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Dr. Barbara
Dr. Barbara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1614
Experience:  Thirty years experience in small animal medicine and surgery.
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my ferret is shaking alot (not when shes waking up). she is also dragging her front

Customer Question

my ferret is shaking alot (not when she's waking up). she is also dragging her front paws when she moves.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 5 years ago.

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Hi, Hopefully I can help, but first I have a few questions. How long has she been like this? Is she eating OK? What do you feed her? Is she drinking normal amounts of water and urinating normal amounts? Is she having normal stools? I'll look for you answers. Dr. Barbara

Customer:

2 days now. she seems to be eating ok, although it looks difficult becasue she can barely lift her head (becasue her front paws are not able to lift her head/neck) up to get in the dish. She is drinking water and not sure about the urine. Stools look the same.

Customer:

She was hiding for a day and 1/2, normally she eventually comes out when we're home. doesn't feel excessively warm or cold. She slides on her neck and upper body with her paws underneath her and only propels herself with her back legs. I checked her arms for any tenderness at the elbow or shoulder and she didn't seem to wince or pull back. I am wondering if she broke her front arms somewhere. She cannot climb up the levels in her cage. she also ate her peanut butter treat so i think her appetite is okay. thank you.

Customer:

what else should i assess on her?

Customer:

?

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Hi, Thank you for your answers. So I understand that she is drinking normal amounts, and having normal stools in amount and consistency. She is also eating her peanut butter treats. Do you think she is eating anything else and what do you feed her mostly? So, if I may think out loud here. . .she can't move her front legs and she can barely lift her head, yet her back legs seem to move normally. You also haven't mentioned that she seems painful so I'll assume she is not. Two general problems could cause what you are seeing. She may have a neurological problem of the spine where the nerves for the front legs exit the spine causing weakness or paralysis of the front legs. This would be unusual to not also affect the rear legs, but not impossible. Different possiblities here would be an injury, a tumor, an embolus, or an infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal)., or a neuropathy from probable diabetes. The second possiblity for causing what you are seeing is a general weakness from a systemic illness (she just doesn't feel well). To determine which of these is her problem and to treat her will require a visit to the vet unless by now she is doing a lot better. Please let me know how she is and what you decide. Dr. B

Customer:

Hello and thank you for your reply.

Customer:

"Noodles" seems like her affect is the same, except that she seems to tucker out sooner and cuddles more. I'm not sure if she's tired from the overworking of her hind legs and neck muscles?

Customer:

She's still eating ok, stooling, voiding, eating her snacks, etc... just con't to drag her front legs. Still don't feel a dislocation and doesn't seem painful when I manipulate it... so I am thinking some sort of paralysis as well, but again, how are bilateral upper arms affected but nothing below? I am an FNP, but no experience in animals, so I'll have to look up their anatomy, especially spinal. Is there any other symptoms to assess with the diabetes? and anything else I can assess before taking her to the vet?

Customer:

By the way, the little research I found they gave anti-inflammatories and therapy to the ferret for treatment of similar symptoms. I currenlty have little financial means as I have been helping my mother with emergent financial issues and am wondering if you had to be selective for tests, which would you suggest based on your suspicion.

Customer:

Thank you very much,

Customer:

Maria and Milan

Customer:

By the way, no I dont think she's eating anything else, she's pretty picky. Only eats Marshalls food since birth.

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

So glad to hear that she is on a good diet and that she is eating. Diabetes would cause increased water consumption and urination. It is unusual for the rear legs to not be affected also. . .but not impossible. The nerves for the forelimbs come off the spinal cord more superficially than the upper motor neurons to the rear legs. One thing I would like you to assess is if she has pain when you pinch her forepaws and does she withdraw them?

