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.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chin Soon's Delayed Reaction To Her Distemper Vaccination

Last Tuesday it seemed that Chin Soon's reaction to her distemper vaccination was the least severe of the three. By last night Ella and Zephyr were completely back to normal and were especially playful. They were the proverbial energizer weasels: they kept going and going. Chin Soon continued to look and feel out of sorts while the others recovered and by last night it looked like she was in serious trouble. She had no energy at all and still seemed off balance. By last night it was so bad she could barely walk. Chin Soon had obviously been losing weight despite still having her usually strong appetite for chicken gravy. I'm just not sure she was eating much of anything else. She was weak but it didn't look at all the same as when she had insulinoma. She just plain looked miserable.

I was able to reach Dr. Powers around 10 PM last night and she really came through for Chin Soon and for me. Based on her instructions I gave Chin Soon 0.05ml of pediapred (1mg/ml concentration) as an anti-inflammatory. We still had pred in the house from when she was taking it for insulinoma. I also gave her a tiny amount of famotidine (generic for Pepcid AC) crushed up in some more gravy. I've been offering her gravy every three to four hours since then. If need be Dr. Powers offered to see Chin Soon today on an emergency basis. Thankfully it wasn't necessary.

The good news is that Chin Soon seems to have turned the corner and is slowly improving. She's more perky and is eating plenty of gravy when offered. She doesn't feel nearly as light. I checked her blood glucose just in case and it was a nice, normal 101 this morning. Dr. Powers called to check up on Chin Soon and instructed me to continue the pediapred once a day for another couple of days and to continue carafate (now discontinued for the other ferrets) and the famotidine for another four days. We'll touch base on Monday or Tuesday.

Chin Soon is scheduled for her rabies vaccination and having her teeth cleaned right after the 4th of July holiday. Right now it's an open question whether or not we'll go ahead with either of those things. It all depends on how she recovers from here on out.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Three Vaccinations, Three Reactions

Ella, Zephyr and Chin Soon all went to see Dr. Lauren Powers at Carolina Veterinary Specialists today to have their regular checkups and their annual distemper vaccinations. All three ferrets have had previous reactions to Merial Purevax, which has become the standard distemper vaccination. The older vaccine, Fervac-D, had a high rate of adverse reactions. Merial Purevax is supposed to have a very low reaction rate. Unfortunately my ferrets don't seem to know that. Anyway, in the past when a ferret of mine had a relatively minor reaction we pretreated with Benadryl the following year and there were no problems at all. This year my ferrets all had adverse reactions despite being pretreated, something I had never seen before.

The reactions included vomiting and diarrhea. Chin Soon's reaction was relatively mild. Ella and Zephyr both needed dex-s injections, a famotidine injection to settle their stomachs, and sub-q fluids to rehydrate them. Zephyr, who seemed to have the most severe reaction, stayed with Dr. Powers the longest. After three hours at the vet we finally were able to head for home thinking the worst had passed.

On the last leg of the trip home one of the ferrets (probably Zephyr, but we can't really be sure) had nasty, seriously bloody diarrhea. That qualifies as a severe reaction. I called Dr. Powers and while my housemate watched the ferrets like a hawk I ran out to the pharmacy before closing to get some carafate. If the problem recurred someone was going back to the vet for the night. Thankfully that didn't happen. Zephyr and Ella still have upset stomachs (not unexpected) but no blood. Chin Soon had little energy tonight but her stool is almost back to normal. Everyone involved, ferret and human, had a very rough day. It also turned into a somewhat expensive day, as in well over $200 all told.

Ella will be eight before she is due for another distemper vaccination. Dr. Powers has already advised me not to vaccinate her again. Between her age and the reaction it just is safer not to. Zephyr and Chin Soon will be vaccinated next year assuming they are healthy but will be pretreated with dexamethasone as well as Benadryl to prevent this from happening again.

After the fourth of July weekend all go back to the vet for their rabies vaccinations. They all have reacted to that before as well. Rabies vaccinations are mandatory where I live so we will go ahead with those. Hopefully we won't have a repeat of today's very long and very unpleasant vet visit. Ella will also have blood work done then. No, nothing is wrong. It's just something our vet likes to do every six months to catch any problems early in ferrets over seven years old.

There was good news today. Chin Soon's blood glucose was a nice, normal 109. She got a clean bill of health and has completely recovered from her April insulinoma and adrenal surgery. Dr. Powers commented that her coat is so full now you can't even tell that she had surgery. Her teeth and gums are still pretty nasty and she will have them properly scaled and cleaned next visit.

Ella is also blissfully healthy. Even though she is just about blind and occasionally bumps into things her pupils still react to a strong light and there are no signs of cataracts. Her spleen is still moderately enlarged but, as expected, we aren't going to worry about that and she has no symptoms that indicate it's a problem. It's been four and a half years since Dr. Powers did her adrenal surgery and she really has had no problems other than vaccination reactions (now three in all) since then.

Zephyr is the only ferret of my three who has never had a major health issue. Despite all that happened today she had a decent amount of energy tonight and acter like her normal self.

It's been a long day and I'm glad it's over.

Labels: , , , , , , ,