8678 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "hippistyl"
Date: 2009-04-15 22:44:55 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] ferret with spinal problems

I have a ferret with some spinal problems who is currently under vet care, but I am looking for any additional input you might have.

Right now he cannot really walk - all 4 limbs do function, but he crawls around, and only when he has to. He cannot stand up normal. He eats fine (duck soup only), is able to potty (besides standing). He seems depressed, I'm not sure if he's in pain - his legs shake sometimes, does that mean he's in pain? I've had him almost 2 yrs, but he is estimated to be about 4 yrs old. No other health issues.

Just over a month ago it started with a drunk-looking stumbling. Initial thoughts were low BG or severe ear infection. BG was fine and ear had a little infection, nothing major. We started with Amoxi and then switched to orbax. We had slight improvements - the drunk-like wobble was gone, but his hind legs seemed weak.

He has had full blood panel, had BG checked twice and is fine. He had an xray that showed just kind of dark/cloudy where the rear legs meet the spine. There was no defined mass or anything present, it was very odd. The vet suspected either a tumor or bone infection. We try to treat the treatable with meds. We've tried a couple combinations of medicine from ear infection at the beginning, progressing towards treating a tumor or infection. He is currently taking pred and some nasty antibiotic for bone infections. Tried pain meds briefly instead of pred and he seemed worse. Vet suggested it could take 6 weeks if it is a bone infection. He's been on some kind of antibiotic for about a month, the strong one for 2.5 weeks or so now.

Right now he only gets up to potty - he's confined to one level of his cage and has pee pee pads as he cannot walk. He eats duck soup only right now and I feed him so he just has to stick his head out of his bed to lap it up. He seems depressed and doesn't do much - he was always a very hyper ferret - he is the most hyper adult ferret I've ever been owned by. This is very uncharacteristic of him, so I know he's not feeling well.

The vet suggested we wouldn't likely see changes on an xray for a few weeks. What would you suggest next? Give it a little longer? another xray? ultrasound? biopsy (but not sure if there is a mass?)

I haven't found a lot of info on spinal problems outside of those related to an injury or insulinoma. Any info you can share is much appreciated. I am concerned he may be in pain and may have to make a difficult decision here very soon. I will be contacting the vet again in the next couple of days, but would like to offer any new suggestions you folks might have.



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