Ferret Biochemistry & Hematology Values

Check with your vet for interpretation of your lab results - ranges may vary with different laboratories 

Rectal temperature 100-104 F (37.8 - 39.4 C), 101.9 average.
Heart rate 120 beats/min (calm), 250 beats/min (stressed).
Respiration 33-36/min.
Urine volume 26-28 ml/ 24 hrs.
Urine pH 5.5-6.5; mild to moderate protein urea is common and normal.
Blood volume 60-80 ml/kg.

 

U.S. Values

Canadian Values

Serum Biochemical Values

Mitchell & Tully (2009)

Mayer & Kaufman,

Tufts Univ.(2009)

* Guelph University (2008)

 

Acceptable Range

Acceptable Range

Sodium (mmol/L)

146.0  -  160.0

 147 -159*

Potassium (mEq/l)

4.3 -   5.3

 

3.7 – 5.7*

NA/K Ratio

 

26 - 40

Chloride (mmol/L)

102.0 -   121.0

 

111 – 129*

Calcium (mg/dL)

8.6 - 10.5

 

1.85 – 2.42* mmol/L

Phosphorus (mg/dL)

5.6 –  8.7

 

1.12 – 2.56* mmol/L

Glucose  (mg/dL)

Williams (2002) non-fasting < 60 mg/dL (<3.3 mmol/L) insulinoma assured

62.5 –  134.0

 

3.0 – 8.5 mmol/L

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) (mg/dL)

12.0   43.0

 4.5 – 15.3* mmol/L

Creatinine (mg/dL)

0.2 –   0.6

 8 – 67* umol/L

Creatine kinase (CK)

 

74 – 294* IU/L

Protein (g/dL)

Female:    5.1 –       7.2

Male:        5.3 –        7.4

Plasma 49 – 76* g/L

Serum   51 - 75* g/L

Albumin (g/dL)

3.3 - 4.1

26 – 40 g/L

Globulin (g/dL)

1.8 –  3.1

22 – 43 g/L

A/G Ratio (g/dL)

Female:    1.0 –       1.6

Male:        0.8 –        2.1

0.6- 1.4

Total Bilirubin (mg/dL)

0.0 –  0.1

 0 – 7.0* umo/L

Cholesterol (mg/dL)

Female: 122.0 – 296.0

Male:       64.0 -   221.0

 

2.94 – 8.94* mmo/L

Alkaline Phosphotase (ALP)  (U/L)

30.0 -   120.0

 13 – 237* IU/L

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (U/L)

82.0 - 289.0

 39 – 196* IU/L

Aspatate transaminase (AST) (U/L)

57.0 - 248.0

10 – 170 IU/L

Amylase

 

10 – 90 IU/L

Lipase (U/L)

 0.00 - 200.0

100 – 750 IU

Carbon dioxide (mmol/L)

Female:   16.5  -    27.8

Male:       12.2 –     28.0

 

17-29*

 

Hematologic Values

 

 

U.S. Values

Mayer & Kaufman (2009)

 

Canadian Values

*Guelph University (2008)

PCV (%)

Female:   47.0 –    51.0

Male:       36.0 -     50.0

 

Hematocrit

43  -          55%

Ferret Universe (2007)

0.40 – 0.51* L/L

Hemoglobin (g/dl)

Female:   11.9 –    17.4

Male:       12.0 -      18.5

 

140 – 180* g/L

RBC (x106/ul)

                  9.7-       12.4

7.0 – 13.0 (x10E12/L)

Erythrocytes (x108/mm3)

Female:     6.7 –      9.7

Male:         7.1 –     13.2

 

8.4 – 10.5* (x 1012/L)

Platelets (x103)

Female: 264.0 – 910.0

Male:     297.0 -   730.0

 

131 – 440* (x109/L)

Reticulocytes (%)

Female:     2.0 –    14.0

 Male:        1.0 –     12.0

 

n/a

MCV (fl)

42.0 –     55.9

 

45.0 – 49.0*

MCH (pg)

14.0 –     16.4

 

16.0 – 17.0*

MCHC (g/dl)


26.9 –   35.0


 

332 – 358* g/L

MPV (fl)

 

6.1 – 7.1*

WBC (x103/ul)

Female:    2.5 -  8.6

Male:        7.7- 15.4

3.0 – 11.0 (x10E9/L)

White Cell count

3 -8 x       103/ul

 

 

Differential

 

 

 

Leukocytes (x103/mm3)

Female:    2.5 –     18.2

Male:        1.7 –      19.1

 

2.7 – 11.2*

Neutrophils (%)

Female:  12.0 –     41.0

Male:      11.0 –      82.0

1.0 – 8.0* (x 109/L)

Bands (%)

Female:    0.0 –        4.2

Male:        0.0 -          2.0

0.0 – 0.5*  (x109/L)

Lymphocytes

Female:  12.0 –     95.0

Male:      12.0 –      73.0

 

1.0 – 6.3* (x109/L)

