Hydronephrosis in Ferrets
Usually one-sided and occurring secondary to complete or partial obstruction of the kidney or ureter by kidney stones, tumor, trauma or disease, hydronephrosis causes fluid buildup in the ferret’s kidney. It can be seen in either gender, though it is more common in young females, especially those that have been spayed, which may cause inadvertent cuts on the ureter during the procedure.
Symptoms and Types
Some ferrets may be without overt symptoms, while others may display one or many of the following:
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Excessive thirst and urination (polydipsia and polyuria, respectively)
- Blood in urine (hematuria)
- Signs of uremia
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Mouth sores
- Lower back pain
- Abdominal pain and distension
- Any cause of ureteral obstruction, including stones, cancer, prostate disease, abscesses, cysts, blood clot, or other mass.
- Inadvertent ligation of the ureter during spaying
Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your ferret after taking a thorough medical history, including recent activities that may have precipitated the symptoms. Standard laboratory tests include a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis to rule out or confirm other causes of disease. Abdominal x-rays and an ultrasounds are a couple other important tools for diagnosing hydronephrosis and its underlying cause.
The treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of the disease and whether or not there is kidney failure. If the obstruction is causing serious damage, for example, it may require surgery. Fluid therapy is typically needed to restore electrolyte deficits.
Living and Management
Depending on the diagnosis and the treatment plan, your veterinarian may want you to bring your ferret in for blood tests from time to time to monitor its progress. Its prognosis will depend on the underlying cause and whether or not the animal is suffering from an infection.
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