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.
Case Description—A 0.65-kg (1.43-lb) 24-month-old sexually intact male albino pet rat was examined because of a 3-week history of hypodipsia, apparent blindness, and sudden change in behavior.
Clinical Findings—The rat was able to move around its cage but appeared unaware of its surroundings, was visually unresponsive, and seemed unusually aggressive. The rat's hind limbs appeared mildly paretic, and it had sporadic difficulty placing its hind limbs on a flat surface. Given the rat's age, history, and physical examination findings, the primary differential diagnosis was a pituitary tumor. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the rat's brain was performed and revealed a large pituitary mass, which was indicative of a tumor.
Treatment and Outcome—Cabergoline (0.6 mg/kg [0.27 mg/lb], PO, q 72 h) was administered. On follow-up MRI 2 months later, the pituitary mass had substantially decreased in size. For 6 months following the second MRI study, the rat continued to receive the same dosage of cabergoline and had no clinical signs of disease or unusual behavior. However, at 8.5 months after the start of the treatment, the rat was in poor condition and had clinical signs similar to those initially. A third MRI study was performed and revealed substantial regrowth of the mass. The rat was euthanized and a necropsy was performed; a histopathologic diagnosis of pituitary adenoma was made.
Clinical Relevance—Pituitary adenomas have long been recognized as a common finding in geriatric rats (> 18 months old). Affected rats may respond favorably to oral administration of cabergoline.