Fox's autopsy pictures


Cysts on liver.


Growth on spleen.


2 of the 3 growths on the spleen.


Pale left kidney.


Pale and cystic right kidney (the cysts goes straight through the kidney from one side to the other).

Blood test values from 19.10.04:

Urea (BUN) 24.4 mmol/l (1.7 - 7.5)
Creatinine 108 umol/l (35 - 80)
Total protein 61 g/l (51 - 74)
Sodium 152 mmol/l (137 - 162)
Potassium 4.5 mmol/l (4.3 - 7.7)
Calcium - serum too lipaemic
Inorganic phosphate 3.5 mmol/l (1.29 - 2.93)

Blood test values from 11.11.04:


Total Protein 60.2 g/l (51 - 74)
Albumin 29.6 g/l (26 - 41)
Globulin 30.6 g/l
Creatinine 451 umol/l (< 75.0)
ALP 155 iu/l (34 - 66)
ALT 61 iu/l
GGT 2 iu/l (< 5.0)
Amylase 29 iu/l
Urea 43.6 mmol/l (1.9 - 7.49)


Haemoglobin 8.1 g/l (12.0 - 18.0)
Red Blood Cells 5.29 x10^12/l (6.7 - 12.1)
PCV 0.308 % (0.43 - 0.55)
MCHC 26.3 g/dl
MCH 15.3 pg
MCV 58.0 fl
Platelets 109 x10^9l (297-910)
White Blood Cells 5.1 x10^9l (3.5 - 7.0)
Neutrophils 52% 2.65 x10^9l (1.5 - 2.9)
Neutrophils (Band) 1% 0.05 x10^9l
Lymphocytes 44% 2.24 x10^9l (1.7 - 2.9)
Monocytes 1% 0.05 x10^9l
Eosinophils 1% 0.05 x10^9l ( < 0.35)
Basophils 1% 0.05 x10^9l (< 0.14)
Haematologists Comment Unremarkable cellular morphology seen throughout film.


The renal disease in this ferret would appear to be progressive, with worsening parameters. I would suggest that it is causing a non-regenerative anaemia as well. Renal disease is not common in ferrets but diagnosis include chronic interstitial nephritis, glomerulonephritis (immune mediated) and neoplasia. Older ferrets often have histological evidence of renal disease at PM without showing clinical signs.

Fox's histopathlogy report (the vet who had performed the autopsy had written that Fox was doing well on a renal diet but he never was on a renal diet as he didn't like it):


Was doing quite well on renal diet, but went off food after few months. Bloods demonstrated evidence of CRF and low PCV + suggested this was not regenerative.


Chronic Interstitial Nephritis and Biliary cystic hyperplasia


Prognosis Not Applicable

The submission consists of fixed necropsy samples of various tissues from a 7.5-year-old, male, ferret.

LIVER: the section reveals one large and several smaller cysts, of biliary origin, as well as several small foci of granulomatous inflammation associated with haemosiderin-laden macrophages. Mild focal infiltration with lymphocytes is evident around some portal areas. The hepatocytes themselves are largely unremarkable in appearance.

KIDNEYS: there is severe, chronic interstitial nephritis in both kidneys, with widespread tubular degeneration, interstitial fibrosis, lymphocytic infiltration and marked thickening of basement membranes. There are foci of mineralization and even ectopic ossification in the fibrosed areas, and multiple variable sized cysts are present in both kidneys.

SPLEEN: two sections were examined. These reveal moderate, diffuse congestion and extramedullary haemopoiesis, with areas of haemorrhage and fibroplasias.

PANCREAS: the two sections examined reveal considerable nodular hyperplasia of exocrine tissue, but the islet tissue is unremarkable.

DISCUSSION: the changes in the kidneys are advanced - these are virtually end-stage kidneys. The overall appearance is of a severe, chronic interstitial nephritis, but at this stage it is not possible to deduce the underlying cause with any degree of certainty.

Biliary cystic hyperplasia may be a result of either a developmental anomaly or, perhaps more usually, caused by partial obstruction of the biliary system, sometimes secondary to cholangitis. There is evidence suggestive of mild pericholangitis in this individual, but it is unlikely the condition was of much clinical significance in comparison to the renal disease.

Splenic haemorrhages are fairly common in older ferrets and may be associated with nodular hyperplasia and/or congestion.

Pancreatic exocrine hyperplasia is a common incidental finding in old cats and dogs and generally considered to be of negligible pathological significance. I have seen it several times in old ferrets, in which I believe it to be equally insignificant.