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Case Description—An 8-month-old spayed female domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo) was referred for examination to determine the cause of lethargy and severe anemia.

Clinical Findings—Initial examination revealed that the ferret was lethargic but with appropriate mentation. The only other abnormal findings were severe pallor of the mucous membranes, nasal planum, and skin and a PCV of 8%. Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) was diagnosed on the basis of cytologic evaluation of a bone marrow biopsy specimen.

Treatment and Outcome—Medical treatment included blood transfusions, IM administration of iron dextran, oral administration of antimicrobials and gastrointestinal tract protectants, and SC administration of erythropoietin. Once PRCA was diagnosed, the ferret was orally administered prednisone, cyclosporine, and azathioprine. Nine months after onset of treatment, the PRCA was in remission and the ferret was doing well. Immunosuppressive treatment was discontinued at 14 months after onset of treatment, and 36 months after initial examination, the ferret appeared to be healthy.

Clinical Relevance—It is important that PRCA be considered as a differential diagnosis for a ferret with severe anemia. Prolonged immunosuppressive treatment was successful in the ferret described here. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2010;237:695-700)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association