Sweet, sweet baby. My heart breaks to know she was found that way, but seriously, thank you so much for taking her in. I doubt anyone else who passed her would have. Karma goes a long way and, with my experience, the hurt fuzzies bond quite quickly with you, with all of the time you put into it.
Humans call me Vicki. Munchkin, Jasmine and JackJack all know me as Momma.
Graduated from the Holistic Ferret Mentor Program December 3rd, 2009!
Ferry came home last night and has been to see the specialist this morning. The verdict is the same: spinal injury takes time to heal. The vet says to give her another two weeks to see how she does. Her back legs have a lot of reaction so that looks good but it's her not peeing that is a big issue.
I'm going to care for her at home in these two weeks. I've been shown some physiotherapy to do for Ferry but will appreciate Jennifer's advice on what else I can do.
I'm not very confident with expressing her bladder. I've been shown at the hospital and by the vet, but I have yet to do it. She didn't have very much in her bladder this morning so I can't feel it. I'm also scared of pressing too hard.
What is the best thing to be feeding her? I gave her some lightly boiled chicken and kidney last night. Not sure how she'll take to raw food. Is there anything I should supplement her diet with?
Were you ever able to get hold of the shelter that lorelei posted? They might be able to help you with expressing her bladder and helping you so that you're comfortable doing it. It's very much a learned process and you get better as you practice. I'm sure that they've had to do this on a number of occasions so they may be able help you and walk through while instructing you. My vet sat down with me and showed me and then helped me through it so that I felt somewhat comfortable performing the expression. She did the same for administering the sub Q fluids too. Shelters often do these things to help differ their costs and to ease up on the number of vet visits that are sometimes required. What you feed her is rather up to you. Where do you want to go with this and what is she happily eating now? It's really wonderful that you've taken this little sweety in and that you're doing all this to take care of her. ciao
I haven't contacted the shelter as it's not near where I am in London. I'll have to take a long train ride with Ferry to see them and we've already done that yesterday to see the specialist.
It was a relief that she did pee last night while we were playing.
I'm taking her back to the hospital so they can demonstrate the process again.
At the moment she's eating chicken. I've mixed in butternut squash because her stools are very loose. She doesn't seem to like the squash but eats it later. Chicken she is happy with. I tried some beef this morning but she doesn't seem to be excited about it.
I would continue trying to feed a raw diet personally. I am no expert by any means, but I would imagine that the added nutrition of a raw diet will help give her more of the nutrients that she needs to heal. Is she pooping on her own then? I am not sure if you would want to bulk up the poop too much because the loose stools would be easier for her to pass. A solid poop might cause her to strain too much. I really don't know though, I am just guessing on this. Someone else here will know a lot more than me. If you can get bone meal you should be able to mix that in with some blended meat, squash, water, and maybe some vitamins to make a "duck soup" to help transition her to raw. The bone meal should help solidify her poop if that is what you are looking to do too. Don't take my word for it though, I would double check.
Man though, what a situation! She is SO lucky that you found her and are giving her the best of care and love. I truly hope that she continues to heal - it sounds like she is getting a little better each day. (Did she pee on her own while you were playing? That sounds like good news! ). Stories like this are so touching. I know that she loves you for what you are doing for her. Good luck to both of you and I hope that things continue uphill so that you can enjoy a long, happy life together! Keep us posted! Pics are nice.
Post by mustelidmusk on Jun 9, 2010 18:44:42 GMT -5
Oh, what beautiful pictures - she is gorgeous!!!! Ad she's definitely a spunky little thing - you can see it in her eyes!
Regarding expressing the bladder.... it's one of those things that seems impossible at first, but it gets easier over time...the best thing to do is go to the vets or the shelter ad have them feel her bladder to see how full it is. Then you need to feel the bladder. Based upon what you were shown, you need to try to express her bladder while an expert is watching. This will allow you to ask questions and they can help improve your technique.
It sounds like Ferry may pee a little bit on her own, which is good. Here are a few things that may help.....
