From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2010-11-10 20:25:07 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] hidden medical problems
To: fhl <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ferret Mailing List <ferret-l@LISTSERV.FERRETMAILINGLIST.ORG>
We lost Hubble yesterday. He had multiple hidden medical problems so
I want to mention that those sometimes can happen.
We've been in this position before, including with Jumpstart who had
hidden lymphoma. With Jumpstart we knew for about 9 months that
something was wrong and he had test after test, including several
ultrasounds but until his final day when a chest tumor appeared that
was rapidly growing in real time (literally changing enough to see the
growth on sequential x-rays within hours).
Hubble had one very mild hidden thing: beginning adrenal which showed
up on ultrasound. That makes him only our second ferret in almost 30
years to have hidden adrenal disease. More common, and more serious
was that he had hidden kidney disease, also found on the ultrasound.
Unfortunately, that was not all that he had, though. We decided to
not have a necropsy because two other possible culprits are well
enough guessed from how he presented. He may have had hidden lymphoma
but in his final day it looked even more like he may have been dealing
with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. That is the rarer form of
cardiomyopathy and it often hides itself, in fact, that is the most
common thing for it too do -- being without symptoms and not possible
to see on x-rays until it is so advanced that nothing can be done or
the ferret just dies. To make it worse, the meds for that would have
been bad for his kidney disease so even medicating him for it would
have killed him.
Every time one thing was gotten under control on him in his last day
another thing went wrong.
His diarrhea became so severe that last day that it was like a person
dealing with cholera; at first he could dehydrate to the point of
being a flat ferret in just 3 hours after having replacement fluids
with electrolytes, but then he even got to the point where IV could
not keep up with the fluid loss. So, a med had to be tried, but the
only one that held him at all (Kaopectate every 2 hours recommended by
a ferret GI expert consultant) while also on IV and multiple other
other meds (such as Pepcid, steroids other than Pred given the nature
of his situation, antibiotics, etc.) caused him to open an ulcer (also
more likely with the kidney disease), so there just was no way to save
him and the kindest thing was a mercy shot.
It may help people to know more about hidden medical problems so if
people could discuss those maybe some good will come of losing Hubble.
Reminder for people on the Ferret Health List (FHL): sympathy
messages without health content have to be sent directly to posters
rather than sent to the list. The FHL Rules can be found in the Files
section of that list. See my list of ferret health links below.
MOST ferret diseases are NOT hidden, and for those learning beforehand
about the diseases will allow warning signs and correct actions to
happen. That educational opportunity is one of the functions of the
FHL and its separate archives. Even some of the diseases that can be
hidden sometimes are not. Lymphoma is usually not hidden, but can
be. Now and then a sign like uncontrolled weight loss can cause a vet
to do a timely chest ultrasound and find hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
in time to treat it. Even though blood tests too often don't spot
kidney disease in a ferret an ultrasound may, and a urine specific
gravity test (a cheap test) can spot when the kidneys are not
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)
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