I bought Jasmine at the CLA Game Fair on 30th or 31st (great memory, huh...) July 99. The man who sold her said she was 8-10 weeks old which she wasn't. I thought she was more like 6 weeks and friends said 6 weeks and that was pushing it.
I was doing a ferret display and ferret PR and racing with my friends Sheila and Ron from Bolton Ferret Welfare and there were more of us NFWS (committee) members helping Sheila and Ron. They were all appalled that this man sold me and my friend Lorna the kit. He wasn't allowed to sell at the Game Fair at all and he thought that both Lorna and I were kids so he sold a kit that was too young to be separated from her mother to 2 "kids". Our friend JoAnne even said that the jill kit didn't have much of a chance of survival because she was sooo thin and small but they all know how I care for the ferrets and said she'd have a chance with me. Well, she's alive, not as lively as Rose but fine. When I got her I put her straight in with Rose and Hope and both fell in love with her immediately. Hope had another baby to mother as Rose had become an unruly "teenager" and Rose was happy to have a baby sister. Lorna came up with the name Jasmine so that's what she is called now.
Jasmine and Rose play a lot together, Jasmine also plays a bit with Hope but Hope doesn't play that much because she's old and gets tired easily. So Hope often goes back to bed when the kits are still playing. They have a 3' square cage in the guest bedroom, I added a level to it and fixed a cat toilet between the floor and the top level and put a pullover in it and they use it as a bed and also sleep on the top level where I put a cat bed. I'm happy to say that Rose and Jasmine are 100 percent litter box trained, Hope seems to like to go to the toilet by the door so I have to watch her and put her into the toilet when she backs towards the door... ;-)
I feel bad that I have never updated Jasmine's page. Over the years I have concentrated on their health problems and have not written much about the individual ferrets. And Jasmine was never sick. She also never bonded much with me, there was some bond but nowhere near as much as Angel or Willow or Spike or Wesley to name a few. Rose is the same even though she has become closer to me over the last year. I did love Jasmine though...
And then I very suddenly lost Jasmine... Jasmine was okay on Wednesday the 20th April, completely normal, eating fine, playing, you wouldn’t have thought that she had something nasty going on inside her. Thursday morning I didn’t notice anything bad but I admit I was feeling ill, hadn’t slept well so I quickly let all ferrets out, did all my feeding, cleaning, chores, then I was back to bed. But at night Jasmine came out of bed and I found her "collapsed" on the stairs. She was laying down so I picked her up and her body felt cold, she was extremely weak and pale, i.e. anaemic. So she went into the sick cage and I had her in the bedroom. She ate well when I hand fed her mince.
Friday morning she ate well again and was somewhat stronger but her stools looked off, like dried up mince, like she hadn’t digested the food well, they looked like a bit of blood was in them and they stank really bad... So off to the vets and Jasmine had a blood test and urine test, Michaela did a cysto, she took urine out of the bladder with a needle (of course all the testing was done under anaesthetic). Well, when I fetched Jasmine, she had started bleeding! She’d been wrapped in bubble wrap after the anaesthetic and the bubble wrap was bloody, I mean really bad. Then we saw her go to the toilet and it looked like she was pooping blood but you know how the vulva and anus are so close together in a jill that you don’t know where it is coming from. So anyway, I panicked, especially since Jasmine kept going to the toilet and passing blood. So Michaela gave her pred to try and stop the bleeding, Jasmine also had a baytril injection.
So I got home and let Jasmine sleep while I had dinner but about 7 p.m., Jas got up and passed blood again so I cleaned her up and gave her clean bedding and I noticed the blood was coming from her vulva. So I was hoping that there was still somebody at the vets, if they’re running late then they’re still there at 7. But not Friday. So I phoned the emergency line and asked them to phone Michaela as Michaela performed the cysto and now Jasmine was bleeding so badly so I just wanted to know whether Michaela had any idea what may be wrong. So Michaela phoned me back and then said to come to the surgery with a blood donor and she wanted to perform a transfusion. So poor Wesley was summoned for his second blood donation this year. I was so grateful, Michaela never does out of hours emergency stuff, I was grateful when she phoned me and even more so when she said she wanted to see Jasmine. Michaela brought her little son Oliver with her, a really nice kid. So we anaesthetised Wesley, I said we could probably safely take 9 ml of blood but by the time she had taken 4 ml, we both agreed that this already looked like a lot! So Jasmine was quickly anaesthetised and then she got the blood injected into her abdomen. She also got 40 ml of fluids, more pred I think, some vitamin K in case her liver was bad and she was low on vitamin K, she got vetergesic which is a painkiller and we were hoping it would also sedate her a bit. We were there for about 1 hour and talked and it was really nice except for Jasmine being so sick. Well, Jasmine wasn’t very hungry that night, I gave her some liquid cat convalescent diet but she wasn’t keen. She was very weak and cold...