1. Stimulation of genitals to induce urination: Many people do not know this, but a lot of baby mammals that require nest time to mature before they can venture "outdoors" cannot urinate and/or defecate on their own. The moms have to lick their babies' "parts" to stimulate this activity until the neural pathways and responses are mature enough to function on their own. Using a simple stimulation technique used by wildlife rehabbers may help to encourage/expedite healing and/or development of new neural pathways.
To get Ferry's digestive and urinary system mobilized, Feed Ferry a nice meal of warmed soup....this can be raw soup, second stage meat baby food mixed with a little water, etc. You want the soup to be thick and creamy in texture. You'll want the soup to feel warm to the touch, but not hot,
When Ferrey is done eating, place a thick towel on a table or on your lap. use a warm moist paper towel to rub her Wash her muzzle and her entire face with this warm wet towel. A mom will clean her babies faces after they eat. Accumulation of food at the base of fur and on skin can result in death from bacterial infection.
Next, the mom will clean her baby'd genticls by licking them. The purpose is not only to clean the baby and keep the nest clean, but also to stimulate the baby to pee. Using a CLEAN, warm, moist cloth gently massage Ferrey's vulva. Remember that you're trying to replicate the action of a mom licking her babies, so you want to be firm enough to do a good job cleaning, but you want to be gentle at the same time. I expect the pee may dribble out first, so you'll need to check the moist towel for yellow urine.
Since you're into it this far, you may want to massage Ferry's anus next to help induce poop. Obviously, if you rub the reara end, you won't want to work in "reverse order" which could introduce bacterial infection. Be sure the towel or cloth is plenty moist an warm at all times.
You'll have to experiment. Ferry may do better held on here back or you mat want to hold her on her belly, etc.
With a bit of luck, Ferry will start responding to this stimulation.The hope is that all this work will help her regain control of her bladder.
I'll post more later with some info on some exercises you may want to try for her hind legs and core muscles.
I'm not sure if her urine while we were playing was overflow or her trying to urine but I'll continue to observe.
I'm thinking of switching her to a raw diet. At the moment, I cook the chicken very lightly and some of the meat is pink, she eats it up. I don't think it'll be a problem to feed her raw chicken. If I'm feeding her raw soup, how can it be warmed?
I'm also going in everyday to the hospital to check how I'm expressing her bladder. I managed it last night, but not this morning.
While we were at the vet yesterday, I was stroking her around the neck and she became very strange. She went all soft and started licking and play-nipping my hand all over, non-stop. At first I thought she had a sudden realisation (ha ha!) that I'm helping her but I realised that I must have accidentally simulated mating behaviour. I guess this also means her hormonal injection to take her out of season hasn't worked. So is it a bad idea for me to massage her vulva now? I've been told by the vet to avoid touching her neck for now. I don't want to accidentally make her think she is pregnant...
She poops with no problem. Whenever I hold her to try to express her bladder, she poops!
I will check back for the exercises. She seems to be responding slowly to physiotherapy, kicking my fingers and wriggling a lot.
Post by mustelidmusk on Jun 12, 2010 16:00:11 GMT -5
Hhmmmm.... now that's something I had not anticipated---- I had forgotten that she is not spayed. When was the hormone shot given? What was the medication used? How long should the injection last?
I was using a 3-month lupron dept for my ferrets to try to prevent the adrenal disease. But, the depot started causing "knots in my ferrets' muscles at the site injection.....we speculate that the depot was not dispersing the meds.This hormone type shots can be somewhat tricky.
Does your girl have a swollen vulva? You'll want to watch for that to make sure she's not coming into season. I may be bet to not try to stimulate her to pee if it seems like she's trying to come back into season
For exercises, one thing you'll want to do is to try to get her to push against resistance with her hind feet. Exercise one leg, then the other. use a finger to provide the resistance by pressing your finger pad into the bottom of her foot. As you press into the foot, her toes should sort of "grasp"your finger. Push her foot such the her leg folds in up to he butt in a natural position.Most ferrets will usually try to push against the finger and extend its leg. extend the leg and try this again. If you find any pont/position where Ferry has any ability to move on her own or push back against your finger, exploit this location and try to get her moving on her own/pushing back as much as possible. Exercise each leg separately. Also exercise both legs at the same time.