Customer: Hello Dr Miller,
Customer: With more assessment, it looked like she was favoring her right armShAhs pulled back on it more quickly when I went to check it and I started to feel a small swelling at the elbow. We took her to the vet on sat morning and it turns out she has a fx of right elbow that shifted up. We talked about sx but thought to just let it heal on it's own due to the risks associated with pinning it and the anesthesia. It's weird that I never thought it was only one leg hurt since she was dragging them both, but j guess that was easier for her than limping with it. Otherwise, we keep her confined to a small space, bring her out and keep her in a papoose, and let het heal. She's still doing okay temperament-wise, eating, & drinking, etc.
Customer: Thank you for your services. Nice to know you're around to help. Maria, Milan, and Noodles.
JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Dear XXXXX, Milan and Noodles,

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

I'm glad that you have a diagnosis. I have anesthitized several ferrets and they do quite well. An elbow fracture can be difficult to pin depending upon where the fracture is located. . .but not impossible. However, all of this is quite expensive and it does seem she is getting lots of TLC and she is young, so hopefully she will heal up well.

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Good luck to all 3 of you!

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Dr. B

Customer:

Thank you Dr. B, Before I close out, they said the surgery would be about $100 which is okay for me, but it really sounded like they were discouraging me from the surgery. Would you suggest that I get a second opinion? The elbow fracture was shifted upward slightly. Maria

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Hi Maria, Yes I would recommend getting a second opinion from someone who is very comfortable with treating ferrets. Not all vets have this experience. May I try to help you find such a vet? Tell me where you live and I'll see what I can do.

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Dr. B

Customer:

sure! windber, pa. 15963 It was Dr Elias that I saw at the Ebensburg Animal Hospital.

JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Hi, Here are 2 vets listed as ferret vets you could try: Dr. Kelly Yeager, Lakemont Vet. Clinic, Altoona, (NNN) NNN-NNNN and Dr. Ruth Heller, Borderbrook Animal Hosp., Murrysville, (NNN) NNN-NNNN Good luck!

Customer: Thank you dr b. If I can get a pic of the X-ray, do u think that it would change ur opinion on surgery?
JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

It might. Please see what you can do.

Customer: Ok will do, probably wednesday. I'll also call the vet in Altoona.
JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Also, please have the xrays sent to the vet in Altoona. Perhaps you won't have to pay for more xrays. I'll look for the pictures. Thanks.

Customer: One other thing. How long do u have to fix a fracture? Is there a time limit, as in suturing a wound.
JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

If the fracture has started to heal in a crooked manner it would need to be rebroken in order to pin it straight. Your little girl is young so this could begin to occur in 1-2 weeks. Also, the mucscles surrounding the fracture could contract in an abnormal way. When you see the vet in Altoona, she'll be able to tell by palpation, but may need another xray for a more definite current diagnosis. One other thing to consisder regarding healing. . .the more mobile the fracture site the less healing. It could be possible without some kind of immobilization to not heal at all. Please let me know what you find out and of course send me the picture. Thanks. XXXXX

Customer: Appt set for 10 on this Thursday with Yeager. I'll send u pic of X-ray around 9-9:30 when I pick it up for appt.
JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Wow. . .I do love the technology available to us now. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX luck. Barbara

Customer: Noodles climbed on top of her igloo today and to the 2 nd level of her cage. I now had to block access to her tunnel to the 2nd level. She sat up and put both paws on cage.
JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Hooray! She is feeling well. Does she use the broken leg normally?

Customer: Not yet. Still flops and slides, but she's making more effort.
JACUSTOMER-u4sf8nl3- :

Then I am very glad she is seeing a ferret vet tomorrow. Glad she seems to feel better.

Customer: We Werent able to get to the vet in Altoona, and by the time I could, "noodles" was doing great. She is walking, running, and jumping. Back to her playful self, & much more attached to me. :-) thank you for your knowledge, concern, & prompt reply on all the messages. Would definitely consult u in the future!!
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Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

I'm so glad that Noodles has completely recovered! She must have had a soft tissue injury and has completely recovered. If you can figure out if anything in her cage presents a danger as far as getting her leg caught then removing that would be a good idea.

I am so glad also that we were able to be a good help to you.

Thank you so much for the update.

Dr. B

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