Message Number: FHL9598 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2009-08-01 06:47:36 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] distemper photos and GIVE THEM VITAMIN A
To: Ferret Mailing List <ferret-l@LISTSERV.FERRETMAILINGLIST.ORG>, fhl <>, xxxxxxxx <xx@xxxxxxxx.COM>

If it is distemper and if you are fortunate they may have had enough
protection still on-board to get sick but NOT to die. Ferrets vary
quite a bit in their titer levels in the years following vaccination.

Also, give them Vitamin A!


I keep posting this and somehow people keep missing it even though it
must now be in as many as a half dozen places in each the archives of
the FHL and the FML. I apologize for not thinking of mentioning it
again, but have had quite a lot of serious family needs recently.

> J Nutr. 2007 Aug;137(8):1916-22.
> Disease manifestations of canine distemper virus infection in
> ferrets are modulated by vitamin A status.
> Rodeheffer C, von Messling V, Milot S, Lepine F, Manges AR, Ward BJ.
> McGill University Health Centre Research Institute, Faculty of
> Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Montreal General
> Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada.
> The measles virus (MV) causes half a million childhood deaths
> annually. Vitamin A supplements significantly reduce measles-
> associated mortality and morbidity. The mechanisms whereby vitamin A
> acts against MV are not understood and currently there is no
> satisfactory small animal model for MV infection. We report on the
> development of a ferret model to study antiviral activity of vitamin
> A against canine distemper virus (CDV). CDV is closely related to MV
> at the molecular level and distemper in ferrets mimics measles in
> humans. We infected vitamin A-replete (control) and vitamin A-
> depleted ferrets with CDV and assessed the ability of high-dose
> vitamin A supplements to influence CDV disease. In control ferrets,
> CDV infection caused fever, rash, conjunctivitis, cough, coryza, and
> diarrhea. In contrast, control ferrets that were given 30 mg of
> vitamin A did not develop typical distemper after infection and
> exhibited only a mild rash. The supplement did not negatively affect
> ferret health and resulted in a 100% increase in serum and liver
> vitamin A concentrations. We also found that profound vitamin A
> deficiency is inducible in ferrets and can be rapidly reversed upon
> high-dose vitamin A supplementation. Vitamin A deficiency caused
> anorexia, diarrhea, cataracts, behavioral abnormalities, and
> ultimately death, with or without CDV infection. All ferrets that
> received vitamin A supplements, however, recovered uneventfully from
> CDV infection. These results replicate many aspects of the
> observations of vitamin A therapy in humans with measles and suggest
> that CDV infection in ferrets is an appropriate model for the study
> of the antiviral mechanism of vitamin A.
> PMID: 17634264

The full article is HERE:


xxxxxxx, I am so sorry that this may be distemper, but that does not
automatically mean that the rest of your ferrets will die due to the
skipped vaccinations. Some maintain pretty high titer levels for two
or more years after vaccination, and your vet and you can always
follow the info in the article mentioned above.

Sukie (not a vet)

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