Ferrets: urogenital and reproductive system disorders

image of Ferrets: urogenital and reproductive system disorders
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Urogenital disease is not uncommon in the ferret, with degenerative, infectious (bacterial, viral), metabolic, nutritional, neoplastic, anatomical and toxic causes all being represented. Primary reproductive tract disease is uncommon in countries where ferrets are routinely surgically neutered before the age of 1 year; however, as these ferrets age they are more predisposed to adrenal disease and its secondary hormonal influence on prostatic and remaining uterine tissue. Intact and periparturient jills have their own subset of disease conditions and knowledge of the pathophysiology associated with conditions such as pregnancy toxaemia, mastitis and pyometra will aid in their prevention and diagnosis. Early recognition of neonatal disease and knowledge of the normal characteristics of newborn kits will allow the veterinary surgeon to improve kit survival. This chapter looks into Reproductive disease and Urinary tract disease.

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27.1 Dramatic vulvar swelling in the intact female ferret is indicative of full oestrus, but neutered ferrets with adrenal disease may also present clinically with a swollen vulva as a result of over-secretion of sex hormones.
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27.2 A uterine stump pyometra, seen occasionally in the spayed ferret and occurring most commonly in association with elevated sex hormones as the result of adrenal disease.
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27.3 This 5-year-old ‘neutered’ male ferret was presented with haematuria and a palpable inguinal mass. Surgical exploration of the abdomen revealed a cryptorchid testis, which was surgically removed and identified as a Sertoli cell tumour on histopathology. The ferret recovered uneventfully and clinical signs resolved. (Courtesy of Veronique Mentre.)
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27.4 This very large preputial apocrine cyst was benign but required intermittent drainage for patient comfort and mobility.
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27.5 An advanced preputial apocrine gland adenocarcinoma. Unless diagnosed and resected in their early stage of development, these tumours become so extensive that complete resection requires penile amputation and urethrostomy for urine diversion.
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27.8 This ferret presented for an obvious abdominal swelling, most noticeable when the ferret was laid on its back. Abdominal palpation revealed a mid-abdominal mass, approximately 6 × 10 cm, which was confirmed radiographically as a large radiopaque mass of uniform fluid density consistent with an enlarged kidney. Surgical exploration revealed severe hydronephrosis, which was successfully treated by unilateral nephrectomy.
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27.9 Renal cysts may range up to 1 cm in diameter and when viewed from the capsule surface are thin, bulge slightly and are fluid-filled.
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27.10 Uroliths such as the magnesium ammonium phosphate calculi seen on this radiograph are found most commonly in adult male ferrets, but an increased incidence is also reported in pregnant jills on a poor plane of nutrition.
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27.11 Cystic calculi are the easiest to remove via surgical cystotomy.
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27.12 This neutered male ferret died as the result of a prostatic abscess (arrowed) that developed secondary to underlying adrenal disease.
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27.13 Prostatomegaly or periprostatic cysts may cause urethral compression and bladder distension. Ferrets present with two or more firm to fluctuant masses palpable in the caudal abdomen and confirmed radiographically (arrowed).
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27.14 The author uses a 3 French,11 cm open-ended silicone urinary catheter to catheterize and flush the urethra in cases of obstruction secondary to calculi, viscous pyuria or prostatomegaly.
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