Vicky and Tricky

Tricky drinking cat's water and Vicky eating cat's food...

Vicky and Tricky are not my ferrets but belong to my friend Galina. I have had them as boarders in the past, Galina used to go on business trips so I had the girls for 6 months in 1998 (that was the first time I had them) and I think I had them for another 3 months in 1999 and I've had them a few times for periods of 2-4 weeks when Galina went on holiday. Their names have been mentioned a few times on my pages... I love them a lot, just like my own ferrets. Vicky is the sandy ferret, Tricky the polecat (sable) one. This is the only picture I have of the two of them.

The reason I have added Vicky and Tricky is because Vicky was very ill in January and we saved her life and I thought it would be worth writing about.

Vicky's stomach ulcer

On Tuesday the 1st of January, Galina phoned and said Vicky was dying. I told her to come here immediately and we’d call the vets out. Vicky had lost a lot of blood, she had bloody diarrhoea and there was a lot of blood in her toilet the day before. So she was very anaemic and her gums were white! She also hadn’t eaten and wouldn’t even take chicken broth. Well, Galina got here and we phoned the emergency vets but we had to wait an hour before we could see him as he was out on a call already. I had some liquid cat food, not very nutritious but Vicky took 10cc of it! Then we went to the vets and we saw one of the big animal vets who didn’t really know what to do and he thought Vicky was on her way out anyway (she was sooo extremely thin *and* anaemic on top of that...) so he gave her fluids and a Vitamin B12 injection and sent us home. Galina left Vicky with me so that I could take her back to the vets and I gave her some more of the liquid cat food during the day. I slept with her in the lounge at night and fed her at midnight, she even had some Hill’s A/D. At 4.00 a.m. she was very reluctant to take any of the liquid cat diet, it took half an hour to get 7cc into her... She was stopping to swallow, her body was shutting down... At 7.00 a.m. she was just limp, the only thing still working was her heart and breathing, that’s what happens when the body looses a lot of blood, it shuts down a lot of organs and only keeps heart and breathing going.

2nd of January... At 9.20 we were at the vets and Vicky looked like she was dying. I had Hobo and Bobby with me as blood donors! But Louise didn’t want to do a blood transfusion, she wanted to find out what kind of anaemia Vicky had. So she pumped some fluid into her to stabilize her and we went home to feed the ferrets and I was just finished with feeding when Louise phoned, she’d done the blood smear test (cut a nail to the quick to get a drop, couldn’t take any more blood from her as she didn’t have a lot of it anyway...) and she said her blood looked very thin and Vicky was dying so she wanted to do the blood transfusion because there was nothing to loose. She took 9cc from Hobo which wasn’t a lot of blood and she gave it to Vicky. They had to put the needle into Vicky’s throat/ neck about 10-12 times before they could find the jugular vein and Vicky just laid on her back without moving at all! Then they brought Vicky back to us in the waiting room and told us to take her home, there was nothing more they could do. Vicky already held her head up when she was brought to us! On the way home she was looking around, at home she crawled a bit and was able to crawl from her bed into the potty area of her cage, she’d been wetting her bed the night before and I was cleaning her through the night and changing her bedding. And Vicky improved through the day and started eating the A/D and by late afternoon she was walking! That was Wednesday, in the morning she was limp and almost dead, right? At night she was walking and eating! She only had a small amount of blood and it worked wonders! :-)

I slept in the lounge with her again and Thursday I took her to the vets in the afternoon. Nobody could believe she was alive, let alone walking and being quite bright! They were all amazed, nobody thought she’d make it... Louise had sent the blood smear off to the lab and had the results, it showed that there were a lot of immature cells so the body was producing a lot of new blood cells. The Ferret Health List had said that it sounded like Vicky had a bleeding stomach ulcer, she was grinding her teeth while eating which is a sign of tummy pain. So Louise finally said we’d treat her for the stomach ulcer. I’d got a treatment protocol from Dr Murray so I took it in, she needed 2 antibiotics and a stomach medication which coats the ulcer and protects it and makes it heal:

Clarithromycin (Biaxin/ Klaricid (UK)) 3 times daily 25mg/kg
Amoxicillin (Betamox (UK)) twice daily 20mg/kg
Sucralfate (Carafate/ Antepsin(UK)) 3 times daily 100mg/kg

