Objective—To determine the protein and cellular
composition of CSF in healthy adult ferrets.
Animals—42 clinically normal adult ferrets.
Procedure—CSF samples were collected from the
cerebellomedullary cistern of anesthetized ferrets by
use of disposable 25-gauge, 1.6-cm-long hypodermic
needles. Samples were processed within 20 minutes
after collection. The number of WBCs and RBCs per
microliter of CSF was counted by use of a hemacytometer.
The total protein concentration was determined
by use of an automated chemistry analyzer.
Results—Total WBC counts (range, 0 to 8 cells/µL;
mean, 1.59 cells/µL) in CSF of ferrets were similar to reference
range values obtained for CSF from other
species. Twenty-seven CSF samples had < 100 RBCs/µL
(mean, 20.3 RBCs/µL). A small but significant effect of
blood contamination on WBC counts was found
between the 27 CSF samples with < 100 RBCs/µL and
the remaining samples. Protein concentrations in CSF of
ferrets (range, 28.0 to 68.0 mg/dL; mean, 31.4 mg/dL)
were higher than has been reported for the CSF of dogs
and cats. A significant effect of blood contamination on
the CSF protein concentration was not found.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—
established reference range values for WBC counts
and protein concentrations in CSF from healthy adult
ferrets that may be useful in the clinical investigation
of CNS disease. Results of our study indicate that the
WBC count is significantly affected by blood contamination
of the CSF sample. (Am J Vet Res