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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2002, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Well...

It all started Saturday afternoon... my oldest ferret went into seizures, and was in and out of lucidity for a while. Her temperature dropped to 95 (should be around 100) and her heart rate was half normal. So I took her down to the emergency after hours vet clinic. The vet hooked her up to an IV and started pumping her full of steroids and glucose to try and get her to snap out of it. Well, sometime around 11pm she finally gained some sense of awareness of her surroundings. I brought her home and then took her to my vet this morning, who promptly diagnosed her with insulinoma. Pancreatic cancer. I'm going to go with his diagnosis, because she is way too old to risk doing any surgery on to actually do a visual inspection of the pancreatic tissue. Its a rather common illness in ferrets, and usually goes pretty much unnoticed until it gets bad enough to show itself with a hypoglycemic episode - like we had on Saturday. This morning, she had a 38 blood sugar, when it should be around 110. Anyway... to make a long story short, she's fine now... acting like a normal ferret again (with one shaved leg where they put the IV in) and is on steroids and a special diet probably for the rest of her life.

How was everyone elses weekends?


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2002, 03:36 PM
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-19-2002, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies. I'm just taking things one day at a time. Making sure she is eating, drinking and taking her medicine. I think I'm going to go out and get one of those blood sugar meters for diabetics so I can test her every now and then myself just to make sure she is doing alright.

Right now, I have her on Hill's A/D prescription diet and some high protein cat food, but I'm not sure if it is a rounded enough diet and quite high enough in protein and fats to be a good long term option. My vet and I are both researching to see if there is a better option out there - aside from mixing our own concoction.

Luckily, my ferret has no adrenal problems. Turns out, that is one of the side effects of the steroid she is now on. Hopefully that won't become an issue too - though its not uncommon to have adrenal disease and insulnoma together. At least if something like that does occur though, there is one other medication that doesn't affect the adrenal glands which I can switch to, but its much more of a hassle because it is so expensive.

Thanks again,
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-24-2002, 09:08 AM
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I'm so sorry to hear about your ferret. I've been doing ferret rescues for years and recently lost two, one to adrenal tumors, and one to insulinoma. It's a heartbreaking thing to watch sometimes, but with proper care and love, your ferret can still lead a happy life. I wish you both the best of luck.

In regards to diet, I do make my own food for the ferrets, and supplement with Innova cat food. I'd be happy to pass along the recipe, if you'd like.

post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-24-2002, 12:52 PM
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Sorry to hear that Good luck
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-24-2002, 01:15 PM
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I am so sorry to hear about your poor little critter It is so hard when our little babys get sick.I wish you the best ,take care Flemish.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-24-2002, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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I'd be very much interested in your food recipe Skunkluv. She is doing well now, back to her normal self again - but any help for a diet would be much appreciated.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-24-2002, 04:44 PM
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Rav, the recipe that I use a modified version is the one that I use for my skunks. The version that I am going to type up here based on one that I used for a ferret I was given not long ago with shelter shock. I nearly lost him. I used it as a base for duck soup, and then increased his recipe intake and reduced his meds. When I saw how well he was doing on it, and how much he enjoyed it, I started my others on it as well. The result has been amazing. Their coats are thick and silky, they have less of an odor to them and to their litter box, and they are much more healthy. If you have any quesitons about it or the ingredients, just let me know.

What you will do is basically just mix all of the ingredients together. I'm not sure how many ferrets you have, but one batch will last my three a month. You can divide it up in to baggies or containers, and freeze the rest, just taking out what you need for a two or three day supply. I offer them about a quarter cup in the morning and again in the evening. They always have a bowl of Innova available. Mine didn't take to fresh or frozen veggies easily, so I use the baby food mixed in the recipe. The absolutely devour it! It did take my healthy two a bit to get used to it. I would but a teaspoon of the recipe in with a small handfull of Innova, and then increased the recipe ammount until they were eating it alone. I also heat it up for about ten seconds, just to take the chill off. If you heat it too long, or cook the meat, it kills the nutritional value of the vitamins as well as the what is contained in the meat.

When you read through it, it does look overwhelming. And of course, there is some initial cost involved. But, it lasts you forever, and the results are well worth it. If you choose not to add the Healthy powder, you can use a product called Missing Link for felines. It is a dietary supplement that you can find at the health food store and some animal supply stores. Follow the dosage directions on the package, adding it daily to their food, instead of to the recipe. It does need to be refrigerated, but will again last you quite some time. If I remember the dosage correctly, it is 1/2 teaspoon to ten pounds. So, you won't need to add very much!

Again, if you have any questions, please let me know!


Ferret Delight

2 pounds raw ground turkey
2 eggs
4 tbs healthy powder (outlined below)
2 tbs bonemeal powder (human grade, main source of calcium)
2 tbs cold-pressed vegetable oil (safflower, soy or corn)
200 I.U. vitamin E (D-Alpha)
500 mg taurine (an amino acid, helps to prevent eye and cardiac diseases)
6 medium size jars baby food vegetables, variety.

Healthy Powder

2 cups nutritional yeast (not Brewer's. Good source of iron and other vitamins)

1 cup lecithin granules (allows for the break down and absorbtion of fats contained in foods)

1/4 cup kelp powder (contains iodine and trace minerals)

1/4 cup bonemeal powder (yes, again)

1,000 mg vitamin C
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-24-2002, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much... its not overwhelming at all. I hand make my sugar glider diet, my hedgehog diet and my iguana diets, so its nothing new for me to be shopping for tons of ingredients for pet food. I have three ferrets... and I may just put them all on the diet and see how it works. My sick little girl is the oldest of the three, at almost 9 now, and this is the first real health problem any of them have had.

And thanks to you all for your words... its always nice to know theres a place like this that we can not only get information, but have some people to talk to - some of who have been through it all before.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-24-2002, 08:00 PM
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You are very welcome, Rav. And if there is anything else that I can do for you, just let me know. Keep me posted on how she does!

post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2002, 08:29 PM
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Rav, I'm very sorry to hear about your fert
Hate to be a pain, but I'm going to have to strongly disagree with the jars of baby food vegetables in that recipe. Ferrets do not do well on vegetables. They offer no nutritional value whatsoever. I would substitute Gerber's 2nd stage plain chicken jarred food. I think the label says it contains chicken broth--don't buy the ones w/ anything else added. And if your ferret needs to put a little weight on, you can add some heavy whipping cream(not whip cream) to the mix.
The best way to keep her hypoglycemic attacks down is with frequent feedings and sticking to her meds schedule. Also avoid any treats with sugar in them. If the insulinoma starts making her nauseous(indicated by pawing at the mouth...also grinding of the teeth), you can ask your vet to prescribe some Carafate. Give this to her about 10-20 minutes before you feed her.
Also if you get one of those home blood test type of machines intended for diabetics, be aware that they are calibrated for humans and your ferret's reading may not be accurate.


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