I was away for 2 weeks in March as my mother's health took a turn for the worse, and towards the end of my stay in Germany, Pete said that a lady had been in touch with our neighbours Gill and Barry, she had found a ferret on her farm and was looking for a cage. Gill and Barry put her in touch with Pete and he asked me what to do and since I was involved now, I said take the ferret in. I was hoping (and still am, sigh...) that he would fit in with Honey's group. So on 17/03/10 Pete took Squirt in. These are the first pictures of Squirt that Pete sent me via MMS:
2 days later, Friday the 19th, Squirt was castrated. He is a really cute little boy, looks like a kit. When Pete took him in, he thought Squirt was still a kit because of his small body and big feet and other kit-like features. But his testes had descended so he must be last year's kit.
When I got home on the 19th, Squirt was out and so far Pete hadn't let him socialise with the skunks so I let him into the living room where he met the dogs (who had been in Germany with me), the cats, and skunks. At first Squirt was bewildered and then he just pounced onto one of the cats and I thought he wouldn't get on with the other animals but the next day he was okay and gets on with everybody else, he enjoys having the others around him for company.
Over the next 1 1/2 months, I repeatedly tried to put Squirt into Honey's group. But Charlie would bully Squirt. They could all be asleep and then suddenly Charlie would have a go at Squirt for no reason. So Squirt would go into a cage of his own and then we'd try him in Honey's group again at a later stage. After a few failed attempts, Pete tried Charlie and Squirt while I was away in May/ June '10 and Charlie tore into Squirt so badly that we have given up for now. Squirt gets on with Honey, Snoopy, Franklin and Peanut and occasionally I will let some of them out with Squirt. Squirt loves Peanut and actually lived with her for a while. :-)
But for now Squirt is happy on his own. When Hedgy was alive and out in the garden at night, Squirt would dance around her which was really funny. He also loves to go slugging at night and will come in with a gooey mass in and around his mouth. Yikes!
After 1 3/4 years of pred, Leo had developed a huge tummy and muscle loss to the point where he wasn't doing much anymore, and his legs were slipping on the tile and laminate floors. So I thought I try and let him have a run with Squirt. Leo keeps following Squirt around so is way more active, and Squirt is really nice to Leo so I'm happy, and Leo has become so much stronger, I can't believe how much and well he runs around etc. Has lost weight, too, or at least his tummy has become "toned". :-)
Cuddly Squirt 20.12.2010
At some point during April I decided to try putting Squirt in with Leo. They've been out for a run together the last few months and I thought it would be nice for them to live together. Leo was not exactly ecstatic but tolerated Squirt. They do have the odd squabble but also sleep together so it's working out well and I'm glad they're not single ferrets anymore.
Leo and Squirt 31.03.2012 and 12.04.2012- not very good pictures unfortunately...
May 2012 (This is a bit stupid now but I have copied the following bit and some photos off Skippy's page so that Squirt's page is not so bare...)
2 days after Leo was put to sleep, I tried Squirt, Leo's companion, with new boy Skippy. Squirt was so scared of Skippy for some reason and was screaming at him although Skippy gave him no reason whatsoever to be scared. After a while Squirt calmed down and stopped the screaming. They never fought at any point and no marks or anything on either of them. Squirt is still a bit scared but not so much now. Skippy is sooo adorable! Never in a million years would I have thought this when I first went to fetch him. I also never would have thought that Leo would be put to sleep exactly one month after Skippy's arrival. :-( And now it's all turned out fine with Skippy as the new companion for Squirt.
All is well that ends well: Skippy and Squirt :-)
21.05.12- I can't believe how much lighter Squirt has become
Friday 14th September, Squirt went missing at night. When we round the rabbits up in the garden at night, we put a table top between the back garden fence and the bird shed. That evening Pete fetched the rabbits in and forgot the table top. I didn't blame him as it is something that could have happened to me and has happened before with no problem. But this time Squirt must have climbed up and over the fence. I couldn't believe it as Squirt is a small ferret and not exactly agile. I thought if anybody had escaped, it would have been Snoopy. So Squirt was gone, I spent outside until 1.30 and then slept on the sofa, back out at 6.30 the next morning. Later on Pete and I walked the village and dropped off missing ferret notices, up and down the road. I spent the day walking and walking and searching. Nothing. I really thought this time our luck had run out. I thought Squirt was dead. Same procedure Sunday. Monday I drove around and dropped off notices at the vets and pet shops in the 2 close by towns. Of course also my vets.
Monday, 17th, evening, after loosing Charlie, a lady knocked on the door in the evening, saying there was a ferret by her house. I thought she knew about us missing Squirt but it turned out she didn't know but she knew we were the "ferret people". Anyway, I flew out of the house, the lady lived half a kilometer down the road which is opposite our drive. They had seen a ferret and it had moved in underneath their house. Ferret didn't come out of the pipe which led underneath the house so Pete fetched Peanut and a harness and lead and we sent her down the pipe. There was squabbling and Peanut was not impressed having to go down the pipe. We also had food and put some kibbles into the pipe which the ferret eagerly ate so I put pieces a few inches away from the pipe with my hand hovering above the exit of the pipe to grab the ferret. And then Squirt came out. BIG SMILE. I was over the moon we got him back, and pretty much exactly 3 days after he escaped. He was so not happy about being back and screamed at his friends Skippy and Tigger. But eventually he did see the benefit of having a warm bed and food available at all times. We have had a few escapees but they always stayed close by and always by the houses that are to the left and right to us. But Squirt went down the road opposite us where there are only a couple of houses and as I said he went about half a kilometer / 0.31 miles, so far! Another strange thing. We left the garage open night and day while Squirt was gone, there was a bowl with food and a warm bed. One day I saw a big, well fed and well looked after ginger and white cat eating in the garage, the cat just looked at me and was not scared at all, definitely a house cat. I had never seen it. Turns out the cat belonged to the people where Squirt had gone. How odd is that!
