From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2011-09-10 20:55:52 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] please help!
There are some types of vaccines which should not be used on ferrets for an assortment of reasons, including that some which have not been sufficiently tested in ferrets just don't work well on ferrets, and that a few types which are not supposed to be used on ferrets are live virus vaccines that are grown in ferret cell lines and those can give distemper to ferrets. Those are among the reasons that people are periodically reminded on the FHL and FML to not assume that all vaccines are equal.
There sure have been a number of places with canine distemper this year. In each case so far discussed on the public lists spreading it was avoidable because there was insufficient vaccinating done which is tragic. Not all shelters realize that ANY ferrets who do not arrive with documentation of a strong vaccine history need TWO vaccine distemper vaccines because many ferrets coming into shelters have insufficient protection already. Not all purchasers realize that the ferrets sold at pet stores usually have ONLY ONE of the kits series of 3 or 4 (depending on the age of the kits) distemper vaccines. Very, very pet stores put the money into continuing the series on their dime so the kits sold through most pet stores must be considered to be at risk if an exposure happens. The reason kits MUST have that series is because they get only short term protection due to immature immune systems.
Canine distemper is usually spread through mucus membranes of the nose or mouth from secretions that an infected ferrets (who may not yet be showing symptoms) is shedding, so in saliva, urine, feces
Canine distemper in hot and dry conditions will perish outside the body in about a half hour, but in wet conditions it last much longer as it does in cold conditions, and frozen in moist conditions it can remain viable and able to infect for years. People who have unvaccinated animals should leave their shoes outside (for at least a while) or hung someplace where the animals can not get to them.
Shelters should not use the same litter boxes and scrapers between the quarantine room and other room, but mostly they should vaccinate well enough.
Canine distemper is related to measles and there appears to be evidence that some people who have not had measles or not had measles vaccines recently enough may be able to have short, asymptomatic infections of CDV. (See previous posts on distemper for links.)
With canine distemper there are antiviral meds that may help some ferrets, and providing Vitamin A appears to make a large difference. You and your vet should read the past posts from two shelters which used that approach to decrease deaths, and also related information such as:
Hopefully, it is not Canine Distemper.
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)
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