Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Cystitis and urolithiasis

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, David Perpinan

Introduction

  • Inflammation and/or infection of the bladder with or without urolithiasis.
  • Stones recovered from ferrets can be struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) or cystine.
  • Cause: bacteria -> alkaline urine -> more bacterial growth; urolithiasis or incomplete voiding; poor diet.
  • Signs: straining to urinate, blood-tinged urine, lethargic, enlarged bladder, mucus plugs, urolithiasis, pain on palpation.
  • Diagnosis: urinalysis, ultrasonography, radiography.
  • Treatment: catheterization, retrograde flushing of stones, antimicrobials, NSAIDs.
  • Prognosis: good.
Print off the Owner Factsheet on Urolithiasis to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • The urine of ferrets is acidic (pH normally of 5-6).
  • With infection the bacteria may cause the urine to become alkaline which in turn may contribute to more bacterial growth.
  • Often cystitis occurs due to presence of urolithiasis or due to incomplete voiding such as seen in males with enlarged prostates.
  • Uroliths are usually struvite, except for ferrets on a grain-free commercial diet, novel protein or diet with legumes such as peas; ferrets on grain-free diets seem to develop cystine stones.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Urolithiasis in ferrets is more common in the lower urinary tract.
  • Urolithiasis used to be more common in ferrets when they were fed with plenty of plant protein.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Nwaokorie E E, Osborne C A, Lulich J P et al (2013) Epidemiological evaluation of cystine urolithiasis in domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo): 70 cases (1992-2009). J Am Vet Med Assoc 242 (8), 1099-1103 VetMedResource.
  • Nwaokorie E E, Osborne C A, Lulich J P et al (2011) Epidemiology of struvite uroliths in ferrets: 272 cases (1981-2007). J Am Vet Med Assoc 239 (10), 1319-1324 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Mayer J & Donnelly T M (2013) Clinical Veterinary Advisor: Birds and Exotic Pets. Elsevier, USA. pp 752.


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