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Michele

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ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 4:49 PM
It's nice to see some fellow ferret owners.  I don't come across very many in the 3d world!

Well, here's my problem.  This is going to be a long read but I think the ferret's history and symptoms, diet etc should all be given.

I have two ferrets (an albino and a dark brown masked) and the albino is constantly having medical issues.  He has a very bloated stomach this week.  
His stool is normal size and he's peeing, so I'm wondering what would cause him to bloat in just a few days (it's occurred in less than 7 days), I can't imagine he could get fat this quickly.  The tummy area is pretty big and the skin is pretty taut.
Both ferrets have always been given identical (mostly natural) diets, they have always shared a cage and they're only a few months apart in age.
The younger one (dark brown, masked) never ever gets sick.  He always has lots of energy.  He had the greenies when I first brought him home in late 2005 but he got over that within a few days. My albino didn't seem to catch it from him even though they share a cage.

My older ferret is about 4 1/2 years old (an albino) and he seems to now be getting one problem right after another.  He was apparently born deaf. He started losing his fur last year and I took him to get an adrenal gland removed this year.  The gland was indeed bad (and the cause of his fur loss) but the vet saw spots on his other organs, did a biopsy and told me he might have cancer.  
The report came back that my albino had the greenies, not cancer.  
I was relieved but a little puzzled.  It had been over 4 years since he'd been exposed to the new ferret that had the greenies.  They never leave the house (they're in the cage mostly) and I'm never around other animals.  
I suppose the greenies can incubate in the body for a long time before erupting?
I have read a ferret never gets the greenies twice and his only exposure was our other ferret who had it many years ago. So it's almost as if the adrenal gland problem gave the greenies the opportunity to come out of their dormancy.

So, after the albino getting over the greenies and recovering from adrenal surgery this year, he was back to normal.  Fur all grew back the last couple of months finally.

Then he started getting what appears to be a small mole on his head, which is black and then another mole appeared (which was black and is now just skin color).  I figure I might as well move in to the vet's office at this rate!

Anyway, he hasn't gotten the moles checked out yet but right now he's having this bloating issue.

He's scratching (biting) a lot, which makes me fear that the other adrenal gland might be going bad already but he apparently has no blockage.  His stool is normal and he's urinating.
Any ideas what could be causing the bloating that has appeared within a few days?

Their normal diet is poultry. I usually cut, then immediately freeze, raw organic chicken and heat it up to feed them, as well as feeding a raw egg yolk a day (never white because it has Avidin).  
They've never had any intestinal blockages, this diet makes the stool soft and formed but not fluid or runny.

The exception here is that the albino used to pass cloth threads that he chewed up when he was really little; he was fed Totally Ferret back then and I started reading up and got him to go to a raw diet a couple of months after that (not easy to change a ferret's diet!)
And of course I also made sure he has never had any access to cloth for chewing on since then.

How I prepare their food:

For the yolks, I crack the egg and then just keep separating the white (that blocks B Vitamin absorption when it's raw) from the yolk.  I've done this so long I can literally hold the yolk in my fingers without it breaking and I then pull off any traces of the white (clear) part that tries to stick to the yolk.  

For the chicken, I run the chopped-up chicken pieces under hot water to thaw it out (which also happens to cook most of the outer part of the little chicken pieces).
However, the last several days, I have run out of their regular organic chicken and have been giving them chicken slices (sandwich slices) for a few days.  They've never eaten just sandwich slice chicken for this many days in a row.

I'm sure there's a lot of sodium in the sandwich slices and they're not organic. Could that be the cause of the bloating?

He's acting normal (except all the itching).  He does seem a *little* more tired than usual but he hasn't been out of his cage to run around (until now) for a few days.

Any guess what's causing the big tummy?  Is it something in the chicken slices? Is the sandwich chicken's sodium causing water retention bloat (even though his pee seems normal)?
The other ferret is a tad bit fat but his tummy isn't as bloated as the albino's.  Any theories would be greatly appreciated.


bandit99

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 5:43 PM
My best advice would be another trip to the vets office. I to feel like I should live there sometimes. With as many as I have it feels like your there an awful lot.
I was wondering. Where are you from?



 
Fuzzbutts Rule!

Michele

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 5:50 PM
It's not easy getting in to see my vet.  His practice is in another town and I know of none other who knows much about ferrets. Thank God there's only one species of humans, eh?  And think of how many specialist doctors we humans have.....