The vets had the one antibiotic (Amoxicillin), then Louise and I went to the pharmacy to get the other 2 medications. The pharmacist had the other antibiotic (Clarithromycin) but not the tummy medication. But at least I could start Vicky on the antibiotics. Friday we ordered the tummy medication (Sucralfate) from our chemist and we had to wait until Saturday before it was delivered so I bought some Pepto-Bismol for in the meantime as that stuff the tummy as well. So Friday I started Vicky on Pepto-Bismol (0.25mg/kg) and I gave it her 3 times a day before she ate and she stopped the teeth grinding. She ate more and more and ate almost a tin (156g) of A/D a day! Saturday we went and fetched her tummy medication and she was really good, she ate larger portions as well. Galina was going to fetch her Friday but Louise and I thought it was better for Vicky to stay with me as I had the time to look after her and Vicky had her peace and quiet at my place. Louise was also concerned because putting Vicky under stress (changing the place where she stayed or taking her to work which is what Galina had wanted to do) could have made her worse again and another bleed of the ulcer and she would have been dead. So it was best for Vicky to stay with us where she got peace and quiet and no stress. Plus she got medication so often, at 8.00 a.m. she got her carafate, 20 minutes later she got fed and then she got the biaxin. At 10.00 a.m. she got the amoxicillin, at 4.00 p.m. she got her carafate, 20 minutes later food, then the biaxin. At 10.00 p.m. she got amoxicillin, at midnight the carafate, food and the biaxin. At first she had 7-8 feeds a day, I fed her every 2 - 2 1/2 hours and the first few days I fed her during the night as well. Vicky started to get better and better. She weighed about 650g when I first got her, a week and a half later she was 900g... I then cut her meals back to 5 times a day and in the end it went down to 3 and then 2 times a day as Vicky was becoming podgy and I didn't want her to become fat or obese! For the first 1 1/2 weeks she ate Hill's A/D but as she got better, I switched her back over to the raw ground chicken. I ended up having her for 3 1/2 weeks and her sister Tricky came as well for the last week because Galina went away for a weekend and brought Tricky on Friday the 18th before she went. :-)

Tricky had a dental while she was here, her teeth had a lot of tartar on them and her gums were red and inflamed. The vet said that Tricky needed to have a dental so Galina said to go ahead and have it done so Tricky had the dental on the 23rd of January when I had my girls Willow and Tara spayed. All girls came back with fluid in their lungs/ chests, I wrote about it on Willow's page...

Vicky and Tricky went home Saturday 26th of January. I miss the 2 girls, Vicky was so good and always followed us around like a puppy and was so good using the toilets...

Vicky was very cuddly when she was ill and always had cuddles after food or medication and on a few occasions she curled up next to Pete when he had a lie down:

Vicky cuddling with me after food :-)

Vicky having a lie down with Pete :-)

Update 28/10/02

Tricky died today... :-( Galina phoned early morning to say that Tricky was really ill and possibly dying. We went and met Galina at the vets, Tricky had developed a huge abscess on her face, probably from a bad tooth and the puss had gone behind her eye, pushing the eye outwards. Tricky also had really bad diarrhoea which she couldn’t control. We left Tricky at the vets and Galina went to work. Michaela the vet wanted to put Tricky to sleep around 2.00 p.m. but couldn’t get hold of Galina so Tricky died just after 5.00 p.m. Michaela did an autopsy and Tricky had adrenal disease, a malignant tumour, the tumour was growing so fast that tissue was already dying and going necrotic... Tricky also had tumours on the liver and spleen and blood was coming out of the liver and/ or spleen so Tricky was in a really bad way....

Vicky missed Tricky for a while but seems to be alright now. She was put on prednisolone in August or September because she started having low blood sugars that couldn't be controlled by diet alone anymore but she only gets 1/4 mg morning and night and her sugars are stable on this amount and it hasn't been increased, yet. I find it quite good that we controlled her blood sugars for 1 year just by feeding her raw minced/ ground chicken.

Update 26/04/03

Vicky, Galina’s remaining ferret, died on Wednesday the 12th of March. She was a bit weak on Tuesday and Tuesday night her breathing was a bit laboured. Wednesday Galina got up at 5.00 to get ready for work and get Vicky ready for the vets and Vicky must have died just before Galina got up... The vet did a post mortem and Vicky had had pneumonia... We saw her just 1 1/2 weeks before she died and her insulinoma was well under control and she was doing fine and then she was so sick and died without showing many symptoms. The symptoms she’d showed were symptoms she’d had before with low blood sugars and she always recovered but this time she was seriously ill... I still can't believe that Vicky and Tricky are both gone now... Still have dreams about them sometimes and miss them like my own ferrets that I've lost...

Index page
My ferrets & ferret health pages
Other ferret information & ferret links