Choleccystitis in a 6 year old female spayed ferret

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A 6-year-old, female spayed, domestic ferret was presented with a 7- to 10-day history of lethargy, progressive inappetence, and weight loss. Prior to the development of these clinical signs, the patient’s medical history was reportedly unremarkable. On physical examination, the patient was quiet, alert, and responsive. Melena was present in her travel carrier. She had lost 27% of her body weight since her last veterinary visit 19 months prior, and her body condition score had decreased from 6/9 to 3/9. She was clinically jaundiced with pale yellow-pink mucous membranes, yellow skin on her ventrum, and a yellow nose. Abdominal palpation revealed a markedly enlarged spleen that had increased in size since her last examination. Complete blood count and chemistry panel revealed a moderate regenerative anemia, mild hypoalbuminemia, moderately elevated ALP, markedly elevated GGT, and marked hyperbilirubinemia. ALT, AST, and cholesterol were within normal limits. A fecal occult blood test was negative. Abdominal ultrasound revealed a moderate amount of partially organized, heteroechoic material in the gallbladder. The liver and gastrointestinal tract were ultrasonographically normal. Following initial evaluation, the patient’s problem list included icterus, elevated ALP and GGT, anemia, weight loss, anorexia, lethargy, and splenomegaly. Based on her clinical history, physical examination, and diagnostic findings, the patient was presumptively diagnosed with cholecystitis. She was managed medically for three days with some success before her clinical improvement plateaued. Surgical management was elected, and a cholecystectomy was performed. Following the procedure, the patient was hospitalized for 6 days of intensive postoperative management. She was ultimately stabilized and discharged to the care of her owners, with continued clinical improvement appreciated at subsequent recheck examinations. This seminar will discuss the clinical evaluation of jaundice, medical and surgical management of cholecystitis, and histopathologic evidence of chronic gallbladder disease in a domestic ferret.

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domestic ferret; cholecystitis; cholestasis; icterus


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