ISSN 2398-2985      

Cataracts

4ferrets

Synonym(s): Lens opacity


Introduction

  • Cause: age-related; possible inherited condition.
  • Signs: uni- or bilateral lens opacity.
  • Diagnosis: direct or indirect ophthalmic examination.
  • Treatment: irrigation-aspiration; not necessary.
  • Prognosis: good as most ferrets adapt to blindness well.
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Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Opacity of the lens may start with focal spots before it becomes more diffuse. Some are seen as a diffuse haze or more profound opacity similar to what is seen in other species. These changes are considered age-related.
  • The author has seen cataracts in very young ferrets so there may be a congenital condition.
  • It has been considered that all ferrets by 7 years of age have some degree of age-related cataract formation.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Anterior uveitis.
  • Nutritional imbalance:
    • Vitamin A deficiency has been reported in ferrets to cause cataracts.
    • Diets high in fat or deficient in vitamin E or protein may promote cataract formation.
  • Age.
  • Trauma to the lens.

Specific

  • Some genetic lines seem predisposed to juvenile cataracts, but it has not been determined conclusively if genetics or other factos were causing the increased incidence of cataracts.
  • Microphthalmia .
  • It has also been reported in a ferret with chorioretinitis caused by cryptococcosis Cryptococcosis.
  • Diazoxide Diazoxide at a high dose causes reversible lenticular cataracts in dogs, but this has not been reported in ferrets.

Pathophysiology

  • All cataracts occur through a change in lens protein composition or lens fiber arrangement.
  • Not all cataracts are progressive.
  • Diabetes mellitus, a common cause of cataracts in other species, is rare in ferrets.

Epidemiology

  • Most common ferret ocular abnormality affecting vision.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Ropstad E O, Leiva M, Peña T et al (2011) Cryptococcus gattii chorioretinitis in a ferret. Vet Ophthal 14 (4), 262-266 PubMed.
  • Miller P E (1997) Ferret ophthalmology. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 6 (3), 146-151 JExoticPetMed.
  • Miller P E, Marlar A B & Dubielzig R R (1993) Cataracts in a laboratory colony of ferrets. Lab Anim Sci 43 (6), 562-568 PubMed.

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.
  • Williams D L (2012) The Ferret Eye. In: Ophthalmology of Exotic Pets. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, UK. pp 73-85.

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