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Dr. Hinson
Dr. Hinson, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1855
Experience:  11 years working in the veterinary field. I have experience with small, large and exotic species.
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My girl ferret lost the use of her back legs a few days ...

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My girl ferret lost the use of her back legs a few days ago. She eats good, drinks, goes to the bathroom regular, still has good energy and inquisitive nature as usual. She just doesn''t use her back legs. Doc did exploratory surgery Mon. 6/16/08 and found some fluid in her belly but nothing else. Please help me. I''ve ordered her a wheelchair to help her continue to get around so she don''t have to keep dragging herself or get sores on her. What can I do? I rescued her about 2yr. ago so I think she''s between 4-5 yr. old, weighs 2.3 lbs.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 8 years ago.

I am so sorry that your little girl isn't feeling well. Could you give me a bit more information?

Can you tell me if your vet ran any bloodwork on her before surgery?

Did she lose the use of her back legs before or after surgery?

Does she have pain sensation in the feet if you pinch her toes?

Did the vet take any biopsies when he did the exploratory?

Dr. Hinson
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Dear Dr. Hinson,---To the best of my knowledge Dr. Holly Ray didn't run any blood work before surgery she took some xrays and couldn't find anything excepept some shadows. She lost the use of her legs before surgery, that was the reason the Dr. wanted to do the exploratory. Yes she does have pain sensations in her feet and still does her best to use her legs but it's like they won't hold her up. No to my knowledge she took no biopsies when she did surgery. I have an appointment to see her again tomorrow 6/23/08 and have planned on asking her to do bloodwork. Is there anything in particular I should have her look for? I'm desperate. I love her so much. I ordered her a wheelchair which should be in soon, called the Ferret Flyer Wheelchair. I don't want her to loose her freedom which she maintains by scooting around, but I'm afraid she'll get hurt doing that.
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information.

I would have Dr. Ray specifically check the blood sugar. Ferrets are very prone to getting insulinomas (pancreas tumors) that will cause their blood sugar to be low and often times they will drag their hind legs. That being said they usually drag their legs intermittently or will always drag them but often times it will fluctuate in severity. Also, during an exploratory you will see the actual tumors on the pancreas so maybe this is a less likely diagnosis but since it is so common I would have her check anyway.

The other very common disease they get is tumors of the adrenal glands. There is a ferret adrenal bloodwork panel your vet can send out to a lab.

Other than those two things I guess the last thing would be trauma to the spine or spinal cord. Did she take x-rays of the spine and pelvis?

It is a good sign that she has feeling in the legs. Is she on steroids? Ferrets actually tolerate steroids very well and if there is any nerve inflammation, etc the steroids may help. Steroids is also the treatment for insulinoma.

I have not had any personal experience with ferrets and wheelchairs but they are smart animals and I am sure she would adjust well.

I wish you and your girl all the best! I hope you and Dr. Ray can find out what is going on.

Dr. Hinson
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