Ferrets' blog

A blog with news about my ferrets: Tata, Izzie and Liira. There will also be reminiscense about Tenchi, Adric, Ker Avon, Ryo-Ohki, Nyssa, Lady Ayeka, Romana, Pertwee, Podo, Kodo, Ella, Zephyr and Chin Soon, all of whom are gone now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chin Soon Is Recovering Beautifully

Chin Soon is doing absolutely brilliantly. Yesterday, after a low blood glucose reading, Dr. Powers decided to discontinue her insulin. Now, more than 48 hours without insulin, Chin Soon has a blissfully normal blood glucose of 105. Her insulin producing cells in her pancreas seem to be working normally again. All her blood glucose readings over the past 48 hours have been either normal or just a bit above normal. It's all good.

Chin Soon is also regrowing hair on her belly and where her forelegs were shaved to insert a catheter. This is a sure sign that her adrenal disease is gone.

Last night Chin Soon ran the most of all the three ferrets. She wants to go a million miles an hour, something I can't let happen just yet. Her incision is healing beautifully but it's not 100% healed yet. Fortunately Chin Soon is like Pertwee in one respect: if I put her on my shoulder and walk around she is happy to take in the world from there and calms right down. Poor Ella got pounced by Chin Soon twice and didn't get to fight back and have a wrestling match because I picked Chin Soon up and put her on my shoulder.

Anyway, I'm thrilled be these results. While Dr. Powers says it's still to early to know for sure everything at this point seems to indicate a completely successful surgery and a full recovery.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Website For My Ferrets

My ferrets web pages have been moved to their own site and my ferrets now have their own web domain. I'll be first updating the pages and then redesigning them. Right now the HTML and design is positively archaic. There will be a new look soon.

The new website is at: http://www.ferretsofdisorder.co.cc. The old pages will redirect to the new for a few days until the old domain expires. Please check it out over the next few weeks and watch the changes.

Labels: ,

Happy Birthday Zephyr!

With all the worry and concern about Chin Soon I neglected to mention something important. The fifth anniversary of Zephyr's original rescue and first vet appointment has passed. We don't know the exact date of Zephyr's birth but just like Ella she was estimated to be one year old when she was first examined by Dr. Dan Hudson. Add one to five and you get six years old. Happy Birthday Zephyr!

Zephyr is now a geriatric ferret but you could never tell be the way she looks or acts. She's an energizer weasel who keeps going and going during playtime. OK, she didn't the last few nights but now that she knows that Chin Soon is home, alive, and well I'll be she perks up and acts like her old self again.

Labels: , ,

Chin Soon Comes Home

After four days in the hospital Chin Soon is finally stable. I brought her home Friday night. She is still on insulin. With a daily insulin injection her blood glucose does still bounce around but does come back into the normal range. What we are hoping is that her blood glucose stops spiking up because her pancreas is producing insulin again. I obviously don't want her to remain diabetic and to need insulin daily and regular blood glucose checks.

Zephyr has been a little out of sorts the last few days. She hasn't been playing or wrestling much and has been clinging to me. I think she missed Chin Soon. Now that she knows Chin Soon is OK things should get better.

I am checking Chin Soon's blood glucose every four hours (yes, including in the middle of the night), giving her frequent feedings of Bob Church's Chicken Gravy, and giving her the insulin injection. These are things I've never had to do before with any of my ferrets and are definitely things I am squeamish about and uncomfortable with. Unfortunately I don't see any other choice.

The good news is that Chin Soon is alert and is acting pretty much like her normal self. When I put her into a Midwest cage (without levels or hammocks) she immediately tried to climb out. After gravy it's supposed to be playtime, right? She still thinks so. Her incision is healing nicely. I'd just like to get her back to a nice, normal life. That's when I get back to a nice, normal life.

