Message Number: FHL12307 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Caitlyn Martin
Date: 2010-10-06 15:54:44 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Ella update
To: ferrethealth <>


Some of you may remember that I took Ella to the vet for two issues
nack in February: a scratched eye and mystery diarrhea. We did full
bloodwork since Ella was around eight years old at the time. A round
of antibiotics and eye drops took care of the eye as expected and also
cleared up the diarrhea, which we didn't expect. The bloodwork had
some values that were off so we did further diagnostic work. An
ultrasound showed an enlarged iliac lymph node. A needle aspirate was
done but the results were inconclusive.

One thing I didn't mention in the previous post was that Ella had an
enlarged spleen for roughly three years up until then. On that
examination her spleen was normal size but showed some irregular edges
on the ultrasound. Our vet didn't seem overly concerned at the time
and we didn't worry about it.

For nearly eight months since then Ella acted like a happy, healthy,
affectionate and playful ferret. All seemed right with the world.

Last Saturday night Ella had a little bit of an upset tummy, was
moving a bit slowly, and seemed to have some hind end weakness. My
first thought was insulinoma since that was what it looked like.

By Sunday evening the diarrhea was much worse, as in almost liquid and
Ella had pronounced hind end weakness. She still ate her chicken
gravy greedily but had little energy after that. I debated an
emergency vet visit but decided she'd probably be OK if I called her
regular vet in the morning.

By Monday morning it was obvious something was terribly wrong. Ella
could barely move and was incontinent. She couldn't even move from
her own waste. She was shivering and cool to the touch. I decided
she couldn't take the three hour drive to her normal vet, the one I
trust most, and I called a local vet and got her in there. I kept her
warm as best I could and gave her some warm gravy which she ate during
the first part of the 45 minute drive.

By the time we arrived at the vet Ella's breathing was labored and she
barely responded at all. The vet examined her and the news was
terrible: Ella had a very large tumor on her spleen which had
ruptured. She was bleeding into her abdomen. The vet advised us that
the kindest thing we could do was to say goodbye.

Ella was originally rescued in early 2003. She was found as a stray
wandering in Chapel Hill in miserable shape. Her first vet
appointment was on March 19, 2003 and we always treated that as if it
was her birthday. That vet (our original vet, who has since retired)
estimated her age at 1 year old at that time. Our current vet saw her
later and estimated that she was half a year older than that. Her
original owner passed away rather suddenly in late 2004 and we adopted
her ferrets, Ella and Zephyr. Ella was somewhere around eight and a
half or perhaps nine years old when she died.

This is essentially the same way we lost Romana five years ago. At
the time I was away on a business trip and my housemate has long beat
herself up for not getting Romana to the vet the second she saw
something wrong. I've always told her it wouldn't have made a
difference. Suddenly I find myself asking the same question. If I
had rushed Ella to the vet on Saturday evening would it have made any
difference at all? If anyone can help us settle that issue once and
for all it would be appreciated.

With sadness,
with Zephyr and Chin Soon


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