During the night she continued to bleed so Saturday morning I took her back to see Michaela and Jasmine got more pred, baytril, vitamin K, vetergesic... Still no better, also still no appetite. I kept her warm and comfortable during the day, cleaned her up when she went to the toilet, changed her bedding, kept warming up her warm gel bottle, tried to feed her liquid diet, I gave her some more sub q fluids... She just grew weaker and weaker and bled non-stop, she was always straining to urinate and was just passing blood... I was hoping she would fade away but she just didn’t. I held her while watching a film on German TV and it was gone 11 p.m. when I suddenly thought "this isn’t right, she’s not fading away from blood loss but looks like she is quite aware of everything- and is suffering". I felt awful because it was so late and I didn’t want to call the vets but the thought of Jasmine suffering through the night just about killed me so I was crying first and then thought better get it sorted so I phoned the vets and luckily Sarah was on, I was dreading that a big animal vet would be on. Sarah is a big animal vet but she is okay and I like her. I apologized a zillion times about calling her out and not figuring out sooner that Jasmine was suffering. So she put Jasmine to sleep after we figured out how to best do it. Then I completely shocked her by asking if she could do an autopsy. First she said "oh, Michaela can do it Monday" but Dr Williams kept saying how quickly the ferret tissues deteriorate and that they’ll become useless then. So I said this and asked nicely if she could please do it- and she did. I was very grateful for this. I think Sarah was interested once she got started. We talked a lot about ferrets and their health problems so it was good (as far as putting animals to sleep and doing autopsies can be good...). Jasmine was a bloody mess inside- literally. She had a blood clot in her bladder that was occupying the whole space so that explained the straining to urinate, she was trying to pass the blood clot. I still don’t know how the blood leaked out her vulva, maybe a blood vessel got damaged during the cysto and then it just bled because she wasn’t clotting but then why did the blood clot in her bladder... I also don’t know how she was still alive. She had a tumour on her liver, it had haemorrhaged. Sarah took tissue samples from all organs and I had reminded her which lab we use so she put everything into the pot so it all went well. I think we were at the vets about 11.30 and left about 12.30 and I was in bed about 2 a.m.! I have done Jasmine’s autopsy pictures, the page also has her blood test results on and the pathology report- she had a haemangiosarcoma of the liver. Michaela phoned me the following Thursday to tell me and talk about it. That was really nice of her again. I searched for haemangiosarcoma on the Internet and found this:
This cancer is named for the cell type that it originates from; therefore, hemangiosarcoma is a malignant cancer that comes from hemangio meaning blood vessels or blood and sarcoma meaning malignant cancer. This type of cancer tries to build blood vessels in a way which essentially makes blood blisters and disrupts normal function. These blood blisters also rupture easily causing bleeding from the cancer sites.
And another page:
A large mass develops in the liver or spleen. These tumors metastasize rapidly via hematogenous routes most frequently to the liver (from the spleen) and lungs (from the spleen and liver). These tumors can rupture leading to acute hemorrhage, collapse, and sudden death.
Hemangiosarcoma is a malignant cancer of the cells that form blood vessels. Because these tumors start in blood vessels, they are frequently filled with blood. Consequently, when a blood-filled tumor ruptures, it can cause problems with internal or external bleeding. Hemangiosarcoma is considered to be a very aggressive tumor and can spread rapidly to other organs.
