ISSN 2398-2985      

Digit/limb trauma

4ferrets

Introduction

  • Digit or limb trauma requiring complete or partial removal where medical treatment is prohibited, has not been successful or where repair surgery is not possible Digit/limb amputation.
  • Cause:
    • Limb neoplasia Musculoskeletal neoplasia, eg osteosarcoma.
    • Joint dislocations.
    • Congenital limb deformities; rarely reported in ferrets.
    • Bone fractures unsuitable for conservative treatment Fractures:
      • Complicated comminuted fractures.
      • Where surgical repair is prohibited by cost or euthanasia is considered.
      • Where required aftercare not available, eg outdoor animals.
      • Where surgical repair is prohibited by the animal’s overall condition, eg geriatric individuals with a higher risk of anesthesia. Amputation is a relatively quick procedure.
      • Severe soft tissue damage.
    • Frost damage (rare).
  • Signs: acute or chronic lameness with underlying condition unmanageable with medical therapy, eg complicated fracture, chronic pododermatitis.
  • Diagnosis: radiography, CT scan.
  • Treatment: partial or total amputation of the affected digit or limb.
  • Prognosis: good.
Print off the Owner factsheets on Care of the recumbent/paralysed ferret and Frostbite to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Fractures often due to inappropriate handling, eg dropping from a height.
  • Limbs caught in wire cage floor/set up door leading to crush injuries of digits and limbs.
  • Inappropriate bedding or husbandry with a dirty environment leading to compromised skin barrier and pododermatitis.
  • Other trauma in young animals.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Inappropriate handling, eg unsupervised handling by children.
  • Caging with wire flooring.
  • Dirty environment.

Specific

  • Obesity and inactivity can lead to pododermatitis.

Pathophysiology

  • Metabolic bone disease, lack of UVB exposure leading to pathological fractures.

Timecourse

  • Fractures: acute.
  • Pododermatitis: acute to chronic. Often medical treatment had been undertaken for months.
  • Neoplasia: chronic.

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.
  • Eshar D, Wyre N R, Griessmayr P & Hoots E (2010) Diagnosis and treatment of myelo-osteolytic plasmablastic lymphoma of the femur in a domestic ferret. JAVMA 15 (4) PubMed.
  • Van Zeeland Y R A, Hernandez-Divers S J, Blasier M W, Vila-Garcia G, Delong D & Stedman N L (2006) Carpal myxosarcoma and forelimb amputation in a ferret (Mustela putorius furo). Vet Rec 159, 782-785 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Mehler S J (2014) Surgery. In: Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Eds: James F G & Marini R P. pp 305.

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