Message Number: FHL9849 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2009-09-15 19:42:08 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] We lost Whizbang to sudden onset of diabetes
To: fhl <>, Ferret Mailing List <ferret-l@LISTSERV.FERRETMAILINGLIST.ORG>

It presented somewhat differently than most people describe so I want
to tell about it in case that helps another ferret. The best way I
know to mourn her is to hope that what she suffered might teach
someone else in time to help another.

Three days ago she began looking a bit weak in the hind end, but not
enough and not consistently enough to look like the general symptom of
hind end weakness.

Now, she has not been very well for some time and was still on two
antibiotics fighting a very resistant infection of her vulva, so some
weakness and tiredness would be normal for her situation.

Yesterday she was a little clumsy, but still within normal bounds for
her situation and she certainly managed to play a lot yesterday. It
was a very busy day for her. She ran, she wrestled, she climbed the
bed. But she was a bit clumsy with her rear quarters. We thought she
was just out of shape and needing to regain muscle so we were extra
happy about all of the play she enjoyed.

The clumsiness was a clue it turns out. It was probably due to
diabetic neuropathy beginning.

I wish we had checked her for ability to feel surface pain that day or
the next yesterday. I want people to think of that and remember it
if they see anything similar. Just try foot pinches.

We did not have a current blood glucose monitor. We're getting an
Alphatrak but have no monitor right now. Honestly, I don't know if
I'd have thought of diabetes, probably not, even if we had one.

Last night she had one weak time but was fine a short while later so
we figured she was just exhausted.

Today we found that during the night she had apparently been unable to
get to the food and water and had gotten urine and feces on herself.
She did not seem to be able to feel surface pain to her feet, was
turning them inwards and had very poor control of feet and legs though
she could move them. She ate and drank greedily with us holding the
food and water. Then she felt like kissing but her mouth was cold --
colder than it should have been.

We had already called ahead to the vet and set out for the hour ride
there. She had diarrhea on the way there. By the time we reached the
vet office she had perked up. Her liver and kidneys were functioning
fine but her ketones were high and her blood glucose was over 700.
She pegged the machine so we don't know quite how high it was.

Attempts to place a catheter were not successful.

So, the calls began because she was in need of a 24 hour facility and
right now the vets at our hospital can not do that. One also runs a
shelter, one just became a parent, and another just moved.

The two closest ones did not have anyone in who treats ferrets
normally, especially for something as rare as this. There was not a
huge chance that she would have made it for the ride to either one.
The third was an hour and a half away.

Her chances were incredibly slim and the possibility of her having a
decent life were very low so we opted for a mercy shot with cuddling
first and then cuddling with her sedated before a mercy shot. She
passed on her own before her injection while we three were cuddling,
just minutes after sharing kisses once more.

So, if you have a ferret who is having stumbling times, please, try a
surface pain check and if you have a glucose monitor also check blood
glucose. It could be diabetic neuropathy causing even intermittent
clumsiness. It will all make more sense if what she went through
helps someone else.

Whizbang was so good during Steve's recent serious illness (luckily
not a malignancy) and used to insist on checking him each night as he
slept just as we always checked her. She tried to do for her people
as they did for her. She was a real trooper, too. This was just too
much for her and she passed away too young at almost age 6 and 1/2.

A reminder so that the other moderators won't have the discomfort of
having to reject messages: if you want to send a sympathy message
but it has no relevant health information you will need to send it
directly instead of posting to the FHL. That's per the FHL rules which
are in the Files section of the FHL website.

Sukie (not a vet)

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