Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Coccidiosis

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, Sarah Pellett

Introduction

  • Cause: a variety of species of Isospora and Eimeria.
  • Signs: diarrhea, lethargy, rectal prolapse, perineal staining, tenesmus, weight loss, dehydration, anorexia, weakness.
  • Diagnosis: blood work, fecal testing.
  • Treatment: sulfadimethoxine, amprolium, ponazuril.
  • The condition is generally asymptomatic, but outbreaks producing severe enteric disease and even death have been described in high-density populations such as shelters and breeders.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Eimeria furonis has been linked to more severe disease.
  • Other species of Isospora and Eimeria have also been reported in ferrets.

Pathophysiology

  • Coccidia has a host-specific, direct lifecycle.
  • Oocysts shed in the feces undergo sporulation (2-5 days at 24°C/75.2°F in E. furonis) to become infectious.
  • Infection occurs by ingestion of sporulated oocysts.
  • Coccidiosis is generally considered a subclinical disease with low numbers of parasites present in feces.
  • Outbreaks have been described in shelters and breeding facilities, with high numbers of parasites affecting the intestinal mucosa.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Kaye S W, Ossiboff R J, Noonan B et al (2015) Biliary coccidiosis associated with immunosuppressive treatment of pure red cell aplasia in an adult ferret (Mustela putorius furo). J Exotic Pet Med 24 (2), 215-222 VetMedResource.
  • Sledge D G, Bolin S R et al (2011) Outbreaks of severe enteric disease associated with Eimeria furonis infection in ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) of 3 densely populated groups. J Am Vet Med Assoc 239 (12), 1584-1588 PubMed.
  • Lennox A M (2005) Gastrointestinal diseases of the ferret. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 8 (2), 213-225 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Maurer K J & Fox J G (2014) Diseases of the Gastrointestinal System. In: Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Eds: Fox J G & Marini R P. Wiley, Ames, USA. pp 363-375.
  • Patterson M M, Fox J G & Eberhard M L (2014) Parasitic Diseases. In: Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Eds: Fox J G & Marini R P. Wiley, Ames, USA. pp 553-572.
  • Hoefer H L, Fox J G & Bell J A (2012) Gastrointestinal Diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier, St. Louis, USA. pp 27-45.
  • Burgess M E (2007) Ferret Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Diseases. In: Ferret Husbandry, Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Ed: Lewington J H. Saunders, Philadelphia, USA. pp 203-223.


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