Message Number: FHL13982 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2011-09-10 20:21:49 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] Hacking Cough

On Sep 10, 2011, at 12:20 PM, John wrote:

> Heed the warning signs! I had a 4 y/o male (Rocket J) who developed an occasional hacking cough one Tuesday night. The only vet around was not in the following day, Wednesday. We were going to take him in Thursday as soon as the doors opened. At 5PM Wednesday he died. We were heart broken. DO NOT WAIT! GO TO THE VET!!!
> John Connell and weasels three

Yes, exactly!

We had one who developed a little cough one day , but luckily got her in promptly that afternoon, paying for an emergency appt, and had x-rays done which showed that she had both severe pneumonia and pleurisy. If she had not received serious treatment that very night she likely would have died. She needed injected antibiotics and later she needed a combination of antibiotics, not just one.

There are multiple reasons to not just give what antibiotics are are home:

1. They may be expired. Dry Amoxi or dry Clavamox can be judged according to the date on the box for expiration, BUT once the med has been hydrated it works for 10 days to 2 weeks and that is it. If it has been kept longer wet then toss it.

2. It is important to avoid making any bacterial infection even stronger. If you give an antibiotic or too short a run of antibiotics that is insufficient for the level of infection then all that it will do is to kill off the less viable bacteria BUT leave the strongest of the bacteria to take over. So, yes, you can have a risk of making an infection worse through insufficient or inappropriate treatment. That is one of the two main ways that "superbugs" are created. (The other is over-use of antibiotics in food animals.)

3. If it is not an infection but instead is heart disease you will delay appropriate treatment for that.

So, no one was scolding you. People got panicked because from experience -- in some cases getting lucky as in our case and in other cases very unlucky as in John's case -- folks know how very serious this might be and that this is a symptom that can indicate some things which might kill a ferret before treatment if rapid response does not happen. Don't take extreme concern for scolding. Even though people here can not know particulars which are not written down we do tend to assume that most people asking questions are adults unless they say otherwise, so people worry but don't scold, and with a hacking cough we worry a lot because some of the possibilities can be so rapidly fatal.

Sukie (not a vet)

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