I'll continue searching the internet for clues.
Extreme Wardance

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 7:23 PM
The bloating is from malnutrition and the dangerously high sodium in the processed "chicken" sandwich meat. Your ferret is not getting the proper nutrients. I am sorry but what gave you the idea ferrets can live on just plain chicken with egg with no bone or organs and ....... PLAIN  sandwich meat???
 
Please if you are going to feed a raw diet do it right. Ferrets need variety and even if you did feed bone and liver like you should be they cannot live off of just one meat because different types of meat all have different nutrients. PLEASE check out holistic ferret forum to learn how to properly feed your ferrets a raw diet.
 
http://holisticferret.proboards.com/index.cgi
<message edited by Extreme Wardance on Friday, July 03, 2009 7:25 PM>
Extreme Wardance

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 7:26 PM
since there is probably no way you can get them to eat bone and organ over night i suggest either picking up some commercial raw from a local store that you hopefully have around and give them that or just get a bag of ferret kibble. It is very important they get the proper nutrients since they are malnurished.
Michele

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 8:06 PM
I used to feed whole chicken but one of the bones got stuck in his gum (raw bones, not cooked of course) and caused my albino to bleed like crazy.  I quit feeding bones after that because I figure if they can stab his gums, what could happen to his stomach.
I guess grinding bones into powder is a possibility.  I have also sanitized and pulverized eggshell for calcium but I never want to overdo any mineral.  They do occasionally get a mineral ferretvite type of supplement from time to time.

I've tried to get them to eat small bits of liver on occasion, they just are really, really picky so I have to "mask" the flavor by covering it with egg yolk. 
They occasionally get turkey and the albino will eat certain types of fish (always cooked, never raw).  I don't know if I could get them to eat mice (mice on ice or whatever) or rabbits.
I have some duck soup (that they will never eat) but one thing I've never tried is mixing it with egg yolk.  I'll see if he'll eat it that way.

I've been feeding this diet (I don't mean the sandwich meat...that was just for emergencies, actually) for years and as I said, my dark ferret has been healthy as a horse... he's a firecracker, total bundle of energy and quite an acrobat.
It's my albino that has had one issue after another.

Thank you for your input but changing his diet is not going to help him at this precise moment.  He is still bloated. 
His stool is normal and he's urinating so at least I know it's not intestinal blockage.  I'm always on my toes watching out for that kind of thing.

I live a long ways from the ferret vets out here in the toolies and the two that are around, are not available on weekends, especially not this weekend.
Emergency clinics in this region don't do ferrets but there is one that told me they might be able to put a suffering ferret to sleep.

I think he'll be ok until I can get him to the vet.  I'm not about to experiment with diuretics right now (natural or otherwise).
Amyjk

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 9:10 PM
He could be bloated from the sodium.  To try and "flush" the sodium out of his system, stop feeding the chicken slices!  Then make sure he is drinking plenty of fresh, plain water.  The more he drinks the better.  I wouldn't try forcing him to drink if he is drinking on his own right now.  BUT, he could be bloated from adrenal.  My ferret Fawn was a little bloated and gassy when her symptoms started to appear.  I feel it helped that I put her in the tub with a little warm water (not too warm) and while she was in there, I massaged her tummy.  It seemed to help a little.
 
 We miss you Moose!
Extreme Wardance

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 9:32 PM
*sigh*
 
Do you understand that malnutrition is very serious and can lead to death? He needs something different to eat like what I mentioned. Lunchmeat is in NO WAY safe for a ferret (again who told you that is OK?) to eat and does way more harm than good.
Michele

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 10:08 PM

He could be bloated from the sodium. To try and "flush" the sodium out of his system, stop feeding the chicken slices! Then make sure he is drinking plenty of fresh, plain water. The more he drinks the better. I wouldn't try forcing him to drink if he is drinking on his own right now. BUT, he could be bloated from adrenal. My ferret Fawn was a little bloated and gassy when her symptoms started to appear. I feel it helped that I put her in the tub with a little warm water (not too warm) and while she was in there, I massaged her tummy. It seemed to help a little.


Of course I have stopped feeding the chicken slices.   They were never really a normal part of their diets, more like something to fall back on if chicken ran out.  My question was whether it was the sodium in them that's the cause of this.   

Even though the chicken slices say "natural", I know there's no regulations on foods unless they are USDA organic and even then....there's a lot of bad things with "certified" organic that most people aren't aware of.
I was hoping the sodium and anything else they add in (but don't mention on the package) was the culprit to this or if it's completely unrelated.

And with the water, he has his water right beside him.  He likes ice in it.  :)  An animal generally knows what/how much he needs and since he is bloated, I certainly wouldn't force any on him but I set it there for him just in case the sodium's the main problem and he could drink what he needed to dilute it. 
He hasn't had any chicken slices since yesterday but for all I know, the sodium (and whatever else) could still be in his system.

