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Ferrets: common surgical procedures

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Abstract

Anatomical and physiological features important for anaesthesia and surgery in the ferret are not that different from those of more common pets like dogs and cats. Surgical instruments for ferrets include those most commonly used in general surgery for dogs and cats, but their size has to be smaller. Diagnostic surgical procedures such as exploratory laparotomy and biopsy of abdominal organs are detailed. The chapter also looks into the General principles of surgery; Effective surgical procedures; Therapeutic surgical procedures; Basics of orthopaedics and fracture repair; and Miscellaneous procedures.

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Figures

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23.1 The Lone Star Retractor is very effective in providing wide access to the abdominal cavity with minimal soft tissue stress. The ability to change the configuration of this retractor makes it useful for many purposes beyond laparotomy. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.2 ‘Bruises’ on the abdominal skin of a ferret two days after laparotomy. Exact aetiology is unknown, but this occurs commonly and without consequence. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.3 Haemostatic clamp techniques for biopsy of the liver with visible hepatic cysts. A small rectangular sample, including a small cyst, is dissected from the edge of the liver lobe using two small haemostatic clamps. The defect is sutured with 1 metric (5/0 USP) Monocryl. In this case, the biopsy specimen is removed just with the haemostatic clamp, and bleeding is controlled with pressure or absorbable haemostatic gelatin sponge. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.4 Punch biopsy technique for biopsy of the spleen. The biopsy punch is pushed into the spleen using gentle circular motions. Appearance of the splenic parenchyma after removal of the biopsy specimen. Suture of the capsule with 1 metric (5/0 USP) Monocryl for better control of haemorrhage. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.5 Enlarged gastric lymph node (arrowed) in a ferret with chronic gastritis. Excision of the lymph node from the surrounding fat. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.6 Suture of an intestinal loop with 1.5 metric (4/0 USP) Monocryl after full-thickness biopsy of the wall. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.7 Ovariohysterectomy. Appearance of the ovarian bursa, the salpinx and the proximal uterine horn in a jill at puberty. Uterine vessels (white arrows) lie parallel to the uterine horn (yellow arrow), here shown in a 1-year-old ferret. The exteriorized urinary bladder is visible. Circumferential ligation of the cervix with 2 metric (3/0 USP) Monocryl is performed just distal to the junction of the uterine horns with the short uterine body. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.8 Preventive anal sacculectomy. Ductal technique. Two surgical steps of the extraductal technique. (© Vittorio Capello. Reproduced from with permission of the Zoological Education Network)
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23.9 Gastrotomy for removal of a trichobezoar. The stomach is exteriorized and palpated. The trichobezoar is visible through the gastric wall. Stay suture and incision of the serosal and muscular layer. The bezoar is removed through the gastrotomy incision. Suture of the mucosal layer in a simple continuous inverting pattern. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.10 Total excision of the left adrenal gland. The enlarged left adrenal gland (arrowed) is visible cranial to the left kidney, which can be identified protruding through surrounding fat. The size, shape and colour are abnormal. Exteriorization of the left adrenal gland using cotton-tipped applicators. The vascular supply of the adrenal gland is ligated with haemostatic clips. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.11 Total excision of the right adrenal gland. A very enlarged right adrenal gland is visible medial to the caudal vena cava and caudal to the right caudate liver lobe. The huge adrenal gland is gently dissected free from the wall of the vena cava and the vascular connections are clipped tangential to the wall itself. Appearance of the caudal vena cava after total excision of the diseased adrenal gland. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.12 Subtotal excision by debulking the right adrenal gland with the haemostatic clip technique. An abnormal right adrenal gland is visible cranial to the surrounding fat of the kidney, medial to the caudal vena cava and caudal to the right caudate liver lobe. A haemoclip is placed tangential to the wall of the vena cava at the base of the adrenal gland. Most of the right adrenal gland is removed after clipping. Part of the adrenal tissue is still visible between the clip and the caudal vena cava. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.13 Subtotal excision by debulking the right adrenal gland with the incision technique. The abnormal right adrenal gland is exteriorized and longitudinally incised with the tip of a scalpel blade. Most of the medullary tissue of the adrenal gland is removed using a small haemostat. Appearance of the adrenal gland after debulking. The base of the adrenal gland is clipped and more adrenal tissue is removed. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.14 Anatomy of the pancreas in ferrets. The entire pancreas is shown. B = body of the pancreas; LL = left lobe of the pancreas; RL = right limb of the pancreas; S = stomach. Right limb and cranial pancreaticoduodenal artery (arrowed). Right limb and caudal pancreaticoduodenal artery (arrowed). (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.15 Partial pancreatectomy of the left limb with the guillotine suture technique. The pancreatic vascular branch from the splenic artery has been ligated with a haemostatic clip (white arrow). A neoplastic nodule is also visible (yellow arrow). The omentum is carefully dissected with a haemostat creating a window for the suture. The guillotine suture is tied proximally to the margin of the left lobe of the pancreas. The distal part of the left limb of the pancreas is dissected and removed. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.16 Nodulectomy for removal of a beta cell tumour of the pancreas (insulinoma). (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.17 Cystic ovarian remnant in a 5-year-old ferret. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.18 Bacterial prostatic infection and prostatic cyst in a 3½-year-old ferret with concurrent adrenal disease. B = urinary bladder; C = prostatic cyst; P = prostate gland. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.19 External fixation devices are usually well tolerated by ferrets, but they have to be carefully bandaged. An Elizabethan collar is not usually necessary. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.20 Oblique fracture of the femoral shaft in a 1.6 kg 11-month-old male ferret. Osteosynthesis of the fracture shown in (a) using a 2-pin monoplanar configuration of external fixation in conjunction with intramedullary pinning. Lateral and anteroposterior views immediately post surgery. Bone healing is clearly visible 5 weeks after surgery. (© Vittorio Capello. Reprinted from with the permission of the Zoological Education Network)
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23.21 Osteosynthesis of the radius with a 2+3 pin monolateral external fixation device. Stabilization of the radius is adequate for proper stabilization of the ulna. The most proximal pin has been inserted too deeply and appears to cross the ulnar shaft, but actually does not. Follow-up after 4 weeks demonstrating adequate bone healing. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.22 Small mouth gag for ferrets. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.23 Severe calculus and periodontal disease in a 5-year-old male ferret. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.24 Severe gingivitis and gingival retraction in the same patient after scaling of calculus. The exposure of the roots of the maxillary third premolar is due both to gingival retraction and bone reabsorption. The maxillary third premolar is the largest cheek tooth; it is called carnassial and it is the only tooth with three roots. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.25 Salivary mucocele of the parotid gland in a 5-year-old male ferret, presumably following a trauma that caused a severe lesion to the right eye globe. Surgical excision of the salivary mucocele. Note the very dense transparent secretion protruding out of the small incision of the cyst. Marsupialization of the surgical site. Follow-up 2 weeks after surgery showing complete resolution of the mucocele and proper healing of marsupialization. (© Vittorio Capello)
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23.26 Excision of a mast cell tumour from the flank using a radiosurgical unit with a round loop electrode. (© Vittorio Capello)

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