Date: 2010-07-01 23:56:31 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Neurological problem or ????
This may or may not be a stretch, Zephyr's symptoms are not identical but there are enough similarities that I will mention my experience. My ferret Linguini had a Second Degree High Grade Heart Block. Unfortunately, I lost her while we were waiting for a pacemaker. She was on heavy medication for her heart condition and meds were changed a number of times to try to keep up with her deteriorating condition. She was 6 years old.
However, to the point - the first episode Linguini had she was running with her buddies and went down quite suddenly - as if someone had shot her. I picked her up immediately and her eyes were closed as though unconscious but slowly she started shaking, like a ferret waking up. She seemed disoriented and weak when I put her down. So I continued holding her. After a few minutes she recovered as if nothing had happened.
I took her into the vet immediately. He found her heart rhythm off, told me he heard a background rhythm. We did x-rays - normal findings. Then he ran an EKG and posted the findings onto VIN. Two prominent veterinary cardiologists (one who wrote the veterinary text on cardiology) and another well known clinician responded and felt she had a heart block.
They suggested running another series of EKGs, pre and post atropine dose, which confirmed that she had a heart block. The EKG was the diagnostic tool that confirmed what we were dealing with. My vet admitted he was out of his depth with accurately interpreting the findings himself since he had little experience in serious cardiac issues.
Over the next couple of months Linguini underwent regular EKGs and we went through a number of different medication protocols recommended by veterinary cardiologists - in an attempt to keep her alive long enough for a pacemaker to become available. She developed brachycardia and in the end nothing worked to bring her heart rate up.
However, over the intervening time she had a number of 'fainting' episodes, which turned out to be a sudden sharp drop in heart rate to a dangerous level. Each time it took her longer to recover. The medications were given to try to stop these 'heart stopping' episodes.
Not exactly what you described but the fact that Zephyr has normal periods in-between these random aberrant episodes, and the sudden falling - is reminiscent of Linguini.
> Zephyr simply came to a stop and fell over to her left with no warning
> in the middle of the living room. She was shaking and had what
> appeared to be a mild, brief seizure. Then she was just lying there
> and I was worried so I picked her up. She was breathing hard and
> seemed to be in distress. The time elapsed from when she fell over to
> when she calmed down was a couple of minutes at most.
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