ISSN 2398-2985      

Aplastic anemia

4ferrets

Synonym(s): Bone marrow disease, Hyperestrogenism


Introduction

  • Ferrets are seasonally polyestrus.
  • The normal breeding season is from March to August in the northern hemisphere.
  • The ferret is a copulatory ovulatory and will remain in estrus to 120 days if not bred.
  • Cause: if a jill comes into estrus and is not bred, it can lead to a fatal aplastic anemia due to the prolonged high estrogen levels. 
  • Signs: swollen vulva, pale mucus membranes, alopecia, anorexia, depression, lethargy, heart murmur, skin ecchymoses, conjunctival petechiae.
  • Diagnosis: blood testing, bone marrow biopsy.
  • Treatment: injection of hCG followed by ovariohysterectomy.
  • Prognosis: variable.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • High estrogen levels suppress bone marrow production of red blood cells resulting in what could become a fatal anemia. 
  • This may take several months to develop.
  • In addition, there may be thrombocytopenia, granuloctypenia and hypocellurlarity of the bone marrow.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Intact females.

Specific

  • Females with ovarian remnant syndrome.

Epidemiology

  • Not all females in estrus that have not been mated will develop prolonged estrus.
  • In those where prolonged estrus is seen, approximately 50% will develop aplastic anemia.
  • Overall, it has been reported that 30% of females in estrus will die in a reproductive season if no male is available for copulation and no treatment is done in females with prolonged estrus.

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

Other sources of information

  • Fox J G & Marini R P (2014) Eds. Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Wiley Blackwell, USA. pp 835.
  • Mayer J & Donnelly T M (2013) Clinical Veterinary Advisor: Birds and Exotic Pets. Elsevier, USA. pp 752.

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