Date: 2011-07-30 09:41:30 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Excessive bacteria in digestive tract
She must suspect that Dozer has proliferative colitis, more common in kits but apparently is now seen more often in older ferrets. It is caused by Lawsonia an intracellular bacterium. The definitive test is a colon biopsy, however, I know of at least one leading ferret expert who treats based on clinical symptoms.
The treatment for this infection is Chloramphenicol. Don't know if your vet mentioned it to you but Chloramphenicol can be extremely toxic to humans and when I was administering it to one of my ferrets, I was advised to use latex gloves and to wash my hands thoroughly after handling the syringe, and to avoid getting any on my skin.
Here is an excerpt on Chloramphenicol from the excellent overview of ferret medications in Ferrets Magazine by Dr. Murray:
"Chloramphenicol is a bacteriostatic antibiotic with a wide spectrum of activity against many Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Chloramphenicol can be toxic to the bone marrow and cause a serious aplastic anemia. Because of the potential for serious bone marrow toxicity, chloramphenicol should not be used routinely in ferrets. In this veterinarian's opinion, chloramphenicol should only be used to treat proliferative bowel disease in ferret kits."
Full article: http://www.smallanimalchannel.com/ferrets/ferret-health/medication-for-ferrets.aspx
In my case it was quite effective in treating the colitis and the ferret did fine afterwards.
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