Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sudden death in ferret?

I had a baby girl who was only 7 months old die in her sleep about a month ago. I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas as to what could have caused it. We thought that she might have had heart failure or cancer.
First, I'm sorry for your loss.

Ferrets can hide illnesses very well. Lymphoma, unfortunately, is almost always fatal, and not always identifiable until it's too late. Certainly there could've been a defect with her heart, but I would place a bet on juvenile lymphoma.

Insulinoma is unlikely in this case, as insulinomas generally do not appear until a ferret is at least 2-3 years of age.

I do agree with the others that the only way to know for sure when something like this happens is to have your vet perform a necropsy.
very unlikely that it was cancer without you noticing other symptoms before she died.

there are literally a million diseases and conditions that can cause sudden death. youll never know unless a vet does an autopsy.
If you take the body to the vet, you can get the body examined and they may be able to tell you what happened. If not, you can send the body of to a lab where you have about a 85% percent chance of them diganosing the cause. I am so sorry about the ferret!
There are many reasons this could have happened, but it is very common for ferrets to develop intestinal blockage which causes death very quickly. Baby ferrets are especially likely to eat things that could cause a blockage.
I'm so sorry for your loss.

Sometimes there are genetic problems that don't show up right away.
And, like the actor John Ritter, who suddenly dropped dead, despite seeing a doctor a few weeks before, some things just happen.
You see it in athletes sometimes too. People who are in the prime of their lives and just as healthy as can be, suddenly drop dead. There is no predicting, or explaining it. It just happens.

Again, I'm so sorry
Some ferrets are born w heart abnormalities, so heart failure is a possibility. At 7 mos old, cancer is pretty unlikely but possible. Although an insulinoma can also cause lethal low levels of blood sugar... but I think you may have noticed some lethargy before. Distemper can also affect ferrets, you may have noticed some clinical signs, but sometimes is quickly lethal.

If you have other ferrets, I would strongly recommend to take her to your vet to have a necropsy (an autopsy) performed to make sure that she didn't have anything contagious to your other ferrets.
It could have been a heart attack or blood clot. Its so hard to know unless you get an autopsy (what ever the animal version is called) done. I just had my sweet baby die because in a split second I was not looking he ate a piece of foam rubber from the pet stroller I use for them. I did not notice till it was to late. He had the blockage removed by surgery but died the next day with a 3 inch blood clot to the heart. the clot was caused by the blockage. He had been playing normally up to the day he got really sick any by that time it was to late.

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