Proliferative enteropathy in Ferrets | Vetlexicon
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Proliferative enteropathy

ISSN 2398-2985


Synonym(s): Proliferative bowel disease

Introduction

  • Cause: Lawsonia intracellularis, an intracelular bacterium.
  • Signs: diarrhea, weight loss, tenesmus, rectal prolapse, thickened intestinal loops, enlarged/palpable mesenteric lymph nodes.
  • Diagnosis: clinical examination, laboratory testing, biopsy, fecal testing, diagnostic imaging.
  • Treatment: antibacterials, supportive care, NSAIDs.
  • Prognosis: guarded to poor.
  • Thickened intestinal loops, particularly of the colon.
  • Described in 1983 in a research facility and poorly reported since then.
  • Considered a very rare disease in pet ferrets presented in clinical practice.

Age predisposition

  • Ferrets of 4-6 months old are most commonly affected.

Public health considerations

  • Zoonotic potential is unlikely.

Special risks

  • Exposure to other animal species or their feces that carries Lawsonia (such as hamsters) could be a source, but this has not been proven.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • It is caused by the intracelular bacterium Lawsonia intracellularis.

Pathophysiology

  • The infection produces epithelial hyperplasia and inflammation of the colonic mucosa.
  • Inflammation and/or extension of the proliferative epithelium may involve the regional (mesenteric) lymph nodes.
  • Transmission via the fecal-oral route.

Epidemiology

  • Very rare condition in clinical practice.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Krueger K L, Murphy J C & Fox J G (1989) Treatment of proliferative colitis in ferrets. JAVMA 194 (10), 1435-1446 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Perpinan D & Johnson-Delaney C A (2017) Disorders of the Digestive System and Liver. In: Ferret Medicine and Surgery. Ed: Johnson-Delaney C A. CRC Press, USA. pp 159-190.
  • Maurer K J & Fox J G (2014) Diseases of the Gastrointestinal System. In: Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Eds: Fox J G & Marini R P. Wiley & Sons, USA. pp 363-375.