Early lesions can be seen as early as 2 years, and advanced cases resulting in renal failure may occur as early as 4.5 years.
The progression of the disease is most akin to that seen in feline renal disease.
Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs of weight loss, intermittent anorexia and polyuria. Haematological examination usually reveals elevated creatinine and blood urea nitrogen. Ultrasonographic studies usually reveal hypoechoic renal structures and reduced renal diameter.
The most common finding on postmortem is chronic interstitial nephritis. Kidneys are generally pitted and large focal depressions may be seen in the outer cortex as a result of scarring.
A differential diagnosis would also include adrenocortical adenocarcinoma, which commonly present with similar signs, as well as alopecia and pruritus.
Treatments for this condition usually involve supportive drug therapy aimed at reducing renal hyperperfusion with ACE-inhibitors, and maintaining hydration status with subcutaneous fluids.
Dietary changes may be indicated, primarily focused on lowering protein intake in ferrets over three years of age to minimize underlying ammonemia associated with the consumption of high-meat diets.
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