That's the basic idea behind this exercise. You want to try this with Ferry on her back, on her stomach and on each side. You may be able fto hold her more easily for some exercise positions, and some may work well on a soft surface like a pillow on a table - or a bed. You may find she can move in some positions but not others.
Another good good exercise is swimming. Depend on how Ferrey feels about water, you may need to start out slow...One of my girls hated even stepping in water. So I started with about a half inch of warm water in the tub. Remember that ferrets have warmer body temperatures than we do, so take the time to make Ferry a warm tub Slowly lower Ferry into the water. Put her hind feet in first. I recommend that you wrap your arm in a towel and lay Ferry along the length of your supporting her hind end in the palm of your hand with her body lying along the length of your arm. Using your other hand to securely hold Ferry to your arm, slowly lower Ferrys feet and tail into the water. she may try to scramble up your arm (the reason for the towel = fewer scratches! Do this a couple times per day until she becomes used to this activity. Begin to add more water. eventually the water will be high enough to support some of her weight. Always hold Ferry's front end, but start allowing her butt to go into the water unsupported (while you still support her font end.). Hopefully, she'll get some support from the water and start moving those back legs to try to put her feet on the bottom of the tub. If you can get her legs moving a bit, you'll want to get the water at a level where can "touch bottom" and push off the tub floor . Allow touch with toe tips only at first. As she begins to develop strength, she will hopefully gain control of her feet such that she is not "knuckling" or walking on the tops of her feet. Over time and and Ferry gets stronger (fingers crossed!), lower the water in the tub to help her learn to walk on her feet correctly without he feet curling under. Over time, lower the water some more....Ideally, Ferry should be able to start walking on her own with the water holding some of her body weight. She should also be starting to move those legs to push herself around while outside of the tub as well. (Ping pong balls in the tub can be good motivators!!!
Before, after and during Ferry's sessions, gently massage each leg and foot to get the blood flowing and stimulate any sense of feeling in her feet legs and hips. Try to intersperse some play time during the exercise sessions so she likes her therapy time.
Also, the warm water is likely to stimulate her to pee and/or poop. I try to see if mt kids will poop when the wake up before putting them in the tub. This may help with urination as well, so this could be useful for more than just leg therapy.
Regarding warming food. You an put the raw meat in a plastic ziplock bag and put the bag in hot water. You can put the food in the microwave on defrost IF you let it go for 5 seconds at the most and test the temperature before you feed it.
I really hope thi helps Ferry...I would love to hear that she's improving!!!
Please let us know how things are going! -jennifer
She has been in season since I found her. It's one of the reasons why I was annoyed about the vets because they didn't do anything until I mentioned it. Perhaps it's not important but I worry about anaemia. She has since been given another hormonal injection. I will check to see what it is and the dosage tomorrow. Her vulva is still swollen.
I will definitely try out the resistance exercise. I've been playing around with her toes to stimulate feeling but your steps sound more structured. As for swimming, I tried it in the basin in my bathroom the first day I brought her home. Very shallow warm water and I held on to her upper body and dipped her legs into the water. She was so terrified she started kicking her feet when I took her out of the water. She actually tried to run when I set her on the floor. She hated it. Whenever I bring her into the bathroom to express her bladder, she will tense up so I have to do it on my living room floor now. Perhaps I should try the swimming again, when she gains more confidence and trust. It makes a lot of sense and even though she hated it, her body reacted in a positive way from her first "swimming" session.
Good news, I fed Ferry raw tonight. She loves it. I got the butcher to mash up a whole quail including bones (minus legs and head) and stirred in the liver and heart later. To that I added 100% cranberry juice, fish oil, spirulina, echinacea and grated butternut squash. I might add some quail's egg yolk and shell once a week. I don't have a microwave so I heated it gently over a water bath. The ziplock way will be useful when I am freezing the meat. Is there any other supplements I should add to her raw mix?
