View Full Version : Ferret -Kidney Failure?

11-22-2002, 01:23 AM
My 6 year old female ferret "Coco" has been hospitalized for kidney failure
(?). The doctors have been treating her with IV fluids and medication. She
has been in the hospital since November 16th, 2002 and they have been taking
blood tests and urinalysis as well as x-rays. She went from a blood urea
nitrogen (BUN) level of 310 to 132 to then up to 250. They will have to
take another blood test again to see if she improves. Any advice you have
for me would be appreciated.

11/21/02 10:46pm
Today's visit was very upsetting. She was moved from ICU to another room
where she was not incubated nor was she on IV fluids. I was told by the
receptionist after repeated questioning (because no one including the doctor
or the vet tech would come to speak with me) regarding why she was not on IV
fluids. Her response was that they had given her a bath at 4:30pm and that
they were waiting for her to dry. That was 5 hours ago. Should a sick animal
be stressed even more by giving it a bath? I understand she needs to be
clean but I just visited her on Tuesday and she looked fine. Why was an ICU
patient with serious toxic level in her blood not put back on IV drip right
away? Will this affect the blood test that was taken that night? Will it be
accurate? I went away from the Tuesday's (11/19/02) visit very happy and
upbeat but tonight's visit was very upsetting. I understand we were there 10
minutes before 10pm (due to traffic and bad weather) but I just wanted
someone to clarify why she was not on IV fluids because that was the sole
reason why she was there to be treated for. We are spending thousands of
dollars and no one person would speak with us, just for a little bit to
clarify something for us, because visiting hours were over at 10pm. So far,
she's been hospitalized since last Saturday (5 days ago) and we have not
gotten any clear answers on what exactly her illness is. If she is dying, I
would rather have her die at home or be more comfortable at home. I
mentioned about the heat and Coco not being in an incubator and the
receptionist just asked someone in there to turn it on at that moment. I
don't know if she is still being force fed because she still seems awfully
skinny? I don't know if they are keeping track of how much food she is
eating or if she is eating at all (because don't ferrets tend to eat the
food they are familiar with because of the smell that's been imprinted in
their brain at a young age) and why are they feeding her cat food (canned
and solid)? I normally feed her Totally Ferret Food. Is that okay? From the
visit on Tuesday, she looked good. But from Thursday's visit, she looked
sickly to me, like she's deteriorated. Again, why was she not put on IV
fluids right away? When I spoke with doctor on 11/17 Sunday, he said the blood
test looked serious (off the chart) and he stressed that it was a serious
condition and that it doesn't look very good. And all the doctors said they
were trying very hard to get her kidneys working again and that it was very
important to flush out the high level of toxins in her body so why wasn't she put on IV fluids right away? Her BUN level went from 310 on 11/17 to 132 on 11/19 then back up to 250 on 11/21. Another blood test will be taken tonight.

Thank you kindly for your help!:confused:

11-22-2002, 07:34 AM
Hey ferret folks, any experience with this?

11-22-2002, 09:28 AM
How long has your vet treated ferrets? There are so many vets that are completely unknowledgable about ferrets, but try to treat them anyway. I can't believe they gave her a bath. Completely unneeded. Even if she was so sick that she went to the bathroom on herself, they could've used something like baby wipes to clean her up. Stressing an already very ill animal out with a bath is lunacy to me.

What are these blood tests testing for? You said the vet said the blood tests were off the chart. What was it in the blood that was testing off the chart. If they can't give you any answers, they need to let her go home with you. Personally if it was me, I'd make sure she was stable and start calling around for a more experienced vet to take her to. I'd also e-mail Dr. Bruce Williams with your entire post about how your fuzzy is doing and what this vet has done. Dr. Williams is a very ferret knowledgable vet and lectures at many ferret events. He should be able to shed some light on your fuzzy's condition.

Dr. Williams email:
Bruce Williams DVM
[email protected]

Check out www.ferretcentral.org they have great information. Look under resources at all the health pages. Here's a list of New York vets reccommended:
Fine Animal Hosp
Listing needs reverification
701 Bedford Road
Bedford Hills

Brockport Animal Hosp
Listing needs reverification
6352 Brockport-Spencerport Rd

Broadway Animal Hosp of Riverdale
Dr. Scott Luckow
5664 Broadway

Fifth Avenue Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Roy J. Appel
9102 5th Ave

Burnt Hills Animal Hospital
Dr Ferrell
Goode St
Burnt Hills

West Hills Animal Hospital
Dr. Heidi Hoefer
800 West Jericho Tpke
[email protected]

All Creatures Vet Clinic
733 West Park Ave
Long Beach

St. Mark's Vet
Listing needs reverification
3148 East 9th St

Massapequa Hosp for Animals
Paul LaPorta
4186 Sunrise Hwy

Massapequa Pet Vet
Dr. Ned Horowitz and Dr. Stephanie Ulrich
5404 Merrick Road

East Bay Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Gary Selmonsky
2314 Merrick Rd., Suite 6

Monroe Animal Hospital
Lonnie Kasman, DVM
427 Rt. 17M
[email protected]

New Hyde Park Animal Hospital
David Kolins
615 Jericho Turnpike
New Hyde Park

Pearl River animal Hosp
Loreen Zepf
19 S. Rt. 304
Pearl River
[email protected]

Jefferson Animal Hospital
Jeff & Brian Rose, DVM
606 Patchogue Rd (Rte 112)
Port Jefferson Station

[email protected]

Companion Animal Hospital
Listing needs reverification
2800 West Henrietta Rd

Union Street Bird Clinic
Dr Hartman
Union Ave.