I had ferret Squirt put to sleep Wednesday 03/04/13. He'd been a bit more quiet recently and he vomited very badly and strangely a few times. Only the last week or two have I thought he looked a bit off colour. End of March I got the feeling he had fluid in his abdomen, his tummy was sort of podgy but his chest and front were much thinner, it didn't look right. And while his tummy wasn't like a drum, it didn't feel the same as in the fat boys. Easter Monday he had a bad vomiting episode, he would eat just a little bit of meat and then vomit but it left him exhausted that he would just lie in his vomit. He'd not bring up much food but mainly frothy white foam/ liquid. It was almost like he didn't have the strength to vomit or had difficulties getting everything out. I would of course hold him and cuddle him until he was better. Part of me wanted to take him to the vets first thing Tuesday but Squirt looked bright, ate kibble as usual and was up and running around. But Tuesday night (Wednesday early morning) I had a nightmare that Squirt was in a bad way and needed to be put to sleep. I couldn't sleep after this dream, got up and ready and did the animals and then phoned the vets who were full up to the brim with appointments but Michaela said it was okay to bring him, she did an ultrasound and saw a big growth and admitted him immediately for an exploratory. That was on a day when she already had 2 big ops. I observed and Michaela first pulled the stomach out which had growths all around it and she said “that's not what we saw on the ultrasound” so she looked at it puzzled and eventually continued and when she got to the liver, she pulled a huge growth out. :( Oh, and of course there was so much fluid. :( He was put to sleep while under anaesthetic. I was just shocked, emotional shut-down of course. Part of me knew it was going to be bad but on the other hand he didn't act *that* sick. So I opted for denial. Like he's going to be okay, it's just me being silly and paranoid, I imagined the fluid in his tummy and the vomiting was just one of those things, a bug or whatever, a new food intolerance. I think back to when we lost him 3 days last September and now he is gone for good. I am angry because he was only 4, I know, people and animals die young sometimes. And he had a good 3 years with us. Plus I am glad he did not suffer much or long and that there was no wondering whether putting him to sleep was the right thing to do.
Squirt, Peanut and Honey
Diagnosis Pancreatic Exocrine Carcinoma and Metastasis
Prognosis Suggested Diagnosis - Please See Comments
Sections from necropsy samples of various tissues from a 5-year-old, male, Ferret were examined microscopically.
LIVER: 1 sample received; 1 section examined. This sample contains only a narrow rim of viable, recognizable hepatic tissue along one edge, although the sinusoids are markedly distended and the hepatocytic cords slightly atrophied in appearance. Approximately one third of the sample is unrecognizable necrotic tissue, while the remainder comprises part of a highly cellular neoplasm composed of medium-sized, polyhedral cells predominantly arranged as more or less solid sheets, but occasionally forming distinct acinar or ductular structures. There is little nuclear atypia, but the mitotic index is high (frequently in excess of ten per single high power field). A moderate amount of inflamed, proliferative fibrovascular tissue is present on the capsule covering some of the necrotic part of the sample.
PANCREAS: 1 sample received; 1 section examined. Lobules of relatively normal pancreatic tissue surround a smallish neoplastic mass, approximately 4mm in diameter on the slide, which is histologically similar to the neoplastic tissue seen in the liver, only with acinar/ductular structures more prominent and surrounded by a dense fibrous capsule.
LYMPH NODE: 1 sample received; 1 section examined. This is somewhat enlarged chiefly as a result of oedema, with pronounced dilatation of the medullary and subcapsular sinuses, but there is no evidence of neoplasia within this node.
MESENTERY: 1 sample received; 1 section examined. This sample contains a large amount of moderately inflamed, reactive fibrous tissue, in one place forming a reasonably discrete nodule with necrotic centre, but a cause is not apparent in the sections examined. There is no overt evidence of neoplasia here.
DIAGNOSIS: Pancreatic carcinoma with metastasis to the liver.
DISCUSSION: Histopathological evaluation of these tissues confirms a pancreatic carcinoma with metastasis to the liver. The morphology of the neoplastic tissue is not typical of an endocrine (islet cell) carcinoma and the presence of distinct acinus-like structures in the neoplastic tissue, both in the pancreas and the liver, suggests this is an exocrine carcinoma; however, there are no convincing zymogen granules within the neoplastic cells, not in itself unusual, but making it difficult to rule out the alternative possibility of a pancreatic duct carcinoma.
The inflammatory changes in the mesentery are most likely a reaction to similar changes on the hepatic capsule due to the presence of the tumour and are themselves probably responsible for the oedema in the lymph node.
Squirt and Snoopy 11.07.2012