Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Gastrointestinal foreign bodies

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

Introduction

  • Cause: the presence of an ingested object that irritates or obstructs (partially or completely) the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Signs: anorexia, lethargy, diarrhea, weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, dehydration, pale mucus membranes.
  • Diagnosis: history, palpation, diagnostic imaging, hematology/serum chemistries.
  • Treatment: fluid therapy, analgesia, laparotomy, surgical removal.
  • Prognosis: good with surgical treatment.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Commonly ingested foreign objects include those made of rubber, sponge or foam, but trichobezoars Hair balls may also act as foreign bodies. Fabric including toweling, fleece, fur or hair from toys may also be ingested.
  • Bone may act as a foreign body in those animals feeding on diets containing bones or whole animals.
  • Linear foreign bodies are uncommon in ferrets.
  • Most foreign bodies are identified in the stomach and jejunum, followed by duodenum and esophagus.
  • Ferrets need to be supervised when at play, with toys and bedding of appropriate materials and inspected frequently for signs of ingestion.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Ferrets in general are predisposed to ingest foreign bodies.

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.
  • aligiuri R, Bellah J R, Collins B R & Ackerman N (1989) Medical and surgical management of esophageal foreign body in a ferret. J Am Vet Med Assoc 195 (7), 969-971 PubMed.
  • Lennox A M (2005) Gastrointestinal diseases of the ferret. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 8 (2), 213-225 VetClinics.

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.
  • 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 & Sons, Ames, USA. pp 363-375.
  • 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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