He just had one adrenal gland out a few months ago but he never had bloating as a symptom that I recall, just hair falling out.  I thought he was shedding his coat until the hair loss finally started getting "patchy". 

I guess it's possible that the other gland has just now gotten bad (really quickly) and it hasn't had time to make his hair fall out again and is simply also showing a different symptom (bloating) this time but with the first gland, the symptoms were much more subtle and didn't come on quickly.

When your adrenal ferret bloated, did it happen in a few days or overnight?

Michele

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Re:ferret bloat - Friday, July 03, 2009 10:28 PM
Extreme Wardance, You contribute NOTHING to this discussion except to get attention for yourself.  Stop fixating and shut up.
<message edited by Michele on Friday, July 03, 2009 11:47 PM>
sinnead

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 12:05 AM
It could be adrenal causing an enlarged spleen, or it could be the sodium. Since he's no longer eating the slices, do keep an eye out on how much he's drinking. If the bloating is causing any tummy upset, he may not want to drink either, which in turn will lead to dehydration. If that starts to happen, you may have to syringe fluids.
Do yours eat any soupies? That would get more fluids into them as well.
Just an aside- I really would try to get them to eat at least 3 different type of proteins, and supplement with calcium and uncoated multivitamin tabs if they won't eat bone/liver. If you'd like some tips on getting them to eat these things, pm me
Extreme Wardance

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 6:54 AM
Is this how you treat all people who give you advise? Why did you join this forum if you are just going to shun advise given because it isn't what your highness wants to hear?  Why bother feeding raw at all if you are going to be LAZY about it. You are doing more harm then good but I guess you have to discover that yourself now. Have fun with that....
wenmister

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 7:53 AM
All participants should stop commenting on the intelligence or motivations of the other participants. I will not accept any more posts with such personal comments.  Rudeness will not be tolerated.

Thank you for your cooperation

Ferret.com Moderator




chatrat

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 8:56 AM
First off, the "moles" are most likely Mast Cell Tumors.  These
are benign tumors, but would need to be removed by a vet to
reduce the risk of them becoming malignant later on. 
Secondly, the excessive itching is quite possibly coming from the
other gland.  It's not uncommon following an adrenalectomy for
the other gland to become diseased.  You  could do the surgery
again to remove the gland, or treat with Lupron and Melatonin.
Thirdly, I would be more concerned with the bloating.  It's possible
that it's from the higher sodium diet, but since you also said he seems
tired, it could indicate heart problems or be an enlarged spleen. Either
of these are serious.  I would see a vet ASAP!
  
Amyjk

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 12:21 PM
Michele, the bloating was sudden.  It wasn't bad though.  It just looked like her tummy was a little 'distended'  She was gassy, because during her bath she tooted a couple times...LOL  But I do have to mention she was never tired, or sluggish, she just acted like her normal self.  I was probably more worried than I should have been.  That being said, after her bath, her tummy looked much better.
Oh also, her hairloss/thinning was sudden as well.  Just wanted to throw that in.
 
I would say if he's not better by now, he definately needs a vet visit.
Hope he is feeling better soon!
 
 
*I would like to add that while it may seem sometimes that I am being rude, or impolite, I really, truely do not mean to come off that way.  I honestly just want to learn and try to do the best I can to take the best care (to my abilities) for my ferrets.  So I apologize to anyone that may have ever been offended by anything I have said.  I think we can all agree that we love our furbabies, and because of that, we should respect each other.  For their sake.
Please do not reply to this last part of this message in this post, if you feel you need to say anything to me, please pm me.  My intentions of this message was not to get into a debate, argument.......or whatever you want to call it (I can't seem to find the right words.... )   So, anyways....let's all be friends, o.k.?
 
(hope this is alright to post....?  If not, mods, feel free to delete it, I won't be offended)
 
 We miss you Moose!
Michele

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 5:28 PM
The way he's been scratching non-stop the last couple of days, I really am starting to suspect adrenal problems (with the remaining gland).

The odd thing is he's acting normal, very alert/responsive and all that.  It's just the fact that his lower half is so big is what's concerning me and how suddenly it appeared.
He's sleeping a lot (which has always been normal for him) but the big change is the constant itching/scratching (he's been itchy all his life but right now it's worse than usual) and even though he's always been rather passive when it comes to exercise, he's understandably not walking around much except to use the litter box. 

