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Author Topic: Question about Back End Lameness  (Read 1955 times)
ferret_girl
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« on: July 26, 2010, 02:22:14 PM »

I have a 5+ year old ferret named Baloo that I adopted from the FRSO about a year and half ago. He was diagnosed with adrenal disease last summer and I found out through surgery that the gland being affected was the dreaded right so we decided that since it was just the beginning stages of the disease we would not remove it. This past May he was implanted with a Deslorelin implant and has been doing wonderful! This past Friday; however, I came home from work to find that he was dragging his back end! I immediately had a small panic attack but when I calmed myself down I gave him a good look over. Baloo was bright, eating and drinking quite well. He was asking to come out of his cage to play and appeared absolutely normal except for the dragging his hind end part. It was late on Friday when I discovered his condition but after consulting my good friend (who is on her way to becoming a fantastic vet, literally) we decided that it would be ok to wait until the next morning to see the vet. Baloo also had sensation in his legs, toes and feet and was going to the bathroom normally which also lessened my worry that it was something life threatening.

On Saturday I brought Baloo to the vet and we did an x-ray of his body to see if we could see the cause of his sudden paralysis. My vet suspected that it was perhaps a compressed and inflamed vertebrae that were causing the hind end lameness and after doing some x-rays we discovered that he was right. Baloo has 2 vertebras towards his back end that are somewhat compressed and are causing him quite a bit of discomfort. My vet gave him an injection of Dexamethasone to relieve the inflammation but we are starting him on pred today since he is still quite lame. 

I am just wondering if anyone else has experienced anything like this. My vet says that he’s only ever heard of this disease happening in large animals and Schnauzers but that he’s sure it could happen in ferrets as well. He also said that it can be attributed to over exertion, which is entirely possible as he was rough housing with my 2 youngster ferrets just the day before.

Advice?
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ferret_girl
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 02:05:12 PM »

So since I posted my last message on Monday, Baloo took a turn for the worse and was euthanized, sadly yesterday morning. When I got home on Monday, Baloo was his bright perky self, still weak in the hind end but happy to see me and eating quite well. I started him on pred that night in hopes that it would help his mobility. Tuesday morning Baloo seemed about the same as the night before so I gave him his second dose of pred and a fed him breakfast. When I came home Tuesday night; however, Baloo was in the same spot I had left him that morning which was definitely not a good sign. When I picked him up and carried him to the washroom to clean him up he started mouth breathing...I immediately put him down and noticed that the paralysis had got significantly worse. I rushed him to the vet where they did a few x-rays and started him on oxygen. We saw 2 things in the x-rays - a very large mass attached to the kidneys and a very swollen prostate. *As a side note, Baloo had adrenal surgery in August of 2009 and although he was clinical, both adrenal glands appeared relatively healthy and therefore did not warrant removal. In May we implanted Baloo with a Deslorelin implant which helped calm his symptoms significantly. * So we decided that since things had progressed so quickly we would do an exploratory the following morning. I took Baloo home, gave him lots of love and hoped for the best. By 6am; however, I knew that he would likely not survive the surgery and definitely not the recovery process. Baloo was having a very difficult time breathing, was entirely flat and was very disconnected.  I brought him to my vet first thing and decided to euthanize him instead of going ahead with the exploratory. My poor little man crossed the bridge peacefully.

I decided that I would like a post-mortem done on Baloo to see what took his life so quickly. When my vet opened him up the most obvious issue was the enormous adrenal tumour. When my vet opened up the tumour a very large amount of blood clots where inside. My vet said that had he been alive when he opened up this tumour it would have been very difficult to control the bleeding and that he likely would have euthanized him then. Baloo’s prostate was also very large even though he did not have any issues eliminating. The other concerning matter was that Baloo’s stomach was quite thickened and looked very unhealthy so it is likely that he was also suffering from a gastrointestinal cancer.  My vet could not say for sure what exactly caused the paralysis and the rapid decline, it could have been the tumour or the blood clots it was producing but there is no way to know for sure. 

All in all both my vet and I felt I made the right choice in letting Baloo pass peacefully. I can’t say it was a hard decision as watching him deteriorate and waste away to nothing in a matter or days made it obvious that something was very wrong and it was obvious that he was suffering.

I will miss my little man who always enjoyed my company more then the company of his other 4 legged friends, but I feel better knowing that he is in a good place. Until we meet again dear friend…
 Cry
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Georgiesmom
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010, 04:34:47 PM »

So sorry to hear about you loss.
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Kalimata
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2010, 11:30:37 AM »

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I've only seen actual back issues once, in little Monster-Man.  He slipped a disk in his back, and two days later he died. 

Unfortunately, hind end weakness is a symptom for many diseases and conditions, everything from Adrenal disease, to ADV.

As Jen and I see more and more ferrets we're finding the number one cause of mortality to be cancers.  With our own personal ferrets, we've had one case of aggressive juvenile lymphoma, and one tumor in a 4 year old.  Unless you know what you're feeling for, it's very hard to palpate a tumor.  It's crappy, but then so is life sometimes.

Once again, we're sorry for your loss, and by my estimate you were bang on in your reaction and decisions.

James
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