Yes, you can. Just remember to freeze well rather than give it fresh. There is a salmon (but I can't remember, east or west coast) that has parasites that can cause serious issues if fed raw (cooking and freezing kills them). My guys love salmon but it took them a bit to get used to it. Different textures. Yay...Jack, you go little boy. The first signs of the switch is usually better coat and higher energy levels. Looking good . I will post that article. I'm on the wrong computer to access it so I will try and to that within the next day or so. Keep up the good work and if we're lucky, Jack will only remember this incident as a shadow of his past ciao
Post by mustelidmusk on Oct 6, 2010 8:42:34 GMT -5
From EVERYTHING I read, the recommendation for cysteine stones is to reduce protein. I'm also seeing conflicting info on all this
I've been reading Suki's info, and so far......I'm seeing some recommendations that don't necessary "synch -up" with what I've being reading (example = feed egg. I will need to look more into the egg thing and I'll talk to my vet about it. Again, my appt. is next monday. I know he will say to reduce protein - but how?
I'm thnking we can still feed raw, but it may be wise to look for lower cysteine meats and perhaps add om other nutritional food and sources and a little fiber to the diet.
This is definitely a challenging subject. The only two constants are the recommendation to reduce protein and to drink LOT of water...But some of the things I've read also suggest that changing diet and reducing protein might be a "just in case..." measure since I've also read things that say diet change may not be involved.
One I plan to do is to examine diets recommended for cysteine stones in cats and see what's in them. I'll talk to my vet about all this to see what we can come up with...my vet went from anti-raw for ferrets to PRO-raw. So he'll take the questions seriously.
I have to wonder if there is something in the low protein diet...
Hear me out. I rescued Jack after he had been dumped overnight at an animal shelter. Based on such callous abandonment I have to assume that his previous owners did very little to care for him. Since he's still alive, I have to assume he never had a bout of stones while in their care (since i highly doubt his previous owners would have shelled out the $1250 for surgery). Most likely they were feeding him the cheap catfood which is high in grain and low in protein. Of course, it could have absolutely nothing to do with his diet and it would have happened at this stage in his life no matter what he was eating.
I keep telling myself that my vet said he has never seen these stones in the same ferret twice and try to focus on just getting him on the best "ferret diet." He's eating soup that is 75% chicken and 25% rabbit now. Ugh, I hate the smell of the rabbit and he still insists on eating in my lap so gross
Last night I thought he was choking and i was going to have to do the Heimlich on him. He just stopped right in the middle of eating with a shocked look on his face and chicken hanging out of his mouth. I immediately pulled the chicken out and he went back to eating. He did that again this morning... but this time i watched him. He just wanted to carry the piece of chicken off to a flat surface to eat it better. Ugh, he's giving me ulcers.
He is indeed just being a ferret. They do love to stash, sometimes it's just about eating privately. You may want to start feeding him while sitting on the floor. I put a cardboard box (pop box works great), near where I"m sitting and allow them to run off and eat their food. They usually come back for more, if not I just grab them and continue feeding. ciao
Post by mustelidmusk on Oct 6, 2010 23:55:57 GMT -5
The stones take quite a while to develop. Here's the thing...kibble is DRY, and that is BAD for any kind of stone. I see no reason why we can't lower protein a bit by choosing lower cysteine meats and perhaps add a little low protein fiber and a little extra fat.
This week has been really crummy from a work stand point. Next week will be rotten too, but I'm hoping to get some research time in (including the vet appt.)
Here's that article that was on the ferrethealth list. I don't think it covers anything that we've already discussed but have a read through Kidney stones/bladder stones/urinary tract stones/uroliths come in many types. They have been mentioned without details in recent FML posts so I figured this might help some people in time to save some ferrets, and will copy the FHL.
:)The ones that Hilbert used to get and which Morney has gotten in the past are cystine uroliths. Cystine stones have a few genetic causes found in other animals but the specific genetic cause(s) in ferrets has/have not been reported upon yet in a veterinary journal. These are not the uroliths people most commonly read about, but are not terribly rare in ferrets, either. For this type of urolith the person who is feeding the ferret needs to reduce 4 of the amino acids (cystine, ornithine, lysine, and arginine) so the best approach for them without taking protein below safe levels is to reduce protein intake to about 35% of the diet. A very rare few need medications but careful dietary management can be sufficient. This problem is typically found when a susceptible individual goes onto a higher protein diet than his or her kidneys can handle. With these stones the urine will be too acidic. In these ferrets you want the urine pH to be higher than 5, preferably about 6 which is ferret-normal for urine pH. Once stabilized these ferrets need to have their urine pH monitored and to have periodic bladder x-rays to check for any possible new stone formation though a careful diet definitely can life- long and does perfectly from our experience with long lives possible. The trick is surviving that first crisis but that is incredibly difficult and sadly not always possible.
