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Diagnosis and treatment of esophageal foreign body or stricture in three ferrets (Mustela putorius furo)

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 3 Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 7 Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 8 Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION 3 ferrets (Mustela putorius furo), aged 1 to 2 years, were referred for evaluation of a 4-day to 2-week history of gastrointestinal signs, including anorexia, regurgitation, and vomiting.

CLINICAL FINDINGS All 3 ferrets had clinical signs suggestive of dysphagia or esophagitis on initial examination. Esophagoscopy, barium-contrast esophagography, or both revealed foreign bodies with mucosal inflammation in 1 patient and an esophageal foreign body with stricture in 2 patients. One of the latter ferrets had a recent history of gastrotomy to remove a foreign body.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME 1 ferret was treated with endoscopic retrieval of the foreign bodies. Esophageal stricture was treated in 2 ferrets by means of endoscopic balloon dilation accompanied by placement of an esophageal stent in 1 ferret. After resolution of clinical signs and completion of all prescribed treatments, 2 of 3 ferrets successfully transitioned to a regular hard kibble diet; 1 ferret remained on a soft diet for 2 years. All owners were satisfied with the outcome of treatment.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Ferrets are prone to foreign body ingestion. Results of this small series of cases suggested that minimally invasive techniques may be useful for the management of esophageal disease in this species.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Graham (jennifer.graham@tufts.edu)

Dr. Webb's present address is Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, 1111 West Loop S #160, Houston, TX 77027.

Dr. Fordham's present address is Mt Laurel Animal Hospital, 220 Mt Laurel Rd, Mt Laurel, NJ 08054.

Dr. DeCubellis' present address is Calgary Avian and Exotic Pet Clinic, 3118-17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 5H8, Canada.

Dr. Buckley's present address is VCA Capital Area Veterinary Emergency and Specialty, 1 Intervale Rd, Concord, NH 03301.

Dr. Hobbs' present address is Friendship Hospital for Animals, 4105 Brandywine St NW, Washington, DC 20016.

Drs. Berent and Weisse's current address is the Animal Medical Center, 510 E 62nd St, New York, NY, 10065.