Author: Lindsey Tootle
MAKE SURE THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE EXOTIC VETS 24 HOUR CLINIC PHONE NUMBER!
Insulinoma Emergency Kit Contents:
- Q Tips
- Glucose: Glucose gel, Karo syrup, or honey
- High Protein Soft Food: (i.e. Beechnut meat and gravy baby food, Oxbow Carnivore Care, Hills A/D canned cat food)
- Syringe (in case syringe feeding is needed)
- These Instructions (Click HERE to Print)
- Your Regular and Emergency Vet Phone Numbers
Karo Syrup – Corn syrup is made from corn starch and glucose. It is used in many dessert recipes and as a cost effective substitute for cane sugar in mass produced foods, sodas and candies. This is found in the sugar and spices isle at the grocery store. When Karo is applied to the gums it is absorbed quickly into the blood stream to quickly bring the blood glucose level up to a level that will allow the ferret to regain consciousness and stabilize.
DO NOT DILUTE/WATER DOWN THE GLUCOSE (Glucose Gel, Karo, or Honey)…DIP THE Q-TIP DIRECTLY INTO THE BOTTLE THEN APPLY DIRECTLY TO UPPER GUM AREA ON BOTH SIDES OF THE MOUTH!
When a ferret is crashing from low blood sugar this is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Your ferret can die in your arms.
Immediately lay the ferret down on a safe flat surface so that he/she will not fall to the floor and go and get the Karo syrup, pour some into a small bowl or dip Q-tip directly into the bottle. Now lift up the ferret’s upper lip and smear the Karo all over the gums above the teeth. A Q-tip is used so that the ferret does not accidently clamp down on your finger or hand in the middle of a seizure or out of fear. Do this on both sides of the mouth on the gums above the upper teeth. This should help revive the ferret if he/she has “passed out” or is wobbling around due to low blood sugar. Don’t worry about being messy. It is messy. Just get the Karo smeared all over the gums.
Now lay the ferret down on a flat surface where he/she cannot stand up and wobble and fall and hurt him/herself (the kitchen cabinet or a table is not safe!). Put the ferret in the cage if you can prevent it from climbing to an upper level. Another person can always hold the ferret while you do the next step.
Prepare a high protein snack. This will help stabilize the ferret’s blood glucose level for about 3 hours. If this is occurring in the middle of the night your ferret will need the protein snack every 3 hours until you see the vet. If you fail to feed the high protein snack every 3 hours the ferret will more than likely crash again. If the ferret crashes again repeat the Karo syrup application to the gums again followed by the high protein snack immediately.
One jar of Beechnut brand Baby Food – Chicken, Turkey, or Beef. Use a spoon to spoon feed, or put some on your finger and allow the ferret to eat off of your finger. If the ferret is able to eat off of a small saucer allow him/her to eat all that he/she will. Then get the ferret to the vets immediately. Call before you leave and let them know you are coming.
You can use the Carnivore Care, Baby Food, or Critical Care Canned Food all by itself in an emergency situation. Alternatively, if you have Hill’s® Prescription Diet® a/d® Canine/Feline Critical Care you can mix this together with the Carnivore Care or Beechnut Baby Food. It has higher levels of Potassium (which helps to stabilize blood glucose levels) and organ meats which have smaller fat molecules and are very easy for a ferret to digest and also has a high protein content. Discuss with your vet what your ferret should now eat to consume high levels of fat and protein for your newly diagnosed insulinomic ferret. Their diets must change with this disease. No sugars, carbohydrates, grain or vegetables. If you feed kibble you MUST ensure there is no grain, vegetables or carbohydrates in the ingredients.
Note: Gerber brand baby food has corn starch as an ingredient so do not use. Hill’s is not the only prescription canned food you can use. Royal Canin makes a prescription canned food as well – Royal Canin Recovery RS Dog & Cat Food. Your vet will have one of several brands available on the market in their office. Just ask to purchase at least 3 cans to have on hand for this type of emergency.
When a ferret crashes from low blood sugar it will catch you off guard when you least expect it. And, of course, usually late at night on the weekend! It is critical to have these items in a bucket/box so that all you have to do is grab it. Time is of the essence in getting the blood glucose level back up and then stabilized with a high protein snack. Even ferrets that are being treated for insulinoma can crash for any number of reasons. If you have a ferret in the house you truly need to have these supplies ready to use at a moment’s notice.
A ferret having an insulinoma crash may scream/cry. This is due to stimulation to the vocal chords from the nervous system going haywire during the seizure. A ferret can be rigid/stiff and drool, limp and drooling, jerking and gnashing teeth etc. A ferret experiences a seizure when abnormal activity in its brain causes it to lose consciousness and results in strange body movements. Seizures that stop in just a few seconds are not fatal, but longer seizures that continue after two minutes could threaten a ferret’s life. Seizures do not cause pain! It is also very important that you understand a seizure could be more than a low blood sugar occurrence. Something else may be occurring in the body of your ferret which is another reason why your ferret must see a vet.
DO NOT ALLOW YOUR FERRET TO CONTINUE HAVING SEIZURES ONE AFTER ANOTHER OR FOR WEEKS WITHOUT TREATMENT AND SEEING A VET. THIS IS CRUEL!
THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE INTENDED ONLY TO STABILIZE A FERRET THROUGH THE NIGHT OR UNTIL YOU CAN GET TO A VET IN MORNING/NEXT DAY!
SEIZURES CAN CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE! SEIZURES ARE CONSIDERED A MEDICAL EMERGENCY!
Suggestion: Print these instructions out and place in your “Insulinoma Crash Box”!
24 Hour Exotic Clinic Phone #:_______________________________
My regular vet’s phone #__________________________________
Click Here for Printable Instructions and Phone Number Cards