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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References

Del-Angel-Caraza J, Chavez-Moreno O, Garcia-Navarro S, Perez-Garcia C. Mixed urolith (struvite and calcium oxalate) in a ferret (Mustela putorius furo). J Vet Diagn Invest 20(5):682-683, 2008.

Dutton MA. Treatment of cystine bladder urolith in a ferret. Exotic Pet Pract 1:7, 1996.

Fisher PG. Ferrets: urogenital and reproductive system disorders. In: Keeble E, Meredith A (eds). BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. In press.

Fisher PG. Exotic mammal renal disease: diagnosis and treatment. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 9:69-96, 2006.

Hawkins MG, Ruby AL, Drazenovich TL, Westropp JL. Composition and characteristics of urinary calculi from guinea pigs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 234(2):214-220, 2009.

Lewington JH. Ferret Husbandry, Medicine and surgery. Edinburgh, Elsevier, 2002.

Nguyen HT, Moreland AF, Shields RP. Urolithiasis in ferrets (Mustela putorius). Lab Anim 29:243-245, 1979.

Orcutt CJ. Ferret urogenital diseases. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 2003; 6:113-138.

Pollock CG. Urogenital diseases. In Quesenberry KE, Carpenter JW (eds). Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 2nd ed. Philadelphia, WB Saunders, 2003, pp 41-49.

Stieger SM, Wenker C, Ziegler-Gohm D, Flückiger M. Ureterolithiasis and papilloma formation in the ureter of a guinea pig. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 44(3): 326-329, 2003.

White RN. Management of calcium ureterolithiasis in a French lop rabbit. J Small Anim Pract 42(12):595-598, 2001.

To cite this page:

Pollock C. Urolithiasis in ferrets, rabbits, and rodents. October 5, 2009. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/urolithiasis-in-ferrets-rabbits-and-rodents/