Message Number: FHL12663 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Penny Adams
Date: 2010-12-31 07:33:37 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Possible Kidney Problems

Hi all,
This is my first post but I have been lurking for 2 years since I first bro=
ught my 3 ferrets home from the ferret shelter and learning lots from all o=
f you.=A0 Today my son and I took our 3 ferrets in for a well ferret check =
and came home with 2 healthy ferrets and a third who the vet is concerned m=
ay be having kidney problems.=A0 Apparently all three had elevated BUN but =
as we live about an hour from our ferret knowledgeable vet and as we got to=
the appointment early (in case of traffic) and the vet was running very la=
te (due to pet emergencies) the vet felt that the distance and the ferrets =
being frightened by being in the carrier and in the car may have been the c=
ause of the slight dehydration in all 3 (we did have food and water in the =
carrier with them).=A0 But our third ferret also had high creatinine levels=
(1.5 if I recall correctly - I did not ask for or get a print out of the b=
lood work results) so we came home with a bag of Sub-q fluid=A0and
needles and instructions to give 60cc sub-q once every two days to one of =
our ferrets.
Anyway as my son was with me and as we are already a bit overwhelmed with m=
y ill mother (his grandmother) I did not ask the vet some of the questions =
I wanted to as I was afraid of the answers and did not want to fall apart i=
n the vets office and have my son watch me do so.=A0 I do have=A0 follow up=
appointment in 2 weeks (while my son is at school) so I can and will ask t=
he hard questions then).=A0 But in the meantime...... to help me prepare my=
self and my kids.....=A0 is this as bad as I fear?=A0 Most time when I hear=
of kidney problems in pets, the lifespan of the pet seems to me to be in t=
he span of days maybe weeks, but not much longer?=A0 Is there any hope that=
with a couple of weeks of Sub-Q fluid our fuzzball will be better?=A0Could=
this be a false alarm and=A0at our check up=A0in two weeks I will learn th=
at all is OK?=A0 =A0Is there anything else that could cause this?=A0 Anythi=
ng else I can/should be doing or watching for at home?
Also as I am someone who learns best by reading (not doing) are there any g=
ood web sites or other written materials=A0that describe how best to give s=
ub-Q fluids to a ferret?=A0 The vet did demonstrate and also talked me thro=
ugh the procedure, BUT I was kind of freaking out about the needles and try=
ing to be strong for my son so .... I am not as confident as I would like t=
o be.=A0 Each time I asked for written instructions the vet tech did anothe=
r hands on demo - but I really need/want some written materials to read and=
study before I have to do this on my own at home Saturday AM.=A0 The vet a=
lso said that I could come back and have them do the sub-q .... but=A0again=
as we live over an hour from the vet=A0and as the vet is open the same hou=
rs I work ... that is really not a viable option.=A0=A0Unfortunately=A0the =
website=A0I found recommended several times=A0in the FHL =A0archives seems =
to not work anymore so .... anywhere else where this information may now re=
Currently I feed my three, three-year-old ferrets a mix of EVO Dry ferret f=
ood, Totally Ferret Active Diet, and ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet.=A0 If ind=
eed there are kidney problems should I be looking at slowly adding a new or=
different food to the mix with lower protein levels?=A0=A0 Actually I thou=
ght Totally Ferret had a Senior Diet, but now I can't seem to find it for s=
ale on any of the ferret web sites I normally buy from?=A0 Again any recomm=
endations for lower protein ferret foods to help with kidney problems in a =
3 year old ferret (that will also work for my 2 other 3 year old ferrets wh=
o seem to be OK as they all eat together?)
Penny in Columbia MD


[Chronic kidney problems do tend to continue
and then how long they take really varies a
decent bit. There ARE things you can do. Reducing
phosphorus intake is one. You can replace some
of the food with cooked egg which is low in
phosphorus, move to a kidney diet, or reduce
protein in general to reduce phosphorus. Omega3
Fatty Acids in fish oil or flax seed oil (DO refrigerate
flax seed oil promptly.) Check how well the urine
concentrates because that number is important
so have vet do that. Check urine pH, especially in
a young ferret with a urinary tract problem and 3 years
should be the prime of life.

If the problem is acute, though, things are much
more optimistic. If it is very bad the ferret may
not survive it, but once survived the ferret can
begin to improve. With this the trick is to know
the cause and remove it as well as providing
loads of hydration.

We had one who was our vet's hardest save due to
hydronephrosis when young then became more
susceptible to kidney problems and who later in life
survived two other acute disease episodes before
succumbing to a 4th. His causes were not really
avoidable but there were ways to respond once they
were known from surgery to lower protein diet, hydration,
and more: genetic problems, a congenital malformation,=20
severe diabetes for a while after insulinoma surgery,
but he did also wind up with infection playing a
part once so that needs to be considered.=20

Often grapes, raisins and currants can be causes
and we are in the holiday season with many things
containing those. They can cause kidney problems
for ferrets, dogs, and cats. Plus, ferrets stash them
and may eat a lot at once later.

There have also been some ferrets and dogs who
have gotten too much Vitamin D or D3 from something
and laid down calcium deposits in the kidneys and then
the thing to do is to remove the cause. A few months
ago two or three of the Blue Buffalo foods had to be
recalled due to this. There is info on that in the VIN

So, knowing if it may be acute or chronic can be important,
too, and if all three actually are off there may be a
shared cause such as stolen dark fruitcake which can
be removed to get rid of the tempting currants.

Not everyone prefers the same subcutaneous hydration
techniques. Some like butterflies. I have poor vision
so rather than straining to read the bag I am better off
with the large syringe personally.

-- Moderator]


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