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General Discussion  [ general questions and issues relating to ferrets ]  
Causes of Coughing

I wonder if anyone may be able to help me out with any suggestions as to why my little Sam has a horrid hairball kind of cough. It has been going on for about 3-4 months now, not all the time, just sporadically and not associated with any one variable eg: early morning cold, after running around etc. He has been on two courses of anti-biotics so far, but they don't seem to have helped. It sounds and looks like he is trying to bring something up, but it never happens. But then I have never heard a cough either to know the difference. The vet has suggested the next course of action is a possible chest x-ray followed by the possibility of an operation where they squirt water into the lungs and suck it back out in the hope of picking up any bacteria that may be identified and then treated. Now Frodo has also started the cough, so as you can imagine, I am quite worried though I can never replicate it for the vet. Does any one have any suggestions on what it may be.
They are both still bouncing around like maniac's and their demeanour is still quite normal and happy.

Tks to any one who can offer suggestions.
6 responses          jenni
 Mon 22 Aug 05

 
Responses  
Do you give them hairball medicine? They might actually be trying to get a hairball up, it's the same as with cats I think, but ferrets can't really cough up the hairballs like cats can. If you don't already give them anything for that, it might be worth giving it a try before x-rays and surgery?

A lot of people seem to use petroleum jelly with no problems... no additives (like sugar) that can make ferrets sick. 1 tsp 2-3 times a week during shedding season, or all year round if they're chronic hairball coughers. Its possible to mix the petroleum jelly with their normal food (ground up) and they may eat it with no hassles!

I hope that helps.
  k
Thu 25 Aug 05

   
Thans for your suggestion purrsikat. They do receive hairball treatment allready, but they seem to have settled down a bit of late. The weather hasn't been so cold, so maybe that was it after all. I have only heard one coughing bout in the last week, so fingers crossed my fave little men are all better now.   jenni
Sun 28 Aug 05

   
i'll keep my fingers crossed for you and your fuzzes!!!   k
Mon 29 Aug 05

   
Well, it looks as though my motherly instincts were right after all. Whilst Sam's coughing is irregular and his appetite and demeanor is all good, I ended up taking him back to the vet and getting some x-rays done. It appears that he does infact have some kind of bronchial pattern there after all. Fortunately it is not a tumour or anything like that. However, he does have to go in to hospital for a day next week to have some fluid put into his lungs, sucked back out and sent to the lab to find out if it is bacterial, fungal, allergy, etc. Poor little man. It just goes to show you can look after them to the best of your ability, but sometimes they are still going to get sick. I will be worried for my little man, and it will be expensive, but as far as I'm concerned, he is one of my kids and I will do what has to be done to get him fully healthy again. Thanks for your crossed fingers. Keep them crossed a little bit longer and I will post the results for those interested.   jenni
Wed 12 Oct 05

   
Well, we have the results. Sam has asthma. I guess it could be worse. I have just been to see our vet to discuss treatment, and we are going to trial a medication for a month, and adjust the dosage as required. The side affects of the medication is that if we overdose it could present like cushings disease. But, the good new is it won't induce cushings. Any how, I'll keep every one posted on how Sam is progressing.   jenni
Thu 27 Oct 05

   
It's good to hear back from you & that you have a definite answer as to what it is/ is caused by. I'll be looking forward to hearing on his progress too!   k
Wed 02 Nov 05

   
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