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Welcome to Lake Howell Animal Clinic

"Your pet’s health and well-being is our number one concern."

Your Dog, Cat, and Exotics Veterinarian in Maitland, FL
Call us at (407) 628-8000

Veterinary Services:

  • Medical Care
  • Dental Care
  • Orthopedics
  • Surgery
  • Spay/Neuter
  • Critical Care
  • Vaccinations
  • Boarding
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Referrals
  • Education

Common Emergencies in Rabbits and Ferrets

Gastrointestinal foreign objects in young ferrets. Young ferrets should never be allowed unsupervised free range of home. We have seen and removed tacks, coins, and toys from the GI tract of ferrets. Affected animals are generally quiet, depressed, and dehydrated. Ferrets with GI foreign body may or may not vomit or have diarrhea. Diagnosis is generally made from a detailed history, physical examination, and survey radiographs. Foreign bodies will need to be surgically.

Diarrhea in a rabbit is an emergency. Rabbits are hindgut fermenters that rely on microbial fermentation in the cecum to produce energy in the form of volatile fatty acids. Changes to the diet, inappropriate antibiotics (e.g., penicillins, cephalosporins, and macrolides) trauma, or low fibers diets can lead to microbial dysbiosis in the cecum. Fluctuations in the microbial flora of the cecum generally lead to the over-development of pathogenic strains of bacteria. Affected rabbits become anorectic, develop ileus, and may cease the production of fecal pellets. If your bunny has diarrhea, he/she needs to see a vet as soon as possible.

Heat stroke in rabbits. Domestic rabbits that are housed outdoors or in non temperature-regulated locations can quickly succumb to heat stroke, especially at temperatures at or above 88° F. The prognosis for a rabbit in heat stroke is guarded to grave. Housing a rabbit indoors is the best option. If it’s necessary to house a rabbit outdoors, both shade and unlimited access to cool water is essential.

Common Emergencies in Rabbits and Ferrets

Insulinomas (beta-cell tumors of the pancreas) in pet ferrets generally occur in ferrets over 4 years of age and older from commercial breeders.  Affected ferrets may present with weakness, paresis of the rear limbs (similar in ferrets with cardiomyopathy), stargazing or seizures. The tumors produce excess insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia. Blood glucose levels in ferrets are generally >80 mg/dl, however, ferrets with insulinomas may present with blood glucose values as low as 40 mg/dl. The long-term management of these cases requires either additional medical treatment or surgical intervention. Although surgery provides the greatest likelihood for treatment, it may be difficult to remove all of the masses because of their small size. The prognosis for these cases is generally poor to guarded.

Traumatic injuries in both ferrets and rabbits. Most of these injuries are caused by a pet dog sharing the same home with the rabbit or ferret. Care should always be given if a dog shares a home with these animals and they should never be permitted together without close supervision. Even if a dog generally gets along with the rabbit or ferret, often times simple playfulness from the dog can cause injury wiht potential catastrophic results. Injured pets require immediate attention, including a physical exam, bloodwork and xrays to assess the extent of the injuries.