Message Number: FHL14466 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Tressie"
Date: 2011-12-26 12:13:50 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Allergies Or Something Else?


Please see comments below....

...His parents told us that he has food sensitivities: he gets little hives that they said grow, burst, and heal on their own.

Hives do not behave like that. However, blistering autoimmune diseases like pemphigus, do.

Upon further inspection he also has a very strange, thick, unhealthy looking nail on his right front paw as well as basically dried blood right at the base where the nail meets the toe along all but one of the nails.

This could be an old injury i.e., torn nail and may be infected. Notably, pemphigus can affect nail beds.

His front paws are both also red and his left paw on the outside is very red and irritated and gets scabby and peely. Also his left ear is dry and red, ....

Also consistent with pemphigus. Diagnosis can be tricky because samples of intact pustules have to be taken, and typically they are quite fragile, bursting fairly quickly and forming crusts that can become infected. The condition typically waxes and wanes.

Skin scrapings to rule out primary or secondary bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections should be taken. Cytology and skin biopsies, sometimes several may be required for a definitive diagnosis.

I am sending you a paper on this condition for your vet, written by the world class veterinary dermatology expert on this condition, Dr. Wayne Rosenkrantz (Veterinary Dermatology, 2004).

Pemphigus is an autoimmune skin disease that can present in a variety of forms and can be a challenging
disease to manage and treat. An overview of the different forms of pemphigus and diagnostics are discussed
including pemphigus foliaceus (PF), pemphigus erythematosus (PE), panepidermal pustular pemphigus
(PPP), pemphigus vulgaris (PV) and paraneoplastic pemphigus (PNP). Emphasis on therapy is presented.
Included are the most current commonly used therapeutics (glucocorticoids, azathioprine, chlorambucil and tetracycline
and niacinamide); current alternative therapeutics (cyclosporin and tacrolimus and mycophenolate
mofetil) and additional alternative therapeutics (cyclophosphamide, chrysotherapy, dapsone, sulfasalazine and
intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy).

> ... I've switched him over to a mix of FirstMate Fish & Potato cat food and Natural Balance Duck & Green Pea, both of which are grain free and have limited ingredients. He's only been on it for just over a week but he seems to be getting worse, not better. I know sometimes this occurs as it can take some time for the old food to get out of the system but I'm still concerned.

Its not that the old food has to get out of his system as much as his system has to get used to the new food. The switch has to be gradual over a period of weeks if not months with a mixture of old food and new, gradually increasing the new in the mix proportionately over time. Fish as a primary ingredient is not the best choice for ferrets.

> Does this sound like an allergy to everyone else or does anyone think there might be something more going on?

It does not sound like a traditional allergy. Pemphigus is rare and therefore, not something a vet would likely leap to as a first consideration, however, I would ask that it be considered as a differential diagnosis.



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