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Large Bowel Diarrhea in Ferrets

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Clostridial Enterotoxicosis in Ferrets

 

Abnormally high levels of the Clostridium perfringens, a bacteria commonly found inhabiting decaying vegetation and marine sediment, can bring on the intestinal syndrome Clostridial enterotoxicosis, sometimes referred to as large bowel diarrhea in ferrets. It can also be acquired from raw or improperly cooked meats and poultry, and meats that have been left out in the open. Typically, the syndrome and its associated symptoms, such as diarrhea, resolve within a week, but it may also become more severe or lead to other gastrointestinal disorders.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Depending on the strain of pathogen, the disease may be mild or life-threatening. Some signs and symptoms associated with Clostridial enterotoxicosis include:

 

  • Gastrointestinal distension
  • Diarrhea (sometimes with green mucous or small amounts of blood)
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Tachycardia
  • Shock

 

Causes

 

In addition to being found in decaying vegetation or raw meat, there is some evidence that ferrets may become infected with Clostridium perfringens bacteria from being boarded with other animals, such as in a kennel.

 

Diagnosis

 

To confirm a diagnosis, common causes for diarrhea and abdominal distension will first be ruled out. These may include inflammatory bowel disease, food poisoning, metabolic diseases and related disorders. Examinations and pathology reports may reveal spores containing the pathogen C. perringens in the fecal matter. Mucous matter is also a common finding in laboratory examination.

 

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