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O2009-01

Dear Frank B. Ferret

My ferret, Jazz, hasn’t been as playful as usual, so I took him to the veterinarian. He suspects Jazz has cardiomyopathy and recommends ultrasound of the heart. Please tell me about cardiomyopathy and whether it can be treated.

Frank Responds

Cardiomyopathy, a heart (cardio) muscle (myo) disease (pathy), is the most common type of heart disease that afflicts us ferrets.

Most ferrets with cardiomyopathy are seniors, that is, over four years of age. Males and females are affected equally.

The most common clinical signs are lethargy, exercise intolerance, coughing, weight loss and an enlarged abdomen.

On physical exam, the heart may beat unusually fast, and a murmur may be heard. Sometimes the abdomen is filled with fluid.

Cardiomyopathy can be treated, but it’s important to confirm the diagnosis with an echocardiogram, or heart ultrasound, as your veterinarian recommended.

I’ll keep my paws crossed, hoping Jazz responds well to his therapy.

 

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