Sick Ferret

Laceface

Arachnoknight
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Nov 20, 2006
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Our poor little abbie is all sick. She's been bad for awhile, just sleeps and eats, but now shes got that along with shaking and twitching. Poor little thing, shes in my hoodie pocket, where I can calm her when she has one of her fits, only up lng enough to grab a bite of food, a drink, and stumble to a litter box.. Worried about her. I guess my father thinks its some diabetic thing, poor little girl. Has anyone ever had this problem, know if her symptoms fit it, or know of something else her symptoms could be?
-constant sleeping, but is eating, drinkign and using toilet
- shakes and twitches, stretches out limbs, and other times just shakes
-her tummy feels a bit hard too, not sure if she is peeeing.

Any help at all would be wonderful :)
 

titus

Arachnosquire
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Jan 12, 2007
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From what your said, I can't say this sounds good I would get to a vet ASAP. We had a ferret that had simular problems a while back. We had her at the vet every few weeks just to have to put her down ( she was having cramps often). The vet stated that it could have been a prexisting nurilogical problem. See your vet, get some tests done and I wish you the best.
 

bugmankeith

Arachnoking
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She may have eaten a foreign object and is unable to pass it, see a vet immedietly! Even if she is going to the bathroom something could still be inside.
 

Snipes

Arachnoprince
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I second Bugmankeith, it might be impaction and you should seek a vet right away!
 

Code Monkey

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Possibly insulinoma, a very common disease in North American ferret populations. It is simular to diabetes. It is caused by tiny "benign" tumours in the pancreas that secrete far too much insulin and as a result the ferret cannot maintain sufficient levels of glucose or glycogen in the blood.

In addition to lethargy, increased or strained urination, another common "tell" symptom is grinding of the teeth.

Ideally, it is treated surgically by removal of as many of the nodule tumours as possible and sometimes a partial removal of the pancreas to reduce insulin production. When surgery is not an option because of cost, the alternative is hormone therapy to suppress pancreas function.

Unfortunately, with or without treatment, the end prognosis is often death because it's difficult to impossible to find all the tumours and they are likely to reoccur, but with treatment you can buy years of healthy living.

However, that's only one possibility and the one symptom you describe that I particularly don't care for, though, is the hard abdomen. Another very common disease in ferrets is lymphoma. Because of the abnormal leukocytes, the spleen becomes very enlarged, sometimes occupying a significant portion of the abdomen, and is easily felt during an abdominal palpation. Unfortunately, although chemo is a possibility, efficacy is spotty and the disease is so fast moving that keeping the critter comfortable is about all you can do in most cases.

Get that animal to a vet and have them do a basic blood workup. If it's insulinoma, it is trivial to diagnose and a ruleout will let them investigate other possibilities.

- Chip
(ferret owner since 1988 and married to a veterinarian who treats ferrets)
 

Laceface

Arachnoknight
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Oooh, thank you much. Vet's office are closed, and my father is calling vets tomorrow. We recently had one who broke a leg, and found an awesome vet when they did that. Till then, were continuing with the cuddle her for warmth, letting her sleeping, taking her to litterbox/food/water, and giving her all the duck soup she wants. No change in her behaviour so far. Thanks for the info guys, Ill tell ya how it goes when she gets to a vet.
 

Taceas

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Interesting...

We've had our ferret since 2001 and this past year he's gotten progressively worse. I personally just chalked it up to old age as I've never really heard of domestic ferrets living a life-span that say, a cat would. He goes to the vet every year for shots/deworming and a check-up.

He sleeps most of the time, hardly any playtime like before. I know ferrets sleep a lot, but he's stopped playing with his toys the past few months and when he isn't taking care of the basics, just sleeps in his hammock.

He "shivers" with everything he does. It's like he's always cold, but he feels toasty as can be. He's in a 70* room, so I know he's warm enough.

His drinking has increased to ridiculous levels. I'm filling up a 64oz bottle everyday. I know they have high metabolisms, but never like this.

He also has these scabby sores on his skin that we can't account for where they're coming from. He's never had fleas or other external parasites that I know of. And he doesn't have those phantom itches that I've noticed. We also don't bathe him excessively. Maybe 3 or 4 times a year.

I feel bad when friends and family come over to play with him and cuddle on him and he looks like I've been mistreating him, when he leads a pretty charmed life comparatively.

*sigh*
 

titus

Arachnosquire
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hu..

The avarage ferret lives from 5-8 years though I've had some go well over this age. From what you discribe it sounds like aneima though it's not usall found in males. It usally only comes up when females are in prolonged heat. It could also point to a lympnoid problem it's farily commen in ferrets and can be treated based on the lympnoid it's afecting (the left due to placement is harder to treat).
 

Code Monkey

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It could also point to a lympnoid problem it's farily commen in ferrets and can be treated based on the lympnoid it's afecting (the left due to placement is harder to treat).
That's not a lymphoid problem you're describing, rather adrenal disease. It's another "benign" tumour, this time on the adrenal glands at the top of the kidneys. The left is connected to the vena cava and why it's harder to treat.

I didn't mention this one because it's almost always accompanied by hair loss starting at the base of the tail and progressing upward, which I figured he would have mentioned as a symptom.
 

Laceface

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It's insulinoma. Her blood sugar was at like 74 at the vets today- after eating. They're putting her on special food, adn if theres no imporvement, shes goin on some drug that starts with a p (sorry, cant remember its name!) We also have to check her blood sugar and such. Hopefully shell get better1
 

Laceface

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Oooh, thank you! yep, that was the stuff. We just don't know how old she is. We don't want to put her through surgery when shes so old. If it reaches that point, definitely.
Currently, shes sleeping in my hoodie, as she has for the past few hours. Woke up long enough to gobble up some duck soup, go to the bathroom, and drink, n now shes sleepin again...such a sweet little girl
 

Code Monkey

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We just don't know how old she is. We don't want to put her through surgery when shes so old. If it reaches that point, definitely.
That makes sense. My one ferret that eventually needed put down from insulinoma related complications had the surgery at 4 1/2. She was fine for over 2 years before symptoms recurred. At that point, we went with prednisone treatment since surgery was a bad risk. It worked for some months, but eventually it progressed to the point that she could no longer take in enough calories to offset the hyper insulin production and her body began to autodigest muscle.

Good luck.
 

Laceface

Arachnoknight
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Aww, Im sorry to here about that. Abbie has gained weight since we got her (rather recently) and all she does is sleep and heat. Hopefully shell be okay for a little while. How many do you guys have?
 

Laceface

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Little update and another question. Abby is doin better, she has special duck soup with vitamins, shes more active, and sleeps a bit less...Only thing, shes losing all the longer dark hairs on her back, and back end. Could this be a sign of adrenal? Or is it a result of the insulinoma? Any ideas would be appreciated. Ive come to love the little one, heh
 

monty_

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Apr 17, 2006
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Little update and another question. Abby is doin better, she has special duck soup with vitamins, shes more active, and sleeps a bit less...Only thing, shes losing all the longer dark hairs on her back, and back end. Could this be a sign of adrenal? Or is it a result of the insulinoma? Any ideas would be appreciated. Ive come to love the little one, heh

Hello. We had the same problems with our ferret. And that was a common bacterial infection, so after some antibiotics she recovered after a few weeks. When ferrets gets sick they get really sick and show nasty symptoms.

And about the hairs.. I do thinkt they change ther coat.

I hope she do fine.
 
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