Objective—To evaluate the prevalence of congenital sensorineural deafness (CSD) and its association with phenotypic markers in client-owned ferrets.
Animals—152 healthy European pet ferrets.
Procedures—Brainstem auditory evoked response tests were recorded in ferrets during general anesthesia. Phenotypic markers such as sex, coat color and pattern, coat length (Angora or not), and premature graying trait were assessed.
Results—Overall, 44 of the 152 (29%) ferrets were affected by CSD; 10 (7%) were unilaterally deaf, and 34 (22%) were bilaterally deaf. There was no association between CSD and sex or Angora trait, but a strong association between CSD and white patterned coat or premature graying was identified. All panda, American panda, and blaze ferrets were deaf.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The ferrets in this study had a high prevalence of CSD that was strictly associated with coat color patterns, specifically white markings and premature graying. This seemed to be an emerging congenital defect in pet ferrets because white-marked coats are a popular new coat color. Breeders should have a greater awareness and understanding of this defect to reduce its prevalence for the overall benefit of the species. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2014;244:1047–1052)
OBJECTIVE To determine the prognostic relevance of BUN concentration in client-owned rabbits evaluated at a veterinary referral center.
ANIMALS 246 healthy or clinically ill client-owned rabbits with BUN concentrations measured at a veterinary referral center.
PROCEDURES In a retrospective cohort study design, medical records of rabbits were retrieved, and data were collected on BUN concentration (exposure variable of interest) and other variables, including outcome (survival status at 15 days after BUN concentration measurement). Univariate, multivariate, and subgroup analyses were performed to identify variables associated with outcome.
RESULTS BUN concentrations ranged from 6.5 to 251.1 mg/dL (median, 18.7 mg/dL). Univariate analysis revealed that the risk of nonsurvival over the 15-day period for rabbits with a high BUN concentration (≥ 23.3 mg/dL) was 33% higher (relative risk, 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06 to 1.69) than that for rabbits with unremarkable BUN values. Subgroup analysis revealed that for rabbits with anorexia, a high (vs unremarkable) BUN concentration was associated with an increased risk of nonsurvival (relative risk, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.71). In the final multivariate model that controlled for age, sex, and appetite (anorexia vs no anorexia), the odds of nonsurvival for rabbits with BUN values > 24.74 mg/dL were 3 times that for rabbits with BUN values < 14.00 mg/dL (OR, 2.92; 95% CI, 1.29 to 6.58).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that a high BUN concentration increased the risk of nonsurvival over a 15-day period for client-owned rabbits, particularly those with anorexia. Blood urea nitrogen concentration should be used together with other clinical indicators to provide prognostic information for rabbits receiving veterinary care.
Case Description—A 7-month-old neutered male ferret was evaluated for episodic pelvic limb weakness of 2 weeks' duration.
Clinical Findings—Neurologic examination revealed flaccid tetraparesis with decreased spinal reflexes suggestive of a neuromuscular disease. Results of hematologic and CSF analyses, thoracic radiography, and abdominal ultrasonography were unremarkable. Electrodiagnostic testing revealed subtle spontaneous activity localized to pelvic limb interosseous muscles, unremarkable motor nerve conduction velocities, and lower than typical compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude for tibial nerve stimulation only. A severe decremental response of the CMAP was detected with repetitive nerve stimulation (45.5% at the third ulnar nerve). An esophagogram revealed mild megaesophagus. Intravenous neostigmine methylsulfate administration resulted in immediate resolution of muscle weakness. Cross-reacting anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies were detected in serum (0.35 nmol/L) by use of a canine- and feline-specific muscle extract. Clinical signs and ancillary test results were diagnostic of acquired myasthenia gravis.
Treatment and Outcome—Pyridostigmine bromide was administered (1 mg/kg [0.45 mg/lb], PO, q 8 h), resulting in complete remission of clinical signs. However, 1 month after the diagnosis, the ferret was euthanized because of recurrence of weakness despite anticholinesterase treatment.
Clinical Relevance—To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of acquired myasthenia gravis in a ferret and the first identification of anti-AChR antibodies in this species. Autoimmune myasthenia gravis should be considered in ferrets when weakness and flaccid paresis suggest a neuromuscular disease. Electrodiagnostic testing, anticholinesterase challenge, and AChR antibody titer determination were helpful for diagnosis of this condition.
To report clinical, surgical, and pathological findings in client-owned rabbits with histologically confirmed appendicitis.
Medical records for client-owned rabbits that had a histologic diagnosis of appendicitis were reviewed.
Median age of the rabbits at presentation was 24.0 months (range, 4 to 84 months). Seventeen cases occurred during the summer and fall seasons. Decreased appetite (17/19 rabbits), abnormal rectal temperature (hyperthermia, 9/16 rabbits; hypothermia, 4/16 rabbits), hypocalcemia (8/11 rabbits), and hypoglycemia (7/15 rabbits) were common signs. Abdominal ultrasonography and CT findings were suggestive of appendicitis in 6 of 8 rabbits and in 1 of 2 rabbits, respectively. Of the 6 rabbits that received medical treatment, 3 died at 48 hours, 1 died at 24 hours after hospitalization, and 1 died at 10 days after presentation; 1 rabbit was alive at 1,030 days after presentation. Of the 8 rabbits that underwent appendectomy, 3 died before discharge from the hospital and 1 died 113 days after surgery; 4 rabbits were alive at 315, 334, 1,433, and 1,473 days after presentation. The remaining 5 rabbits either died or were euthanized before treatment could be instituted. In each of the 19 rabbits, the appendix had evidence of severe inflammation with mucosal ulceration, heterophilic inflammation, and necrotic debris.
For rabbits with decreased appetite and an apparently painful abdomen, hyperthermia, hypocalcemia, or hypoglycemia, appendicitis should be considered as a differential diagnosis. Further comparisons of medical and surgical treatments are required to establish treatment recommendations for rabbits with appendicitis.