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Q - I have an appt tomorrow with local vet at 11:00. They do Intra peritoneal - IP for short. I called Mary to see how that was and she said she ' s done some of hers that way. My spelling is probably wrong and they tried to explain it. Sounded like similar procedure as sub-q. Definitely not heart stick.
  I am sure now that he wants to go. Last night he wanted nothing to do with meds. I could not force him. And didn 't. He has tiny, very loose, dark poops now. He ate nothing thru the night. He walks a little then lies down. Very weak. I have no doubts now.
  Our appt is 11:15. About 12 min. from here. I believe the procedure is similar to sub- q. I called Mary because I knew you were working and I wanted to make sure it was an ok procedure and wanted to have an appt. were u able to find out anything about it?

A - This is what I found out for you - "All animals and situations are unique, and your veterinarian will likely tailor the approach to euthanasia to your pet's particular circumstance. In general, however, most ferrets are sedated prior to euthanasia by giving an injection of a very strong sedative under the skin. This injection takes 5-10 minutes to take effect, and your pet will be completely unconscious once it has circulated into the bloodstream. Once unconscious, your veterinarian will give a second injection - often given into the veins, but sometimes given into the abdomen (called an IP injection) or under the skin which is an overdose of an anesthetic. Injections into the heart, chest, or belly should only be done as a last resort in a fully anesthetized animal." (I personally do not have this procedure done to any of my fur kids)
  "This second injection will cause your animal to fall more deeply asleep until it passes away." Remember that animals will leave their eyes open after they have passed, may show some muscle twitching for several minutes after they are gone - I choose to believe they are letting me know they have made it to Rainbow Bridge and are now dancing and dooking in good health. They may urinate or defecate as well, but to be honest I have not found that to be in any of my cases. Occasionally, they will "gasp" as they pass away, this is a reflex, and not an attempt to breathe.
  "After your pet is gone, you may wish to take him/her home to bury them, or many hospitals will offer to cremate him/her -- often returning the ashes to you, if you wish."



Sudden death and necropsy

Q - I have a 5 year old ferret named Mandy, last night I found her dead in her cage. I don't know how she died, I was out most of the day, and when I went to check on her, she was already cold :(
  Does anyone have any ideas on how she could of passed away? I'm just baffled; she seemed so happy and healthy...

A - I am very sorry for your loss.
  There are numerous conditions that can result in what appears to be 'sudden death.' As already stated the only way to know for certain is to have the necropsy done. (I had always assumed a necropsy included pathology analysis, however, I have learned that not all vets send out samples to pathologists, presumably because its an additional cost to the owner).
  Your header states "young ferret" - to clarify, a five year-old is considered a senior. This is an age when most serious health issues are already manifesting overtly. I believe the recommended wisdom is to begin annual, if not semi-annual health checks by the time a ferret reaches three years of age. By four most are already dealing with the beginnings of serious disease (i.e., one of the 3 biggies - insulinoma, adrenal disease and/or lymphoma).
  The current thinking in human medicine is that everyone will eventually get cancer - if they live long enough. Cancer for the most part in humans is becoming an age related disease. I think the same can be said for ferrets - the vast majority will eventually get one of the three major illnesses they are prone to. Some will and do acquire all three.
  Having stated that, there is no way to know for certain without a necropsy what the cause of death in your little one would have been.
  Once again, I am truly sorry for your loss.


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