He's drinking his water normally and his stool is normal, though pretty frequent.
I can get him to sometimes eat tiny chunks of liver if I cover it in egg yolk.  If you've got any other tricks, I'm anxious to hear.  I don't know why a ferret would turn its nose up to organs and dark meat, it seems like it should be more natural for them to crave that.

I have a couple of forms of liquid supplements but I am a proponent of them getting the nutrients from the source to help ensure uptake but I'm not a hardcore prey advocate.  That's the reason I'm not on holistic forums.  I like the idea of feeding them closer to their natural diet and since ferrets are carnivores and don't digest fiber (corn and other fillers that shelf-foods have), I do believe in giving them some natural foods (raw and organic, when possible; I freeze them so that microbes can hopefully be killed off).
I know cooking and even freezing probably diminishes some nutrients but I feel that pet food that is processed and cooked and sitting on a shelf with preservatives can't be any better.

The one thing that they thankfully WILL usually eat (without having to disguise the flavor with an egg yolk) is fat.  I take the skin off a chicken (they've never gotten obese from eating it) and let them chew away.  :D  Chewing the fat, so to speak.

I've tried Duck Soup before but they will not eat that either.. one thing I haven't tried, though, is mixing it with egg yolk.
He's not having problems eating at all right now, I'm just thinking that maybe I shouldn't be overfeeding him since he's towing some bigger cargo at the moment.  I gave him more of his vitamin and ferretone type supplements last night and going to try to get him to eat liver (he sometimes will, sometimes won't, I'll have to cut it up in small pieces and cover it with yolk) today.


wenmister

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 5:44 PM

The odd thing is he's acting normal, very alert/responsive and all that. It's just the fact that his lower half is so big is what's concerning me and how suddenly it appeared.


Does he look like pear shape?  This is usually a sign of adrenal

Itching is also sign of adrenal

>That's the reason I'm not on holistic forums.

I believe you have the wrong idea about holistic forum.  They are all about natural diet. Please stop over there and check it out.  They are very helpful and friendly forum.  Gulianne has some post in the food section......please check them out. 



His cargo weight......maybe due to adrenal or enlarge spleen.

<message edited by wenmister on Saturday, July 04, 2009 8:25 PM>
Michele

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 5:59 PM
Yeah, Chatrat, one of the spots (it appeared very recently) is more of a mole.  The black one is more of a "spot".  I can't call it a freckle but I guess it's not really a mole in the sense of hanging off the skin like a skin tag.  I never noticed bumps on the ferret before now.

I thought that the adrenals got tumors and that made them go bad and that was the reason for removal.  The vet didn't offer lupron.
Next visit, I hope to ask the vet about using melatonin to see if it will keep the other one (who's about to turn 4) from ever getting adrenal problems.  I really hate either of them having to have surgery but the vet did say that he does a lot of adrenalectomies.  It's a very common problem.  His best theory is that it's because they're neutered so young.

I think I read that UK ferrets that are kept outdoors in cages don't have adrenal problems except rarely.  I guess that would be an issue of light exposure in addition to neutering problems.  I'll try to figure out where I saw that.
Indoor light has UV rays and I think there are three bands: A, B, and C.  I read a while back where some holistic (people) doctor cited some new findings on the effects of getting "indoor radiation" because of the UV band that a window can block out (or something along those lines).   I forgot what the article specifically mentioned but I'll try to find it later.
Michele

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 6:03 PM
Amyjk, I can't speak for anyone else but I don't find your posts in the least bit offensive.  :)
Thanks for the info, too.  He doesn't seem gassy at all.  Stool seems normal.  It's the bloating.  I'm going to try to take a picture of him and see if I can upload it if there's an upload tool on here.
Michele

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Re:ferret bloat - Saturday, July 04, 2009 6:10 PM
Wenmister, I actually stopped in the middle of my thoughts.

What I meant to say is not everyone on a holistic forum is going to be hardcore but I've run into many people who think that those of us who don't feed live mice are whimps.
That sort (in my experience) thinks anyone who does anything less than that does not really care about their ferret. I care about all animals and I love my ferrets and I wouldn't try to turn my little carnivore into an omnivore.  ;)  Neither would I try to make them eat like their cousin the mink who has a lot of fish in his diet.  Ferrets' ancestors probably didn't eat very many fish in the wild.

I guess I'm somewhere in the middle.  I don't want to feed non-meat but I don't like the idea of chucking mice and rabbits into their cage either.  :D
The majority of the people on holistic forums may not be hardcore but I'm not eager to put up with the ones who are. 
I'm happy here.  This forum has fewer trolls than most, thank God.

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