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.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Goodbye Ella, 2002-2010

Back in February my oldest ferret, Ella, went to the vet for a couple of issues which I wrote about back then. She also had an enlarged spleen for roughly three years up until then. On that
examination found that her spleen was normal size but showed some irregular edges on the ultrasound. Dr. Powers didn't seem overly concerned at the time and we didn't worry about it.

For nearly eight months since then Ella acted like a happy, healthy, affectionate and playful ferret. All seemed right with the world.

Last Saturday night Ella had a little bit of an upset tummy, was moving a bit slowly, and seemed to have some hind end weakness. My first thought was insulinoma since that was what it looked like.

By Sunday evening the diarrhea was much worse, as in almost liquid and Ella had pronounced hind end weakness. She still ate her chicken gravy greedily but had little energy after that. I debated an emergency vet visit but decided she'd probably be OK if I called her regular vet in the morning.

By Monday morning it was obvious something was terribly wrong. Ella could barely move and was incontinent. She couldn't even move from her own waste. She was shivering and cool to the touch. I decided she couldn't take the three hour drive to Huntersville to see Dr. Powers and I called a local vet and got her in there. I kept her warm as best I could and gave her some warm gravy which she ate during the first part of the 45 minute drive.

By the time we arrived at the vet Ella's breathing was labored and she barely responded at all. The vet examined her and the news was terrible: Ella had a very large tumor on her spleen which had ruptured. She was bleeding into her abdomen. We were advised us that the kindest thing we could do was to say goodbye.

Ella was originally rescued in early 2003. She was found as a stray wandering in Chapel Hill in miserable shape. Her first vet appointment was on March 19, 2003 and we always treated that as if it was her birthday. That vet (Dr. Dan Hudson, who has since retired) estimated her age at 1 year old at that time. Dr. Powers saw her later and estimated that she was half a year older than that. Her original owner passed away rather suddenly in late 2004 and we adopted her ferrets, Ella and Zephyr. Ella was somewhere around eight and a half or perhaps nine years old when she died.

This is essentially the same way we lost Romana five years ago. At the time I was away on a business trip and my housemate has long beat herself up for not getting Romana to the vet the second she saw something wrong. I've always told her it wouldn't have made a difference. Suddenly I find myself asking the same question. I raised the issue on the Ferret Health List and the consensus was that it probably wouldn't have mattered. It was Ella's time.

Goodbye, Ella Bear. You will be missed.

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