Smithtown Village Animal Hosp
Listing needs reverification
171 W. Main St

Island Bird,Cat, & Dog Vet Group
Dr. Frank A. Scandaglia
943 Manor Road
Staten Island
[email protected]

Animal Doctor's Clinic
Listing needs reverification
258 Warren St

Central vet Assoc
Listing needs reverification
73 W. Merrick Rd
Valley Stream

Sunrise Veterinary Group
521 Sunrise Hwy.
West Islip

Nassau Animal Emergency Group, P.C.

740 Old Country Road


Bond Animal Hosp
Douglas G. Aspros, D.V.M.
Geoffrey I. McKenzie, D.V.M.
250 Central Ave
White Plains
[email protected]

Totally Ferret is an excellent food. You also might want to try mixing your fuzzy's Totaly Ferret with another high quality ferret food. Ferrets tend to imprint upon sertain foods...if the food your feeding should become unavailable or the manufacturer changes it, your fuzzy may refuse to eat a new food. I'd start by mixing in a little bit of a new food, and then gradually increase a new food as she gets used to it. I feed my 5 a mix of Superior Choice(available only at theferretstore.com), Zupreem, Mazuri, and Premium Edge kitten(this kitten food exactly like the higher priced Path Valley ferret food down to the way ingredients are listed, but soo much cheaper). Other good foods are 8 in 1 Ultimate(NOT the Ultra), Marshall's, Maxximum Nutrition kitten(only use high quality kitten foods and Maxx kitten is made by Iams and only available at Walmart) Path Valley, Sheppard & Greene, Eukanuba kitten etc..

Basically when looking for a good food, it shoud be high in protein(28 to 38%) and high in fat(18 to 25%) and the first 3 to 5 ingredients should be meat based.

I can't think of anything else right now. If you have any questions, I'll try to answer as best I can. Please e-mail Dr. Williams. He should be able to help. Good Luck.

11-22-2002, 10:04 AM
She has been hospitalized since last Saturday, 11/16th. The blood test and urinalysis are testing whether or not her kidney is actually working or not. They can't tell me if she has had a kidney failure or not. This will be the 4th CBC chemistry and urinalysis, along with all the other tests they've done (i.e. x-ray plus radiologist consult). I have emailed Dr. Bruce Williams and am patiently waiting for his reply. I have also begun looking into other ferret specialists in town. Thanks for your help and support!

Heather Wallace
11-22-2002, 10:11 AM
Please keep us infomed, I hope your little ferret gets better really soon.

11-22-2002, 11:03 AM
oops forgot to add...
even though I made food suggestions, you're probably not going to want to make any changes to her diet until she is all better. Any change in diet and environment is stressful for them...that's how my Max got sick when he was dumped at the SPCA before I adopted him.

I hope you get some answers soon. None of my fuzzies have ever been really sick, so while I do know some of the basics on adrenal and insulinoma...I don't know that much about ferret illnesses. Positive healing thoughts for your fuzzy.

11-22-2002, 02:20 PM
Something else you can do is post what you have on theferretstore.com's ferret forum. Many many ferret knowledagble people post there and if they don't know they should be able to pint you in the right direction.


11-22-2002, 04:43 PM
I have also posted my concerns on ferretstore.com forum. Thanks!

11-22-2002, 05:05 PM
I will be meeting with the doctor tonight. I have many concerns I would like him to answer to. If you can give me any other pertinent questions to ask, I will look over all my daily journal entries, notes, and questions before my meeting with him. I would like to know how I should respond if all the doctor does is try to cover up for the benefit of the hospital. I spoke with another doctor today and addressed my concerns regarding why she was taken out of ICU and not incubated, and she couldn't answer my questions. She tried to say that the cage was heated but when I touched the cage that night, it was cold and someone came in to turn it on at that moment. About the bath, the doctor tried to cover up the bath totally and said it was not written in her chart that a bath was given and that she obviously tried to chew off her IV so they had to take it off. How can an elderly ferret chew off the bandage? I find that impossible! We have also spoken with Dr. Ned and he has been very helpful and is willing to look at her file and test results. I tried all afternoon to get the hospital to fax her records to me and what they said was it will take 7-10 days to process. They said if it was going to a vet, they will do it today but so far, the the vets I've been referred to have not received the faxes. I will go there tonight and request all her files in person.:mad:

11-22-2002, 05:13 PM
Good luck with this, they don't sound like good vets from what you said. Hope you can get her records, and get the help she needs, poor girl! Give her a snuggle for me, if you can, okay?

11-24-2002, 12:17 AM
I brought Coco home from the hospital today. Her 4th blood test indicated that her blood urea nitrogen (BUN) level was still extremely high at 240. The clinical signs say otherwise. She is alert, curious, eating, drinking, defacating, and urinating as usual. The doctor said it's amazing she is still alive and showing such good signs. With that high amount of toxins in her body, she should be vomiting and seizuring but that's not the case. I will be taking care of her at home by giving her 25-50mL of subcutaneous fluids once a day, 1/4 cc of Amphogel twice daily and she will be eating her regular food (Totally Ferret active and geriatric) plus on an EN diet. I think she is very happy to be home, smelling familiar smells. Her lil' bro Scout is happy and curious to have her home as well. I will try to make her life as happy and comfortable as I can. I think she's such a strong girl to be holding on this long. If I see her suffering or showing any signs of pain, I will say goodbye to her. She has such a strong will to live. Thank you all for your support and prayers. Right now she is sleeping on my bed, with Scout nearby. Sweet dreams! :)