Many uroliths -- of ANY type -- in male ferrets wind up being fatal right from the start. That is because many are not found until a ferret completely blocks or develops hydronephrosis, and mostly because male ferrets block much more easily than females and are harder to treat. Surgery is often needed to correct the problem even though the ferret is often compromised when the problem is discovered. Also, a more extreme surgery, rerouting the urinary outflow can be needed at times if the male has a blockage in the urethra and if repeated cystos (removal of urine by needle) are not sufficient to let the sludge dislodge and in the inflammation go down. The problem can be survived if found in time, if luck is on everyone's side, and if the care at hospital and home are very good. Loads and loads of fluids are needed to get past the acute kidney damage, BTW. We have found that ferrets who have needed that help for a long period tend to develop a life-long habit of drinking more water than the rest which is good because it keeps their kidneys healthier long-term so helps provide them with longer lives despite their history.
The type of urolith (stone) usually read about is the struvite stone and that is because too many places use low quality foods. With poor quality food that have a high proportion of plant proteins the urine becomes too alkaline (too basic) and then the components of struvite precipitate out of the urine. Although having some plant matter in the food will not cause the urine to get too alkaline, having too much will so it is entirely a matter of degree -- of moderation. This is why any ferret who is a rescue from a home or farm which used cheap food has a decent chance of having such stones present. If you know that the previous location was a very bad one it pays to use a urine pH strip (You CAN use the very affordable ones for humans that show a range to test the urine pH (which should be about 6 in ferrets and should not be above 6.4 but also should not get too low for the reason mention in the second paragraph. Note that 6 would be too low for a human.) If there is a chance that sludge or a stone is present then x- ray the bladder to be safest because the best scenario is catching a stone or sludge before some dislodges and catches in urethra or before it can irritate the bladder badly, or... Because there simply are places like "backyard breeders" (not the same as "home breeders" or "private breeders"), because some of the farms are bad, because some owners just don't care enough, and because some other owners care but just don't know enough this winds up being the type of urolith/stone which is most often heard about. These are easily avoided. The ferrets who get struvite stones tend to have urine pHs of 6.4 or above.
There was an excellent article on this in www.smallanimalchannel.com/ferrets/ferret-health/bladder-stones.aspx but that website is currently giving so many redirects that it can not get through to the article which is a shame. I hope that this article becomes available soon (and it may simply be glitch or maintenance that will be done when you read this), and for public info on another kidney problem I hope that a way to find the past Ferrets Magazine veterinary article on raisins causing acute kidney failure also becomes apparent.
Calcium oxalate stones are also encountered in ferrets. As with humans the possible best solution so far appears to be to restrict oxalate sources in the diet. We all need calcium, ferrets included.
I do NOT know if there has been any work to find out if over-dosing of Vitamin D in ferrets has a chance of playing a part in formation in uroliths, nor do I know enough to know if it might even be a reasonable scenario. At some point I have to find time to learn more on that topic. We humans are very hard to over-dose for D and we usually don't get enough of it. Ferrets, on the other hand, are like dogs in that they develop hypercalcemia pretty easily from levels of D which are lower (See recent FML digests or the FHL Archives for links on the VIN investigation of one of the Blue Buffalo foods for this problem.) and that can cause calcium deposits in organs. The kidney is one of the most commonly affected organs and the heart is also often affected. I don't know if any of these form in locations where they can dislodge and pass through the urinary tract as a stone/ urolith.
There are other less common stones found in mammals but i do not know how many of those have been found in ferrets; I've simply encountered mentions of them elsewhere.
I don't know if this added any information that you haven't already read. It seems to me that a lot of the information, same as with adrenal and other ferret related information is ambiguous and contradictory.
I think that article is helpful in that it stresses how serious that first blockage is... it happens really fast and if you don't pay attention to tiny details in behavior, it can be easily missed. The day of Jack's emergency, he was his normal self in the morning and by the time i got home from work (~10 hours) he was lethargic and didn't even get out of his hammy to greet me. Just in the drive to his Vet's office, i watched him become exceedingly uncomfortable and depressed. It happened sooooo fast.