Part of me was sooo happy that it wasn’t ADV as we'd thought when she first got sick. People on the FHL also suggested DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation) but I mentioned it to Michaela and she doesn’t think so. The report said that hemangiosarcoma was a common cancer in ferrets, I searched the FHL archives and there were only 40 posts that mentioned hemangiosarcoma and of those 40 there were only about 2 cases of hemangiosarcoma and I saw a post by Dr Williams and he said "...right now we just haven’t seen enough of these rare tumours.". But then again I get all the odd cases. I mean I feel like I have more than my fair share of odd cases. BTW, her liver values were normal! And she had shown *no symptoms*, Wednesday she was still playing fine and completely normal and Thursday evening she was weak and cold from the haemorrhaging. And dead 2 days later...
Loosing Jasmine as well was such a shock. I lost Tara in Feb, Reno in March, Dana died under anaesthetic on 12th April and Jasmine was put to sleep less than 2 weeks after loosing Dana. I seem to get the odd things with my ferrets, but the oddest thing, a ferret living to 10 or 12 years, that's not ever happened... :-( But I've got over the shock after a week or so, I was actually crying all the time, not just Jasmine but loosing all 8 in the last 13 months, it was just so bad having sick ferrets all the time and one dying after another that I didn't have the chance to grief and I didn't want to because if I start I don't know if I'll be able to stop. But this time just pushed me over the edge and I was grieving for all 8... You know, beginning of March last year I had 15 ferrets and of those 15, 8 have died. That’s an awful lot!
I was actually at breaking point and very close to thinking that when all the ferrets are dead, I'm not going to have any more. It is too much heartache. I mean I could understand if they died when they're old or if I lost up to 3 ferrets a year but not this. Not sudden illness and so many horrific things. I just feel I had more than my fair share of weird illnesses and losses. I can understand if one ferrets gets something that you put down as being "one of those things that happen" but my guys seem to just be getting the odd and horrible things...
So now I have 10 ferrets… I have a group of 6 (Rose, Gremlin, Bobby, Willow, Riley, Wesley), a group of 3 (Spike, Leo, Piper) and Ruby on her own. I did try and mix the 2 groups and it went quite well but then Leo and especially Piper got too confident and kept bullying Rose and especially Gremlin and Gremlin can’t defend herself so I separated them again. The big group is a bit dysfunctional as well now. Rose has lost her best friend Jasmine, Willow lost her best friend Tara, Bobby and Gremlin are missing Hobo still. Only Wesley and Riley have got one another. Willow will play with Riley a bit but Riley is a bit too boisterous for her so she always rather played with Tara. I hope Willow, Rose, Gremlin and Bobby will bond more... Anyway, this is Jasmine's blood test results and pathology report:
Blood test values from 22.04.05 (except she was passing blood from her vulva, not anus, *pictures here*):
No relevant hx, sudden onset posterior paresis. Stools from last night looks ?undigested or blood tinged. Passing bloody liquid from anus.
Haematology and Clinical Chemistry Results
Prognosis Not Given
CLINICAL CHEMISTRY RESULTS
Parameter - Result - Ranges
Na 148.5 mmol/L (146-160)
K 5.15 mmol/L (3.7-5.4)
Na:K ratio 28.85
CI 111.1 mmol/L (112-129)
Ca 2.15 mmol/L (1.9-2.4)
Phosphorus 2.6 mmol/L (1.0-1.3)
T protein 62 g/L (53-72)
Albumin 32 g/L (33-41)
Globulin 29 g/L (2-24)
A:G ratio 1.1
Glucose Fluoride oxalate tube required.
Creatinine 71 umol/L (8.8-106)
Urea N 30.0 mmol/L (1.66-7.5)
Cholesterol 3.00 mmol/L (1.76-4.4)
CK 249 U/L (98-568)
Bile acids 2 umol/L (1-28)
Bilirubin 2.6 umol/L (0-5.1)
ALP 20 U/L (14-144)
ALT 79 U/L (48-292)
AST 65 U/L (46-118)
Sample appearance: serum slightly lipaemic.
