Chapter 14 Diseases of the Cardiovascular System
Acquired heart disease is relatively common in middle-aged to older ferrets (>3 years of age), whereas there are few reports of congenital disease. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs, physical examination, radiography, ultrasonic examination, and electrocardiography (Fig. 14-1).
Figure 14-1 Technique for recording the electrocardiogram of the ferret.
(From Quesenberry KE, Carpenter JW: Ferrets, rabbits, and rodents, ed 2, St Louis, 2004, Saunders, by permission.)
Cardiomyopathy, both dilated and hypertrophic, is reported in pet ferrets. The dilated form results in an enlarged left ventricle with systolic dysfunction, whereas the hypertrophic form produces a hypertrophy of the left ventricular wall resulting in decreased filling, a diastolic function.
Valvular Heart Disease
Valvular heart disease is common in middle-aged to older ferrets, with mitral and tricuspid regurgitation being the most common cause. The systolic murmur of mitral regurgitation can best be heard over the left apical thorax, whereas tricuspid regurgitation can best be heard over the right sternal region of the thorax. Aortic regurgitation or aortic insufficiency may also occur.