Since ferrets should get most of their "energy calories" from fats, a decrease in his protein shouldn't be too problematic, right? Chicken thighs are high in fat and low in sulfur (which is an essential element for the body to make cysteine) and he likes them. I am going to keep his in-take of sulfur-rich foods low and make sure each meal contains alot of animal fat (and maybe some pumpkin). When i left for work this morning, he was chomping on a whole chicken wing. he wasn't sure what to do with such a big thing, but was still doing a pretty good job of shredding off bites.
Just this week off the kibble, I have noticed how much more pee he is producing and how much less poopies. I think just for the added moisture benefit, this dietary change is worth it (especially for a fert with his condition). I'm going to bring him to the vet's office on saturday to get his current weight - I plan on keeping a close eye on that.
yesterday morning Jack licked a bowl clean of rabbit stew... It was just the nature's variety Rabbit patties (i think they look more like meatballs though) blended up. and last night he ate half a patty completely un-doctored, i hadn't even thawed it out ;D Looks like rabbit is on the menu from now on. Next flavor = lamb. Again, just the nature's Variety patties.
Jack did okay with a whole chicken wing but he really only ate the fat off it and didn't touch the bone. I suppose bone will take more time (and a whole chicken wing is a little big for *just Jack*). But i can't complain, he's completely off kibble ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Post by mustelidmusk on Oct 9, 2010 10:56:40 GMT -5
Yes, extra fat along with fiber will be good. Wysonf ARchetypal I diet, which ferrets so very well on has 33% fat. and ferrets have been know to consume up to 50% upon occassion with no ill side effects. I'd stick to adding around 20-25% fat depending on the cut of meat embedded (fat content) being offered. I'd also add some fiber, which will help with stool quality from the oil/fat.
I'vr been looking for a simple chart showing the content of various meat sources. This is being just about impossible to scare up. I may have to piece this together for you. The eggs and dairy are definitely high-phosphorous items. If we can feed higher fat and fiber along with lower protein meats that have high water content, (unlike a dry diet), there's a good chance your boy never have another problem. You know the signs to watch for, so any sign of straining should be cause for trip to the vets.
I wish I could find that article about the 2 ferrets that never had a recurrence of cysteine stones even though they did not change diet. (I should be so lucky to find it ).
Monday is my vet's appointment. I'm hoping to get some information on this from the vet. I will ask about his experience with ferret that have the cysteine stone (age, recurrence, treatments, meds, maesuring PH, etc)
@ Jennifer - I'm really curious to see what your vet has to say. I've called around to several local (and not so local) offices and no one seems to have advice on how to prevent a re-occurrence. He's doing really well on the raw so i really think that was a great start! now that he's accepting to flavors other than chicken, I can focus on balancing the fats/protein/fiber. He's eating quite a bit of fat/oil right now, and i haven't seen any "seedy" poops. He had a chicken wing last night and stripped all the meat off of it and left the bones, so this morning he is having the NV rabbit (which has bones ground in). Tonight he is going to have the Primal Raw Pheasant. I'm still nervous about not balancing his diet, so the commercial raws seem like a good meal source several times a week for me.
My boyfriend has been on several business trips over the last two weeks and hasn't seen Jack since he's been off the kibble. He finally saw him on saturday and the first thing out of his mouth was "his fur looks better." Then i made him smell Jack and he agreed that he smells "less like pee" (he thinks Jack used to smell like pee).
Sounds to me like you've got a raw fed ferret That is great. Don't you love the visual benefits. They're so obvious. The subtle ones are also huge. I have to admit I'm really curious about Jack's ability to not have stones again. I know what I believe but this is the first time that I've ever had to deal with it on a more personal level (which was why I asked Jennifer to help me out, even though she's really busy right now) ciao
Post by jacksmomma on Oct 11, 2010 15:44:54 GMT -5
@ Heather - I'm waiting for the ball to drop. this conversion from kibble to raw just seems like it was too easy but i do love, love, love the visual effects (and the really big puddles of pee he makes). I guess he will be a learning experience for both of us And of course, I appreciate having both of you to guide us
Well jack is now tasting/ eating basically anything i give him without me having to make him. Yay, no more scruff and stuff!!! Last night i made a big batch of organ soup and he seems to be doing pretty well with that! is it time to start trying to incorporate whole prey? I don't know if I can cut up a pinky... and that seems to be how everyone started
Post by mustelidmusk on Oct 15, 2010 9:47:07 GMT -5
I talked to my vet on Monday. He has never seen a case of cysteine stones in ferret!!!! (And he has recently cut back his hours and is nearing retirement - but he till stays current on medicine - especially for ferrets ).
So then, I will continue with my quest to gather info on which meats are lower cysteine/sulfur for you. It certainly won't hurt.