Message Number: FHL12415 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2010-10-31 17:51:25 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] post-surgical care -- a conversation to which others should add points that work
To: Ferret Mailing List <ferret-l@LISTSERV.FERRETMAILINGLIST.ORG>, fhl <>

Maybe it is time to once again discuss the post-surgical measures that
allow for optimal results because one thing that greatly affects the
success of surgery is the home situaiton.

1. Never, never, never allow a post-surgical ferret to climb during
the first 10 days to 2 weeks (except one who has had minor surgery
like for a skin tumor). Climbing (stairs, ramps, etc.) is very common
among ones who die after surgery due to injuries it can cause. Even
using papers instead of litter pots makes sense.

2. Closely monitor the food and water intake. A ferret who gets
dehydrated or loses a lot of weight after a surgery will not repair
well and could even take kidney damage from dehydration.

3. Adjust the home temperature and frequently provide a lot of fresh
and warm bedding because a post-surgical ferret will both chill and
overheat more easily.

4. Supervise any interactions with other ferrets during the first 10
days to 2 weeks. They need to be gentle.

5. Do not let the ferret become too active too soon or healing
tissues may be injured.

6. Give the medications the vet wants used and use them exactly
according to instructions. If the vet does not write those down then
you write them down and double check with the vet before leaving to
make sure that what you wrote is accurate.

7. Monitor the incision site and anything else the vet wants monitored.

8. Change the waste papers regularly.

9. Know that some types of medical problems can be prevented from
worsening faster with surgery but not cured by surgery. Double check
with your vet to be sure that your expectations are accurate.
Miscommunication is a common problem in both animal and human medical
care. We recently had one older relative wind up in a brace after hip
surgery because she did not understand the descriptions of how she
should limit her motions; pictures or illustrations would have helped
her a lot.

10. If a huge blister develops near the incision site get in to have
the tissues stapled and glued. That is a seroma and it can cause the
skin to tear and the incision to open.

11. Know that the condition of the animal going into surgery will
affect outcome. Obese animals like obese people will have a far
harder time with surgery; the risk of post surgical tears is higher
for them, too. Also, an animal in poor condition in other ways will
be less likely to do well.

12. Some conditions themselves can worsen to the point where waiting
invites failure. Perhaps the most obvious of these is a complete
abdominal blockage. There are good reasons why ferrets have such
rapid transit time from food to poop. One of them is that diets high
in animal protein produce high levels of both urea and ammonia (and
some other compounds) and too much of those in the blood becomes
toxic. Passing the waste rapidly prevents that, but when a blockage
occurs the faster the surgery can be done, the better the chances of
survival. For example, one who has surgery within about 24 hours of a
total blockage happening will have a far higher rate of surviving than
one whose person waited for 48 hours simply because the blood is so
poisoned by then due to the blockage. The surgery itself can be
picture perfect, but the toxins in the blood stream might still
prevent survival unless the ferret is strong and lucky. Also, know
that waiting too long with some problems can take them from benign to
malignant, or make them too large to completely address, or even set
the stage for simmering infection which may flare.

13. Check the blood work before surgery. That will help sort out
some who should not have surgery.

14. Image the heart before surgery if the ferret is 6 years or older,
or if there are other reasons to image the heart beforehand.

15. Do a urine concentration test before surgery. That will sort out
hidden kidney damage.

16. See if the type of problem being addressed is one where a pre-
surgical ultrasound makes sense. In some it does not but for others
it does.

17. Never give anything without your vet's prior okay, and after a
surgery double check with the treating vet to see if those things can
be given and in what amounts. That includes supplements and "natural"
cures. (Remember with natural approaches that they can be as dangerous
as conventional ones when the wrong ones are used or in the wrong
amounts. In fact, close around week to a week and a half ago) one
recall was of a natural approach for humans teething because it turns
out to contain belladonna in poorly controlled amounts. (The
manufacturer referred to that as an "abundance of caution".) There
are certainly herbs which never should be taken by ferrets such as
natural licorice which can damage the heart and cause clots to be
thrown, and some others.

18. Know that some previously given meds need their amounts changed
after surgery. Fludrocort, for example, often needs to be increased
during times of physical stress.

19. Also check with the vet before going home about what you can feed
and how much the ferret should drink, also learn sub cu hands on at
the veterinary hospital or go in regularly (once or twice a day for
it) if the vet says that the kidneys' needs warrant it. Some foods
are not balanced enough for good recovery, some are too fatty for
after certain problems, and raw diets need to be cooked until the
ferret is past being more vulnerable to infections.

20. Limiting interactions with germ factories (for example, very
young children and sick animals or animals who go outside the home,
sick people) is also a very good idea during this vulnerable time.

21. Know which medications can be given with other medications.
For example, Carafate should never be give at the same time as
other medications because it can coat them and make them inaccessible
so always have a half hour or more between other meds and Carafate.

22. Know that some medications will have interactions with some
supplements, herbs, or foods so again check beforehand with the
treating vet.

23. Know that some meds should be given with foods (for example,
Pred) but others should not, and which ones should or should not
be given with supplements, with oil, or with water. Medications
vary on those scores.

24. Find out which meds should or should not go into the refrigerator.
(Some meds are damaged by cooling but some need it.)

25. Find out which meds need to be stored away from light.

26. Find out which meds can not be near steam or heat.

27. Learn how to give medications safely hands on at the vet hospital.

Sukie (not a vet)

Recommended ferret health links:
all ferret topics:

"All hail the procrastinators for they shall rule the world tomorrow."
(2010, Steve Crandall)
On change for its own sake: "You can go really fast if you just jump
off the cliff."
(2010, Steve Crandall)


Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> Your email settings:
Individual Email | Traditional

<*> To change settings online go to:
(Yahoo! ID required)

<*> To change settings via email:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: