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- Author or Editor: Maren J. Connolly x
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Case Description—A 4-year-old castrated male domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo) was examined because of a 3-week history of intermittent seizures, signs of depression, hypocalcemia, and hyperphosphatemia.
Clinical Findings—Plasma biochemical analysis confirmed hyperphosphatemia (17.7 mg/dL) and low concentrations of total (4.3 mg/dL) and ionized (0.49 mmol/L) calcium. Serum parathyroid hormone concentration (2.30 pmol/L) was low or in the low part of the reference interval.
Treatment and Outcome—Calcium gluconate was administered (2.0 mg/kg/h [0.9 mg/lb/h], IV), followed by a transition to administration of calcium carbonate (53 mg/kg [24.1 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h) and dihydrotachysterol (0.02 mg/kg/d [0.009 mg/lb/d], PO). Attitude of the ferret improved and seizures ceased as blood calcium concentrations increased. The ferret was reexamined because of seizures approximately 1 year after oral maintenance administration of dihydrotachysterol and calcium was initiated. The ferret responded well to emergency and long-term treatment but then was lost to follow-up monitoring. The ferret died approximately 2 years after the initial evaluation and treatment. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was diagnosed during necropsy, but the parathyroid glands could not be identified.
Clinical Relevance—To the authors’ knowledge, primary hypoparathyroidism has not previously been reported in a ferret. The condition should be considered for ferrets with hypocalcemia and hyperphosphatemia without azotemia. Treatment with dihydrotachysterol and oral supplementation of calcium appeared to be a viable option for long-term management.