Parameter - Result - Range
RBCs 3.05 x 10^12/L (6.3-11.2)
Haemoglobin (Hgb) 5.2 g/dL (11.1-17.1)
H ct 14.7% (36-53)
MCV 48.3 fL (45-54)
MCH 17.2 pg (14-17.5)
MCHC 35.5 g/dL (30.7-32.6)
WBCs 5.0 x 10^9/L (2-10)
Neutrophils 62% 3.1 x 10^9/L (13-48)
Band Neutrophils 0 % 0.0 x 10^9/L
Lymphocytes 30% 1.5 x 10^9/L (40-82)
Monocytes 5 % 0.3 x 10^9/L (7-9)
Eosinophils 3 % 0.2 x 10^9/L (2-8)
Platelet count 162 x 10^9/L (277-732)
Retics ~1 %
No prepared smears submitted. Platelet numbers appear adequate with occasional giant forms. Erythrocytes exhibit mild anisocytosis and poikilocytosis with occasional polychromatophilic cells and some crenation. Leukocytes are poorly preserved with frequent smudged cells and basket cells, this degeneration may affect the accuracy of the differential count.
The clinical chemistry results are nearly all normal or very close to normal, with the exception of moderately high urea nitrogen, that may indicate a degree of renal incompetence. The haematology results indicate fairly profound anaemia and a relative neutrophilia.
Anaemia is commonly seen in hyperoestrogenism in older, intact females, but it is also commonly associated with haemorrhagic disorders of the GI tract. Ferrets with Aleutian disease typically demonstrate hypoalbuminaemia and hyperglobulinaemia, not particular features in this case.
Jasmine's pathology report:
Posterior paresis 20.4. BS and cystocentesis under GA afterwards haematochezia and haematuria, blood transfusion 21.4. PM blood in thoracic and abdominal cavity, blood / black stuff in stomach, blood in bladder.
Prognosis Not Applicable
The submission consists of fixed necropsy samples of various tissues from a 6-year-old, neutered female ferret.
LIVER: two sections were examined. One reveals mild to moderate hepatocytic necrosis, not associated with significant inflammation, in periacinar (centrilobular) zones, as well as mild periportal fibrosis with mononuclear inflammatory cell infiltration. The second section reveals partial replacement of the hepatic parenchyma by a mass composed of multiple variably-sized, often large, blood-filled spaces separated either by fibrous septa lined by plump, rounded or polyhedral cells, or by solid sheets of pleomorphic polyhedral or spindloid cells. The cells exhibit considerable nuclear pleomorphism and atypia, and occasional mitotic figures can be seen.
KIDNEY: the section reveals mild tubular dilatation, with lipofuscinosis of tubular epithelia. Glomeruli vary from normal in appearance, to enlarged and hypercellular, to shrunken and sclerotic, often with adhesions to Bowman's capsules, some of which are thickened. There are occasional small foci of interstitial fibrosis, sometimes accompanied by a minimal infiltrate of lymphoplasmacytic cells.
SPLEEN: the parenchyma is moderately expanded, chiefly due to increased extramedullary haemopoiesis (EMH). There is no significant lymphoid proliferation.
HEART: the sections reveal several small foci of myocardial degeneration and replacement fibroplasia with only a very scant inflammatory cell presence.
LUNG: there is mild congestion, otherwise the section is largely unremarkable.
INTESTINE: the section reveals a moderate, diffuse mucosal infiltration of eosinophils; slightly more than I would normally expect, but not enough to justify a certain diagnosis of eosinophilic enteritis.
URINARY BLADDER: the lining transitional epithelium is well differentiated and intact, with no overt evidence of ulceration, although there is free blood in the lumen. The submucosa is moderately oedematous, but there is only a very mild, more or less diffuse infiltration of inflammatory cells. The tunica muscularis is mildly oedematous and contains several small foci of haemorrhage.
DIAGNOSIS: hepatic haemangiosarcoma.
DISCUSSION: the cause of death was a haemorrhagic hepatic tumour, identified as a haemangiosarcoma. Foci of hepatic and myocardial necrosis were probably ischaemic in aetiology, due to anaemia caused by blood loss from this tumour. Excessive EMH in the spleen is most likely a reactive change, also in response to blood loss. Hepatic haemangiosarcoma is not an uncommon tumour in the ferret.