Ascites, also known as abdominal effusion, is the medical term referring to the buildup of fluid in the abdomen. In ferrets, this may cause symptoms such as weight gain, abdominal discomfort, and loss of appetite. A wide variety of causes may be responsible for ascites, thus treatments vary accordingly.
The body systems usually affected by this disorder typically include the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, renal (including the kidneys and bladder), lymph and immune systems. The signs and symptoms may include the following:
- Weight gain
- Lethargy and fatigue
- An unsteady gait or incoordination
- Inability to eat or loss of appetite
- Abdominal distension or a bloated appearance
- Abdominal discomfort or pain during palpation
The causes for ascites are varied but may include the following:
- Chronic heart failure or cardiomyopathy
- Gastrointestinal and kidney diseases
- An inflammation of the inner wall of the abdomen (or peritonitis)
- Imbalances of electrolytes, such as potassium and salt, in the body
- Obstruction of certain heart valves and veins, including the vena cava, which returns blood from the lower portion of the body to the heart
To diagnose ascites, your veterinarian will conduct an ascetic fluid evaluation on the ferret. This involves the removal of abdominal fluid to analyze for characteristics such as bacterial presence, protein makeup, and bleeding. The veterinarian may also analyze the urine or run X-rays and ultrasounds to determine the cause of abdominal fluid buildup.
Lower levels of potassium in the blood than normal
Examination through feeling
A medical condition in which the peritoneum becomes inflamed
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
The escape of fluid or blood into tissues or body spaces or cavities
The collection of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.
The collection of fluid in the tissue
Refers to a condition in which fluid collects around the vital organs located inside the abdomen. This is normally the side effect of a more serious condition, like liver disease or heart disease. Certain bacterial infections can also cause the build-up of such fluid, as can certain types of cancer. An animal experiencing abdominal effusion will likely have an extremely bloated midsection.
The term used to describe the movement of an animal