How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Christian K. Your Own Question

Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K., Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10015
Experience:  12 year of veterinary experience in surgery, medicine and behavior
15186300
Type Your Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Christian K. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I came home to find one of my male ferrets twitching and screaming.

Customer Question

I came home to find one of my male ferrets twitching and screaming. The other two are perfectly fine. I recently changed their litter to a pine pellet that claims its safe for ferrets. He moves his head and responds to my touch but doesn't move the rest of his body.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Christian K. replied 4 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
Dr. Christian K. :

Hello,


This is Dr. Christian. Welcome to JustAnswer.

Customer :

Hello

Dr. Christian K. :

Do you have a guess at how old he is? Is there anything he could have ingested? Has he had any other problems lately such as weight loss, vomiting, lack of appetite or lethargy?

Customer :

No. No other problems. I think he might be 3-5 years old.

Dr. Christian K. :

Does he move his body but can't walk or is he totally limp? Is there any chance of trauma?

Customer :

He moves but very little. I don't think threres been a physical injury. I've been holding him and feeling his lower body for signs of injury. He screams at aporadic intervals. When he screams, his body goes rigid and he moves his tongue around.

Dr. Christian K. :

It sounds like he might be having a seizure. There are numerous possible causes for that. Try giving him some honey or karo syrup. A low blood sugar can be fairly common in some ferrets because a tumor of the pancreas called an insulinoma is fairly commmon. The large amount of insulin in the body from the tumor causes a low blood sugar which then causes various neurologic symptoms. Mixing the honey with water will also keep him hydrated. He needs to be seen by a vet, immediately if possible.

Customer :

Should I try to let him eat the syrup willingly or force it?

Dr. Christian K. :

You can force a little. It can be arsorbed through his gums and into his blood stream to help.

Dr. Christian K. :

Most ferrets will eat that sort of thing willingly though.

Customer :

He doesn't seem the least bit interested in it. He won't even open his mouth. I put some on his mouth and he's not even trying to lick it off.

Dr. Christian K. :

That's okay the sugar will be absorbed into his gums if you got a little in there.

Customer :

How much should I try to give him? How long does it take to have an affect?

Dr. Christian K. :

It shouldn't take much. Just enough to coat his gums. It should help in 10-15 minutes but it will only work if this is caused by a low blood sugar.

Customer :

He's starting to lick it off his mouth now. Okay. So what if the symptoms persist? Any other suggestions? I would love nothing more than to take him to an emergancy vet but the only one here where I live won't even look at him without a $300 deposit. Sadly, I just can't afford that.

Dr. Christian K. :

I understand. Unfortunately there is not much more to be done at home other than to make sure he stays hydrated (you may have to force feed him with an eye dropper or syringe) and keep him quiet. If he will eat that is great too. Hopefully you can find a vet open first thing in the morning and have him seen then. Over the counter medications could be danerous in this situation.

Customer :

He's taking water from a dropper now. You don't think it could be the pine bedding? I was worried it might be that. I did get rid of it as soon as I got home.

Dr. Christian K. :

I don't think that is the problem. Cedar bedding has been shown to cause liver and respiratory problems in rats and rodents and by association I tend to avoid pine bedding too because of the aromatic oils in it but it wouldn't cause these symptoms.

Customer :

Ok. Why does he scream? Is he in pain or is it just part of the seizure?

Dr. Christian K. :

Probably part of a seizure. Pain is possible but less likely.

Customer :

He's eating some very runny Duk Soup now. He's still shaking a lot. Is that normal too?

Dr. Christian K. :

That's normal too. Has he improved some as far as the shaking, screaming etc.?

Customer :

He seems to have. Well, he just screamed again. Not as bad as before.

Customer :

He's starting to move his limbs more.

Dr. Christian K. :

It sounds like the sugar may be helping.

Customer :

He seems to be responding better. He's trying to sit up. If it is insulinoma, what medical steps can be taken? Also, would a tumor in the pancreas cause his fur to yellow? He's normally very white but he's very yellow right now.

Dr. Christian K. :

Unfortunately, an insulinoma is not a good thing. I've recently had a ferret who had this. There is the radical procedure of exploratory surgery to find the tumor and remove it. In some cases half the pancreas is removed in hopes that the half contains the tumor. This tumor is typically not large or visible so it is hard to find. In most cases the only treatment is daily steroids to keep the blood sugar up and survival time is generally anywhere from 6-12 months. It shouldn't cause his fur to turn yellow.

Customer :

He's still very twitchy. How long does it take for the symptoms to subside?

Dr. Christian K. :

They may not completely subside but it can take up to an 1/2 hour to improve completely if they are going to.

Customer :

He hasn't screamed in 20 minutes. He's still twitching little but the trembling isn't so bad.

Dr. Christian K. :

That's good news. Keep the sugar and water going through the night, every 30-60 minutes as needed and try feeding him too. Get him to a vet as soon as they open in the morning.

Customer :

So the sugar and water thing is something I need to keep doing? He ate a good amount of the soup.

Dr. Christian K. :

If he eats well then you may not have to but it may be necessary. Keep monitoring him through the night.

Customer :

Ok. Thank you very much.

Dr. Christian K. :

You are welcome. Good luck. I hope he continues to feel better.

Dr. Christian K. :

If you have more questions please let me know. I'll be online for another hour or two.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
< Last | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    2630
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    2630
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1656
    12 years of small animal veterinary medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1451
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PC/pcbobber/photo.64x64.JPG Dr. Bob's Avatar

    Dr. Bob

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1306
    35 years in practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    865
    12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1889
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • /img/icons/shirt.jpg Dr. Jenn's Avatar

    Dr. Jenn

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1225
    Practicing small animal medicine since 2004 , also involved in working with animal rescue groups.
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Veterinarian
Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K.
Veterinarian
10015 Satisfied Customers
12 year of veterinary experience in surgery, medicine and behavior