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Kidney problems in ferret.

Species: Other
Breed: ferret
Age: 2-5 years
Hi there,

I am the owner of a ferret male, 2.5 years old, who in the last week, as started to change behaviour. He stopped playing and he became very sleepy and apathetic. I saw him vomiting like 3 days ago. He is also resting his head on the floor after one or two steps and taking a very strange body position, with the forehead on the ground, legs gathered together under his body and his back somehow upwards. Also a bad breath and body slow shivering (but not as seizure type. He refuses to eat anything and he has lost major body weight. Also, the feces are some dark colour and a little loose.

Vet told me he has renal failure, that his breath smells like urine and he made some injections with fluids, diuretics and steroids.

These are the blood test results:

Glucose 206 mg/dl
T-Cho 183 mg/dl
BUN 20 mg/dl
T-BIL 9.2 mg/dl
GOT 209 IU/L
GPT 149 IU/L
Creatinine 4.0 mg/dl

Do you know any specific disease that includes these abnormal values? Is there chance that he could make it? Any advice about what I should in the next days, apart from medication...such as diet and comfort at home?

Ferret is not a common pet in Romania and many vets have 0 experience. I am not 100% sure that the diagnosis is right 100%.

Please excuse my poor English and thanks a lot for your help. I really appreciate it!
Roxana


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Roxana and thanks for your question. First of all, your English is excellent, so no need to apologize!

It does indeed sound like Pif is very unwell. The biggest concern for me on his bloodwork is his creatinine level of 4. This tells us that there are serious problems with his kidneys. When an animal is having kidney problems, there will be toxins in the bloodstream and this can cause the breath to smell really bad.

Ferrets do indeed get renal failure. Often we don't know the cause. Sometimes we can trace it to ingesting something toxic such as grapes or certain types of plants (like some kinds of lillies).

If this is because of ingesting something toxic, there is a chance that he could possibly survive if he could be kept on intravenous fluids in the hospital. However, the creatinine level of 4 tells us that the chances of survival are unfortunately not good.

Ferrets are very well known for eating things they shouldn't. We often look for foreign bodies (intestinal obstructions) that can cause them to get very sick. However, usually if a ferret has an intestinal obstruction the vet can feel it by palpating his abdomen. While an intestinal obstruction can cause a mild elevation in creatinine it shouldn't cause it to be this high.

The other common diseases that ferrets get are insulinoma (a tumor on the pancreas) but this should cause a much lower glucose level, or adrenal gland disease (but the symptoms don't match).

Unfortunately it does sound like this may be chronic renal failure and you may not be able to save him. If your vet feels comfortable with administering intravenous fluids (as opposed to just under the skin) this is his best chance.

I really hope he starts to improve soon!
Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

I really think the answer is more than enough for me to understand whatever I was concerned about. My vet only gave him subcut fluids, so tomorrow I will ask him to make intravenous too.

Ufff...well, nothing to say. I hope that he will improve, he means the world to me.

Thank you so much for your time. You've been very helpful to me!

best regards,

Roxana


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome! Hopefully your vet will be able to give him intravenous fluids. If he can't, he can also look into giving him intraosseous fluids. This is where the needle to administer the fluids is inserted right into the bone. It sounds painful, but ferrets tolerate it well.

Let me know if you have more questions!
Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.