Date: 2010-07-01 16:36:21 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Neurological problem or ????
I wrote to Cait earlier but this has a bit more info
Okay, part of this is from ferret med perspective
and part from human med (having twice had
peripheral neurological problems 25 years apart):
Many diseases can cause more systemic symptoms,
but usually those will broaden the areas affected
over time. Among these can be things like ADV,
diabetes, etc. Some diseases can affect a specific
region, including Lyme Disease, but their symptoms
are not on and off.
Thrown clots (from problems like heart disease which
is the most common cause, kidney disease and a few
other things can affect both REAR limbs by causing a
saddle thrombosis. I'd have to check a vascular chart
but I do NOT think that a corresponding vulnerable
point exists for the forelegs, and usually when a
ferret throws clots the clots wind up in a different
location each time. So, if a clot affected a foreleg
then it would be one leg only and probably only once
if my recollection of the comparative vascular anatomy
is correct. I'd like to hear from someone more
familiar with that anatomy. Now, if there was something
in such a location that could catch clots (the reason that
saddle thromboses happen at that separation for the rear
legs) then the chances of a clot lodging in a specific place
increases. That could include a malformation.
What are the actual symptoms beyond weakness?
This is important. Weakness does not have to be
neurological but can be. It alternatively could be from
things like arthritis, other joint problems, soft tissue
injury, etc. An underlying vulnerability could affect that,
for example, elbows which luxate and might need to be
pinned. (See archives to read about this vulnerability.)
When it is neurological you need to know if the sensory
nerves are the culprit (because not getting proper
feedback does cause motility difficulty (having been
there myself) or of the motor nerves are the culprit.
In either case if there is a preexisting structural problem
(such as the luxating elbows) then the neurological
problems will exaggerate conditions that the individual
can usually work around. Elbows that luxate are not
terribly common in ferrets but are a known vulnerability.
Bad ones need pinning but some just get strapped.
It is not very common for a neurological symptom to be
very short term on and off; that very nature should help
direct the investigation.
A cervical spinal lesion (the neck) can cause on and off
upper limb neurological problems, but those have a
very wide range of causes (at least in people). In
humans they can be caused by a range of illnesses,
some of which are sort term but leave that vulnerability
behind. With a human cervical spinal lesion it often takes
an MRI to spot it and then you still do not know for sure
what it is unless the illness has advanced in other ways
or unless a biopsy is done. It is a DANGEROUS biopsy
and in people it is done only when the illness is persisting
or has returned, making it essential. Otherwise, honestly,
in people if there is something like that you just know it
is there, retain a bit of damage after bad bouts and just
put up with it, but you have to know if you also have any
skeletal, joint, or muscular problems because when the
lesion affects nerves to or from those areas it will exaggerate
the symptoms. Even then, though, those bad bouts do not
tend to be very short bouts. In humans the process is one
that can last years.
A person would have to wonder about something shifting
which periodically presses on nerves and that would not
have to be on the spinal cord itself but may be in nearby
structures, though the spine should be checked, as would
the blood supplies if both can be affected from a common
point. Think, too, of how a spinal disc can cause on and
off problems for some people who have lower back difficulties.
So, all of that again makes me wonder about a hard to spot
structural problem which is kicking up on and off, such as
bad elbows that are beginning to weaken, or early stage arthritis.
It could also be a personal response to dizziness if the ferret
is just trying to get some stability, but not having seen what
happens I don't know. Ditto sudden exhaustion (another reason
to check the heart and other things which can cause sudden
When it happens again see if the ferret can feel a deep pinch.
Peripheral nerve damage causes very bad deep pain until it
heals enough to become a background situation, BTW, and
can cause muscle spasms.
See if the arms are just hard to move or if they are moving in
ways that do not make sense. Otherwise look for nuances, too.
This may just be something the ferret can live with, or it may an early
symptom of something very slowly changing, or could be the start
of seeing some structural damage or a structural vulnerability that
simply wasn't bad enough to notice earlier.
Sukie (not a vet)
Recommended ferret health links:
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"All hail the procrastinators for they shall rule the world tomorrow."
(2010, Steve Crandall)
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