Thursday, February 19, 2009

it doesn't mean I'm right; it just means *you're* wrong...

Mmph. I have had a long night :(

Sian went downhill fast, last night. It wasn't full-blown anaphalaxis, but she was limp and lethargic, her breathing started to get harsh and unpatterned. She wouldn't really walk, she'd just crawl places. Once, she had crawled to where one of the empty food bowls were and she just kept her head on the rim, staring at me. Then, as I was getting the cage ready for the night, I put her in front of the food, and she just stayed hunched in this little half ball. The Lovebirds kept glancing at her, like what's wrong? And she was hot and shivering. I mean she was burning. It was uncomfortable just holding her.

So, I ended up giving her .8 cc's of children's benadryl. She loved the cherry flavor, but boy. Did she get high. Poor thing. She stayed in my lap, and I could time when the medicine hit her. Her eyes started glazing, and then the oddest thing happened. She sank her nails into my face and she started giving me kisses. Every time I tried to move away, she'd freak out. My face felt raw, and that's when she moved to my arm. She kept that up until she passed out. Every time she'd move in her sleep, she wouldn't pick up her head, just drag it to whereever was comfortable.

I kept her with me for about an hour, just watching her breathing (which wasn't improving but wasn't getting worse) and watching her for any signs of swelling (thankfully, none). She finally uncurled from the tight ball she was originally sleeping in, and stretched out like a regular fert, so I (at this point light-headed from a lack of sleep) put her in the top section of the cage on her bed. I thought she'd sleep through it, so I left the door open as I was getting the other ferrets rounded up. No sooner had I walked away, when I heard something. Turning around, I saw the baby trying to ooze out of the cage. She apparently forgot she was quite high up, so I had to run over and hold her until I got Pixie and put them both back in the cage. Then, she was distracted enough to stay in the cage. I think the benadryl was really screwing with her, because she stared at the other two like she didn't know who, or even what, they were.

Pixie just sniffed her, then crawled up to her cuddly-cup. But Yogi stayed right by Sian the entire night. I got up and checked on her at 6 a.m., 9 a.m. and at 12 (I was trying to catch up on some sleep *g*). Her breathing had vastly improved, but she didn't show much interest in anything BUT sleeping.

At two p.m., I went in the ferret room to open up the doors, and all three were awake and laying all over each other. The baby's eyes were wide open and sparkling and aware, though you could still see the aftereffects of being drugged and kinda hung-over (most know the look *g*).

I have a feeling we really dodged a bullet with this one. She still has another distemper shot, but I'm hoping that the saying is true: that one reaction does not predispose a ferret to chronic reactions. I hope. Because we live an hour and a half (at the fastest time) from our vets (though we wait there for close to an hour after a ferret gets a vaccination), and we live two-two and half hours from the only emergency vet that will see ferrets. If something severe occurs, I don't think we could make it in time.

It's a scary thought.


  1. How scary. I'm glad Sian pulled through.

  2. Thank you. I am, too. I just hope it doesn't happen again. Once is enough for a lifetime!

  3. OMG--SCARY!! Do you pretreat her? It might help if you give her some Benedryl prior to the vaccination (and you can do a lower dose--we typically do .4 for pretreating) another option is the American Ferret Association is doing a study on distemper titers--and all the directions are very clearly layed out--you just need the vet to draw the blood and follow the instructions. That's what I do with all my guys now (after they recieve their first shot-if I get them as a baby) Here is the address:

    If she has another reaction, I would not give her another distemper vaccination (because from what I understand--once they have had one reaction, they are more likely to have another one)

    I also stop vaccinating once anyone has any confirmed health issue (Insulinoma, Adrenal or lymphoma) In MA (where I live) we are legally obligated to have them vaccinated yearly--but, if I needed to, my vet would provide documentation stating that a vaccination would adversely affect their health.

    I'm glad she is feeling better!!

    Dooks and kisses!

  4. @ Shelly

    No, I haven't pretreated her. Since this was her first booster, I didn't know who she'd react. Now that I do, I'm going to tell the vet, so we'll probably pretreat at home before the next appointment, and then the vet will give her another shot of it after she gets the vaccines (at least this is what they told me they'd do if a ferret has a reaction).

    I am very interested in the titers. Though this was the first kinda bad reaction, Yogi even had a rough vaccination period. And Pixie--with her health issues--isn't getting *any* vaccines, anymore.

    Here, rabies is recommended for ferrets, but distemper isn't regulated (and there hasnt't been a distemper outbreak that I've heard of, in my area)--but I just wanted her to have her baby shots, you know? I think those are the most important, of course, in building immunity. I just never thought it'd be this frightening!

    So, thank you for the info. I will use it (hopefully my vets will go for it. It'd give me peace of mind to really know that they are protected!).


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