Research serious health problems

There has been an explosive increase of young or young adult ferrets with serious inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract( GI-tract), connected organs and/or the tympanic cavity(mid-ear) within the patients of “de Frettenkliniek” since 2016. This includes inflammations that occur acutely that can be treated but also chronic problems which cannot be fully cured. Even after treatment these inflammations cause tremendous damage to the GI-tract. Ferrets with these problems will never be able to return to an optimal condition. There are hundreds of victims of this disease and those are only the known cases. Most prominently is that this explosion of health problems seems to be targeting (very) young animals (<2 years). There are multiple cases that are very severe, some even resulting in death or euthanasia. 

In the course of 2018 the clinical picture was finally well documented after a great deal of bacteriological, post-mortem and tissue research, thanks to donors and volunteers from the workgroup. The symptoms of nausea caused by gastrointestinal problems and the pain due to chronic middle ear infections gradually have become clearer.

Many young and young adult ferrets have major problems due to a disturbed intestinal bacterial flora. With great probability caused by the raw food (both KVV -processed raw meat- and / or prey) which they had in their youth. The pathogenic bacteria in this food has seriously disrupted the normal intestinal bacterial flora in this generation of ferrets. Kits of a mother with this abnormality also appear to receive this disturbed intestinal bacterial flora from the mother. Even if they never had raw food themselves.

What we miss is a targeted therapy for these ill ferrets. At the moment there is nothing more that treatment of symptoms. It is a tragedy that such a large amount of young ferrets need to be euthanized for they are too ill to live on.

The follow up research will mainly focus on the targeted therapy for the disease. Again, money is needed. Therefore we ask all ferret lovers to contribute financially to develop a treatment for the diseased ferrets.

Thank you in advance,
Workgroup Rawfed Ferrets

Questions can be sent to Dutch e-mail address vragen@werkgroep-fret.nl.


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