Monocytes

Female:    1.0 –       8.0

Male:        0.0 –        9.0

 

 0.0 – 0.9* (x109/L)

Eosinophils

Female:    0.0 –       9.0

Male:        0.0 –        8.5

0.0 – 1.3* (x109/L)

Basophils

Female:    0.0 –       2.9

Male:        0.0 –        2.7

0.0 – 0.2* (x109/L)

 

*Hematology reference intervals - Courtesy Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph Users Guide 2007-2008. www.ahl.uoguelph.ca 


The following information is extracted from an article in The FAIR [Ferret Adoption, Information & Rescue Society] Report, Vol. II, No. 2, by Mary Van Dahm, with a few additions from Miami Ferret and Ferret Medicine (Mayer & Kaufman, 2009) 
(Note: quoted values below refer to American values).
1. Blood glucose 
Glucose is a sugar, the main energy source for the body. It is controlled by the amount of insulin in the blood. Its level varies through the day, higher just after a meal, lower when the ferret hasn't eaten. A non-fasted blood glucose test might give values up to 207 mg/dl, depending on when the ferret last ate. Testing the blood glucose after withholding food from the ferret for 4 hours (fasting blood glucose) eliminates the variation and gives you a more definite number. A low reading (hypoglycemia) may be a sign of insulinoma .
 
Repeated high readings above 350 mg/dl (hyperglycemia) is rare and might be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes is rare in ferrets and, insulinoma can also cause a high glucose reading. You should double-check any diabetes diagnosis by looking for sugar in the urine as well.  Diabetes can develop after a partial pancreatectomy.
 
Blood glucose alone is diagnostic for insulinoma, no other parameters need to be taken into consideration.

Note: Fasting a ferret that is suspected of insulinoma is NOT recommended.

2. Pack cell volume/hematocrit (PCV/HCT) 
This is the percentage of red blood cells in the blood. Low readings indicate anemia; high readings are usually a sign of dehydration. 

3. Red blood cells (RBC) 
Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues and carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Low readings show anemia. 

4. White blood cells (WBC) 
White blood cells are part of the immune system. Readings over about 7000 may mean the ferret is fighting off an infection, cold or flu. Readings over 10,000 may be early signs of lymphoma or another cancer. Unusually low readings indicate anemia and a bone marrow problem. 

5. Lymphocytes 
Another type of white blood cell. High readings can indicate a "smoldering" infection, possibly Helicobacter mustelae. Many, but not all, cases of lymphosarcoma also show elevated lymphocyte levels. 

6. Eosinophils 
Another type of white blood cell. Often an indicator of intestinal disorders, infection, or cancer. Other parts of the blood profile must also be considered for a diagnosis. 

7. Protein, Albumin and Globulin 
Albumin is a kind of protein, and globulin is a general term for all proteins that aren't albumin. The numbers indicate the ferret's general health and nutrition. Albumin also helps show how well the liver and kidneys are working. 

8. BUN and Creatinine 
The job of the kidneys is to filter out impurities. If they aren't working well, these levels will be high. 

9. Alkaline phosphatese 
This is an enzyme found in the liver and bone. When bones are growing or the liver is damaged, lots of this is released into the blood. 
 
10. Alanine Aminotransferse (ALT)
Liver specific in ferrets is released when liver cells are damaged. Steroids can increase ALT very quickly. Hepatic lipidosis, lymphocytic hepatitis, other forms of hepatitis and gastritis often produce values up to 800 mg/ls with ALk. Phos. up to 100 mg/dl.  Will see increase in AST as well.

10. Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
Measures amount of urea nitrogen, a waste produce of protein metabolism in the blood.  

11. Sodium, Potassium and Chloride 
Controlled by the kidneys, these are commonly called blood electrolytes. They are involved in water balance, acid/base balance, and the transmission of nerve impulses, especially to the heart. 

12. Calcium and Phosphorus 
These minerals are controlled by the parathyroid glands and the kidneys. The levels show possible problems with bones, blood clotting, and nerve, muscle, and cell activity.
 
13. Phosphorus, Calcium and Potassium
These three parameters can be used to assess renal function.  Suspect true renal failure if:
  • Phosphorous > 10mEq/L  AND
  • Calcium < 8 mg/dl AND
  • Potassium > 6 mEq/L
14. Lipase
Enzyme that breaks down triglycerides into monoglycerides and free fatty acids.  In ferrets elevations of lipase appear more diagnostic for GI (i.e., IBD and/or EGE) problems than for pancreatic problems.
 
15. Globulin
Proteins that are mostly involved in immune defense system. Any protein that is not albumin is classified as a globulin.  Often elevated in chronic inflammatory conditions such as IBD.  Most confirmed cases of IBD have levels > 3-5 mg/dl.  Consider Aleutian Disease (ADV) if elevation goes beyond 6 mg/dl.
 
Globulin increases in dehydration. Decreased levels sign of liver failure.

 

Note: Values may vary slightly with different labs.  Please check with your veterinarian for interpretation of results.