Urolithiasis in Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents

Key Points

  • Urolithiasis in the ferret is relatively uncommon today due to the availability of high-quality ferret diets. Struvite or magnesium ammonium phosphate stones are most frequently seen.
  • Ferrets fed plant-based protein diets, like dog food or inexpensive cat food, produce alkaline urine which predisposes them to struvite crystal formation.
  • Calcium-containing stones such as calcium carbonate (calcite) and calcium oxalate are most commonly reported in rabbits and rodents.
  • In addition to uroliths, rabbits may also develop calcium-rich bladder sludge or sand due to their unique metabolism of calcium which relies almost entirely on excretion via the kidneys.

Urolithiasis is characterized by single or multiple calculi throughout the urinary tract or by the presence of sandy material within the bladder and urethra. Uroliths are fortunately more of a historical disease in the ferret, while calculi are still an important problem in rabbits and rodents . . .

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