Again, thanks for your help and I'll report back with any news.
That's fantastic that your little one enjoys her new diet. It's by far better for her than the kibble stuff. The more different types of proteins that you add the less supplements you need to use. We suggest a minimum of 3 types of proteins. I would try to avoid cranberry juice in your next batch, there is something in cranberries that doesn't sit well with carnivores. I can't find my information and will have to look further (new computer and not all my files have been switched over to this one). If you're going to feed eggs, feed the whole thing. An egg is balanced as long as it's fed in it's entirety...it's only when it's fed as white only that you start having problems. The water heating is far superior to the microwave. Microwaves have a tendency to overheat and even partially cook the food it's supposed to be thawing. The last thing you want to do is partially cook the bone in your mix. It sounds like you and Ferry are making great progress . ciao
Post by mustelidmusk on Jun 12, 2010 21:56:02 GMT -5
That's wonderful that Ferry likes the raw food!!!! I bet she was raw-fed before she escaped!!!!!
With the water, you can start by letting only her tail and back toes in the water. hold her there for a little bit but not too long, and then set her down and give her lots of praise and treats. Incorporate this "dipping" with play time and attention. Eventualy, she'll learn to accept it.
A funny thing about this is that one of my girls hates water, but once she's in the warm water, she accepts it. I don't think she's particularly fond of it, but it's preferable to get the attention than to be ignored .
Over time, Ferry may learn to accept swimming. And even if she' using her legs to try to get away from the water, it's a step toward recovery.
I suspect that if the "swimming lessons" become part of her routine, she'll eventually adapt to the "abuse" . (My Kachina thinks anything that has to do with water other than lapping it up is ferret abuse ).
Another exercise you may want to try would be to try to get her to "sit up" and "beg" like a dog. This is easily done during play time with a strip of meat or a toy dangling up high enticing her t o lift hr front end off the ground. the lower spine is commonly where problems arise, so even if there is damage, encouraging Ferry to exercise her core muscles may help. I suspect tha tshe will not be able to o this exercise, but even if she can" back up" her front end closer to her butt while sitting to form a "rounded back posture" and point her nose up, it's a start. Does she sit at all? If so, are her legs beneath her (so she could spring off her haunches like a normal ferret?) Or are they unfolded and extended straight out in front of her?
I'm very concerned that Ferry has been in season for so long. I'm glad you've gotten her another injection. I recommend feeding her a little extra raw liver(they seem to live chicken liver best) and red meat such as beef or lamb - these meats contain more iron. Please let me know what the injection is and the dosing. I'm thinking there may be a better alternative for Ferry than the "jill jab".
I 'm betting your girl cannot tolerate a surgery (spay) at this point in time. I recommend that you try to get her a Suprelorin implant. Suprelorin is the name of a in plant that can be used in ferrets to suppress hormone production at the pituitary gland, so it can be used as a "contraceptive" by shutting down the gonads. the implant lasts for about a year, sometimes longer. It's more cost effective, and from everything I've heard, it's very effective. The drug in the implant is called "deslorelin". You want the Suprelorin brand by Peptek in ferret-appropriate dosing. The deslorelin has been used as a contrceptive in both dogs and horses. I know that Suprelorin has been available in the UK for a couple of years now. You may want to contact some ferret organizations in the UK to find out where if there's a vet within reasonable distance who can provide the implant....((If my memory serves me correctly - and half of the time it does NOT - you're in the UK )
Anyway, the Suprelorin in ferrets is typically used to treat adrenal disease, but a fried of mine implanted her 3 hobs to keep them coming in rut. It worked extremely well on them with no side effects.
If you cannot find a ferret organization in the UK that can help you look into the Deslorelin, please let me know...I think I can get in touch with somebody out there who may be able to help you.