Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Gallbladder disease overview

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

Introduction

  • Cause: cholangitis, cholelithiasis (gallstones), cholangiohepatitis and cholestasis have been diagnosed in ferrets, often with elements of all three conditions. Gallbladder disease may include inflammation as well as bile stasis. Gallstones may form due to inflammation and stasis, and may also have an ascending bacterial component (from the duodenum through the bile duct) as a nidus formation.
  • Signs: non-specific signs of lethargy, anorexia, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Diagnosis: laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging, FNA/biopsy.
  • Treatment: cholangectomy, fluid therapy, antibiotics.
  • Prognosis: guarded.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • The inflammation in the gallbladder may start with irritation to the mucus membranes likely involving a bacterial component entering from the bile duct.
  • Generalized biliary tree complications during neoplasia or hepatitis/hepatopathy may also be involved.
  • Once gallstones have formed, they may block the duct contributing further to bile stasis.
  • Helicobacter mustelae has been found to cause cholangiohepatitis and may be a part of other pathology as well Helicobacter mustelae gastritis.
  • Biliary problems have also been reported in ferrets as a result of extrahepatic masses compressing or obstructing the biliary tree.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Helicobacter mustelae may contribute to cholangiohepatitis.
  • Extrahepatic masses including neoplasias of particularly the right adrenal gland, in the pancreas, or enlarged lymph nodes may compress the liver, bile duct causing obstruction of the biliary system.

Timecourse

  • Dependent on initiating etiology.

Epidemiology

  • Many ferrets from commercial breeders have Helicobacter mustelae.

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.
  • Hall B A & Ketz-Riley C J (2011) Cholestasis and cholelithiasis in a domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo). J Vet Diag Invest 23 (4), 836-839 PubMed.
  • Hauptman K, Jekl V & Knotek Z (2011) Extrahepatic biliary tract obstruction in two ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). J Small Anim Pract 52 (7), 371-375 PubMed.
  • Garcia A, Erdman SE, Xu S et al (2002) Hepatobiliary inflammation, neoplasia, and argyrophilic bacteria in a ferret colony. Vet Pathol 39 (2), 173-179 PubMed.
  • Reindel J F & Evans M G (1987) Cystic mucinous hyperplasia in the gallbladder of a ferret. J Comp Pathol 97, 601-604 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Perpinan D & Johnson-Delaney C A (2017) Disorders of the Digestive System and Liver. In: Ferret Medicine and Surgery. Ed: Johnson-Delaney C A.CRC Press, USA. pp 159-190.
  • 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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