Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Mycobacteriosis

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, Vicki Baldrey

Introduction

  • Cause: infection with Mycobacterium spp.
  • Signs: anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss.
  • Diagnosis: cytology, biopsy, histopathology, PCR, culture, radiography, ultrasonography, CBC and serum biochemistries.
  • Treatment: because of the zoonotic risks, Mycobacterium spp cases in pets becomes problematic as to whether or not to treat.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Infection with Mycobacterium spp.
  • Transmission is likely both through inhalation and/or ingestion of the organisms from the environment or exposure to other infected animals.
  • There is the risk of ferret-ferret transmission.
  • In New Zealand they have also established ferret to other wildlife and livestock transmission:
    • Ferrets in NZ play a complex role in the TB cycle.
    • They are capable of contracting, amplifying and transmitting M. bovis infection.
    • The brush-tail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is the main host of the disease and ferrets are thought to contract the disease from feeding on tuberculous carcasses.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Davendralingam N et al (2017) Transmission of Mycobacterium xenopi to a pet albino ferret (Mustela putorius furo) from a domestic aquarium. Vet Rec 181 (7), 169 PubMed.
  • Byrom A E, Caley P, Paterson B M & Nugent G (2015) Feral ferrets (Mustela furo) as hosts and sentinels of tuberculosis in New Zealand. New Zealand Vet J 63 (sup 1), 42-53 PubMed.
  • Nakata M, Miwa Y, Tsuboi M & Uchida K (2014) Mycobacteriosis in a domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo). J Vet Med Sci 76 (5), 705-709 PubMed.
  • Lucas J, Lucas A, Furber H et al (2000) Mycobacterium genavense infection in two aged ferrets with conjunctival lesions. Aust Vet J 78 (10), 685-689 PubMed.


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