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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2004, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Ensure for Sick ferret

Hi, I was hoping someone out there might be able to help me. I have a sick ferret who has been having diahhrea for about a week now. He hasn't really been interested in his hard food so I've been giving him baby food. To help keep him hydrated, I had been giving him Ensure powder mixed with pedialyte. He likes this mixture so much, I usually let him have his fill of it - I'm just glad he's eating and drinking. Does anyone know if there's such a thing as TOO much Ensure - can it be harmful to them after a certain point? I know it's a non-dairy product, but it seems to have a lot of sugar in it.
Any advice?

Thanks
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2004, 10:22 PM
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How old is your ferret?
You don't want to give him too much sugar either, Have you had him in to see a vet? Blood work may be in order. You are right that fiahrea can cause dehydration, but it can also be a sign of something very sever, which onyl a vet would be able to say. Unfortunately when ferrets are sick they often hide it until it is almost too late. What color is the diahrea? I truthfull don't know anything about ensure but will do some digging to find out for you.

Have you also tried a duck soup recipe?? that is GREAT to feed sick ferrets.
here's a few you could try:
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/pets/ferret...ection-15.html (I see in these recipes it calls for Ensure!)
here are a bunch more too:
http://groups.msn.com/FerretFotograp...uprecipes.msnw

I hope that helps & please do keep us updated!!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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My ferret is 3.5 years (approximately-its been 1.5 since I adopted him and I was told he was 2 at the time).
I did take him to a vet, which leads me to another question-namely, how do I find a good vet for a ferret??! I wasn't too impressed with her skill.
She examined him and said she thought she felt something blocking. When she took x-rays, however, there wasn't anything there. Next, she wanted to run blood tests(about $100). I was hoping she would be able to examine the stool sample and rule out any type of viral or bacterial infection, anything like that so we would know whether it was just something he would get better from with time or something like that.
I haven't done the blood tests yet, because I was hoping he would get better on his own, and she said they may have to put him under anesthesia in order to get it.
The diahhrea has been different colors, depending on what he's eaten. Mostly it's light brown, but at times its been a mucousy green, and a dark reddish brown color (this was right after he had eaten ferretvite and I think it went straight through him).
I've been trying to follow some of the duck soup recipes, which is what led me to the Ensure. When I found he liked it straight, and would drink a lot of it, I didn't really think anything of it, I was just glad he was eating and drinking something. But now I'm second guessing myself and wondering if I'm causing more problems by giving him too much sugar that he'll become diabetic or have insulinoma.
So, I don't know if I'm worrying for nothing or not. I've dropped off the use of the Ensure, and he seems to be more active and gaining weight again, but he still has loose stool (not extremely watery like it had been before though).
I guess I'm just wondering if the sugar in Ensure is a bad kind for them, if it's comparable to giving them lots of candy, or if it's ok to give them (in the amounts that I was). Also, I guess if there's going to be any permanent effects from giving him all the Ensure.

Sorry for the wrong post!
Thanks.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 07:16 PM
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No need to be sorry!! I don't at all think you are over worrying! you are being a cautious loving ferret mom... nothing wrong in that! geez were to start...

first, one thing I thought of to maybe help the diareah... try making some instant white rice with a little beef flavoring in it & add some ensure if you'd like. He may or may not eat it, but it's wortha try to form better stools. also... if you don't already have some "ferretlax" get some. (I've been told vasoline is just as good) feed him about a 1" length strip of it once or twice a day... IF there is a furball or slight blockage that will help lubricate the digestive tract & help him pass it. I feed this to my ferrets periodically just as a precautionary measure. I have not found any evidence as of yet that the ensure will be bad for him. Still digging around though for more information. (I didn't have too much time to look last night) For now since it seems to be helping I think you should be fine. try maybe soaking some of his food with it & see if he will eat that? Speaking of which what kind of food are you feeding? That may or may not be contributing to the diareah.

Finding a good vet for ferrets is not easy. I have a link to aid in that though & will find it and post it in a bit for you!

Hang in there I think you are great in doing everything you can to help your baby out!!
Give him kisses on the nose for me!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 11:13 PM
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I would cut out the Ensure-he may like it, but the sugar it contains is no good for him. Continue with the Pedialyte; it will keep him hydrated and replace any electrolytes lost by the diarrhea. You need to get to the root of the diarrhea...had he been eating anything other than his main diet? (treats, etc.) Has he gotten into or eaten anything he shouldn't have? Blockages won't necessary cause diarrhea. They usually will cause skinny stool or lack of stool altogether. Any teeth grinding or pawing at the mouth? Has his stool been checked for giardia or coccidia? You can try a little canned pumpkin (not fresh) to help with the diarrhea.
With the diarrhea, you need to make sure he's eating and drinking regularly...like every 4 hours, at the least. Try mixing a can of A/D with a bit of warm water...you can get the A/D from your vet. Also, try feeding him Gerber's 2nd stage chicken baby food (plain, and warmed)
HTH
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Another Question

Thanks for the help! I have cut out the Ensure. Your comment about the Pedialyte leads me to another question - I was experimenting around with the different flavors, and he really likes the fruit one - now, that has more sugar than the unflavored kind (but he doesn't enthusiastically lick that up!)- do you think I should cut out all kinds of sugar, or is the danger of this kind of sugar in the flavored pedialyte minimal and I can safely give as much as he likes? (I do so hate depriving him of anything he enjoys so much!)