Between the surgery and complications, four days of hospitalization, the diabetes supplies, and her prescriptions the total cost is in excess of $1,400. It will get close to $1,500 with at least one follow-up visit to Dr. Powers I'm sure some people would read this and think that I am absolutely crazy to spend this kind of money on a ferret's medical care and to go through all this aftercare as well. Most pet owners will understand perfectly. Chin Soon is part of the family. She gets what she needs. Hopefully she'll end up healthy and happy again and will be around for a few more good years.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Chin Soon Not Doing Well (Post-Surgery Diabetes)

If you've been reading this blog you know that Chin Soon is a 5½ year old spayed female ferret who had insulinoma and adrenal surgery on Tuesday. Her vet, Dr. Powers, found a small left adrenal tumor and an insulinoma tumor she described as "huge", "evil", and "very aggressive". It had grown up against the vena cava. There was also one smaller nodule on Chin Soon's pancreas. Dr. Powers feels she successfully removed all of the tumor and the nodule.

Chin Soon was recovering well yesterday. She had post-surgery diabetes which is something we've seen before. Her blood glucose night before last was 400. It dropped to 280 by yesterday morning and 232 by yesterday evening. Then things started going backwards. She was up to 320 by yesterday evening and the levels have kept going up. Her blood glucose this morning was 432.

Dr. Powers tells us that in cases like this, after a very large and aggressive insulinoma tumor is removed, sometimes diabetes is a permanent but manageable consequence. She is starting Chin Soon on insulin today and holding her over one more night to see how she responds. Then Chin Soon will come home but we will have to monitor her blood glucose regularly and give her a small quantity of insulin daily. She'll have to go back to Dr. Powers for a recheck her next week.

This is a setback we really did not expect or plan for. I'll post more when I know more.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Chin Soon Surgery Update

Chin Soon had her surgery yesterday afternoon. Dr. Powers found a small growth on her left adrenal gland. She also found an insulinoma tumor which she described as "huge", "evil", and "very aggressive" which was right next to the vena cava. She was able to remove all of it as well as one more small nodule she found on Chin Soon's pancreas.

As of late last night Chin Soon was recovering well. As of early this morning things are still going well for the most part but she is severely diabetic. Her blood glucose has been as high as 400. She is on IV fluids to avoid dehydration. We've seen this before after insulinoma surgery and normally the blood glucose does come down and return to normal. I'll get another update after noon and I still hope to be able to take her home late this afternoon or this evening.

Please continue to keep Chin Soon in your thoughts. I am hoping for a speedy and complete recovery.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Chin Soon Update: Surgery Next Tuesday

Chin Soon is going back to see Dr. Lauren Powers at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Huntersville again next Tuesday. She will have surgery for both insulinoma and adrenal disease.

At her last recheck her blood glucose was still only 57. She's gained a fair amount of weight, a side effect of the pediapred (prednisolone) as well as a consequence of eating lots of high calorie chicken gravy. As a result we could increase her pediapred dosage again a little. It's still not enough. Yes, Chin Soon is bouncy and playful but her stamina still isn't what it used to be and she still slips and has hind-end weakness. Her insulinoma can't be controlled with a moderate dose of pediapred and that means it's time for surgery. We no longer have any other good options.

Her adrenal disease is progressing as well despite increasing her lupron dosage to 200mcg. She's still losing hair all over the place. The only cure for adrenal disease is surgery. The only good thing about having both diseases at once is that she will only have to go through one surgery instead of two.

I'm worried, of course. This is major surgery and there is always a risk that something can go wrong. At least I have complete confidence in Dr. Powers. She did Ella's adrenal surgery more than four years ago and Ella has been fine ever since. I'm hoping the surgery will give us several more good years with Chin Soon.

The cost? Depending on what Dr. Powers finds and how well things go it will be anywhere from $850 to $1175. There is no getting around the fact that ferrets are expensive pets and that the average ferret will have at least once health crisis requiring surgery and costing $1000 or more during their lifetime.

Anyone who is a pet owner knows that pets become family members. Medical care like this is, unfortunately, a mandatory part of being a responsible pet owner.

Please keep Chin Soon in your thoughts over the next week.

Labels: , , , , , ,