*Megaesophagus is the dilation of the esophagus due to the lack of muscular motility. When the ferret attempts to swallow, the food or liquid cannot be propelled into the stomach causing the esophagus to swell as it fills. As a result, breathing may be impaired, and the ferret regurgitates. This is not true vomiting because the material never enters the stomach. Gurgling and rumbling sounds are commonly heard. If the food or liquid pools in the esophagus and then enters the stomach, a loud noise can be heard (which sounds like water going down a drain). Some of the regurgitated food might be inhaled, resulting in a pneumonia that is extremely difficult to treat.
Megaesophagus is a relatively rare condition in ferrets. Acquired megaesophagus is being diagnosed more often as vets become familiar with ferrets. Megaesophagus can sometimes be diagnosed by giving barium to the ferret, feeding the ferret, and immediately taking an X-ray. On the radiograph, food can frequently be seen in the esophagus. The condition may also be diagnosed by endoscope examination, fluoroscopy, or clinical observations. Because the ferret does not get sufficient food and water into the stomach to digest, it dehydrates and wastes away, often in a matter of days. Prompt action is required to save the ferrets life.*
Ferrets: Contessa Kitties: Watson, Oskar DIP Sinnead, Vincent, Boris, Zeus and Athena, Willow, Mr. Frodo, Indie, Lucrezia, Judge, Odin, Miss Emily, Suki, Cody, Aristotle, Butterscotch, Frankenfurter. RIP Herne, Ligeia, and Mr. Stubbs