Some other comments of yours has also reaffirmed my belief that the vet I went was not very good. I too didn't understand how a blockage in the intestines or stomach would be causing diahhrea, if there was a blockage he wouldn't be going at all- but I trusted her, and when she wanted to do x-rays and I let her. This certainly wasn't a bad idea, it's just not where I would have thought we'd start. I thought she would at least examine the stool (which I brought in) to rule some basic things out- but she did not. She wants to run blood tests now, how do I find a vet who I'm more in sync with (one that would do things like checking the stools for those things you mentioned - by the way, what are giardia or coccidia?)

I have not noticed any teeth grinding, although he does occasionally paw at his mouth when eating and acts as if he's having difficulty chewing and / or swallowing. I thought perhaps he had a bad tooth and didn't like to eat his hard food (that's something else I didn't think of at the vet's, but she didn't check his mouth either), which would explain the weight loss. But would like explain the diahhrea? What does the pawing usually mean?

I don't know what caused the diahhrea - I don't know if was a bug or what, but he seems to be getting continually better. I'm glad to see that he has a lot more energy than he did over the weekend (he would sleep constantly unless I woke him to feed and water).

Thanks for all the helpful advice and good thoughts.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 12:33 AM
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Thanks Nancy!! Kemasa, give Nancy's suggestion a try... she has much more experience & knowlege than I do... please do let us know how it goes though!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-23-2004, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kemasa
Thanks for the help! I have cut out the Ensure. Your comment about the Pedialyte leads me to another question - I was experimenting around with the different flavors, and he really likes the fruit one - now, that has more sugar than the unflavored kind (but he doesn't enthusiastically lick that up!)- do you think I should cut out all kinds of sugar, or is the danger of this kind of sugar in the flavored pedialyte minimal and I can safely give as much as he likes? (I do so hate depriving him of anything he enjoys so much!)

Some other comments of yours has also reaffirmed my belief that the vet I went was not very good. I too didn't understand how a blockage in the intestines or stomach would be causing diahhrea, if there was a blockage he wouldn't be going at all- but I trusted her, and when she wanted to do x-rays and I let her. This certainly wasn't a bad idea, it's just not where I would have thought we'd start. I thought she would at least examine the stool (which I brought in) to rule some basic things out- but she did not. She wants to run blood tests now, how do I find a vet who I'm more in sync with (one that would do things like checking the stools for those things you mentioned - by the way, what are giardia or coccidia?)

I have not noticed any teeth grinding, although he does occasionally paw at his mouth when eating and acts as if he's having difficulty chewing and / or swallowing. I thought perhaps he had a bad tooth and didn't like to eat his hard food (that's something else I didn't think of at the vet's, but she didn't check his mouth either), which would explain the weight loss. But would like explain the diahhrea? What does the pawing usually mean?

I don't know what caused the diahhrea - I don't know if was a bug or what, but he seems to be getting continually better. I'm glad to see that he has a lot more energy than he did over the weekend (he would sleep constantly unless I woke him to feed and water).

Thanks for all the helpful advice and good thoughts.

I think the sugars in Pedialyte is minimal in comparison to other things he might/could eat. I wouldn't worry too much about it. How much is he getting? (my apologies if you already mentioned how much)
If you're not comfortable with the vet you're using or don't feel that they're very ferret knowledgeable, it's probably best to find a new one. Or you'll probably be spending a lot of wasted $$$ on someone you don't feel comfortable with and a lot of unnecessary tests and/or procedures, or God forbid one of your ferrets ends up getting misdiagnosed by this person. Where are you located? I might be able to find a ferret knowledgeable vet near you....
Coccidia and giardia are parasites that can cause diarrhea and other assorted gastrointestinal problems. Here are links to information on both of them...

Giardia

Coccidia

Pawing at the mouth can be a sign of nausea/stomach upset. Though, some ferrets do eat far too fast for their own good and end up getting food lodged in the roof of their mouth, and "paw" at it to get it out of there. So that may be what you're seeing, especially if he only does it when eating--if you see him pawing at his mouth in the middle of eating, then continue chewing, it's probably a piece of kibble stuck up there. Ferrets with narrow jaws tend to have this happen quite often. If he's pawing at his mouth when he's not eating, it's probably stomach upset, and something else would be going on. Try gently opening his mouth and checking for any abcesses on the gums or tongue or any ulcerations.
I'm glad to hear that he's improving. If he's lost a lot of weight, you can help him put some of that weight back on by supplementing his diet with A/D or the baby food and mixing in a little heavy whipping cream.
I hope your baby continues to improve....please keep us posted and if you need more help
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-03-2004, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks

I just wanted to thank everyone for being there in my time of need! I wanted to update you all as well. When I took Jasper to the vet a few weeks ago, his body weight was down to 1 lb 2 oz, but over the past few weeks he has been feeling better to the point where he has gained a lot of weight back! I took him to the vet yesterday to weigh him and he was at 2 lb 6 oz. I'm so proud! And so glad! I still don't know what it was caused by, but hopefully it's out of his system and not an on-going thing I need to deal with.

Thanks again!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-03-2004, 04:43 PM
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That is WONDERFUL!!! I am so relieved he is doing better!! He may have been stressed or had a flu type bug that had to run it's course with a little TLC from mommy!

Thanks for the update... now how bout some pictures
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 12:47 PM
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what great news!! I'm so glad to hear he's feeling better!
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