What is Bleeding Under the Skin?
Petechia or ecchymosis could be caused by thrombocytopenia, which is a serious condition that needs to be treated immediately. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection, immunosuppressive illness, or hormone imbalance. If you spot multiple bruises on your ferret’s skin, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible to determine the cause.
Seeing a bruise on your ferret’s skin may not seem like cause for concern, but if you spot multiple bruises, regardless of their sizes, you should take your ferret to a vet as soon as possible.
Bruising indicates there is bleeding underneath the skin. Blood platelets are supposed to help the blood clot to prevent excessive bleeding. But, when your ferret has a low level of platelets in his blood, he may begin to develop bleeding under the skin. This is either referred to as petechia or ecchymosis, depending on the size of the bruise.
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Symptoms of Bleeding Under the Skin in Ferrets
Petechia and ecchymosis are characterized by bleeding under the ferret’s skin. You may notice abnormal bruising on your ferret’s skin, especially on the inner thighs or belly. Petechia is characterized by bruises that are less than 3 mm in diameter, while ecchymosis is characterized by bruising that is larger than 1 cm in diameter.
Causes of Bleeding Under the Skin in Ferrets
Petechia and ecchymosis are usually caused by thrombocytopenia, which is a serious health condition characterized by a low blood platelet count. Platelets are the blood cells that help blood clot, so when your ferret has a low blood platelet count, he may have excessive bleeding under the skin. Ferrets who have consumptive coagulopathy, which is the destruction of blood platelets, may also develop bleeding under the skin.
Female ferrets who have hyperestrogenism, which is an elevated level of estrogen, are at a higher risk of developing bleeding under the skin.
Diagnosis of Bleeding Under the Skin in Ferrets
If you spot signs of bleeding under the skin, take your ferret to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Describe the symptoms you have observed, and show the vet the various spots on your ferret’s body. The vet will do a simple test to determine whether the spots are a rash or a sign of bleeding under the skin. If the spots lose color when light pressure is applied to the skin, it is most likely a rash, but if they don’t lose color, it is usually bleeding under the skin. If your ferret is on any medications, make sure you let your vet know. You should also tell the vet when you first noticed the bruising so he has a better idea of how long the bleeding has been going on.
The vet will begin by performing basic tests, including a complete blood count, blood chemistry profile, and urinalysis. These tests will show if your ferret has a low level of blood platelets. The vet can also perform various coagulation tests to assess the blood clotting function of your ferret’s blood. These tests will help your vet confirm a diagnosis of petechia or ecchymosis.
Treatment of Bleeding Under the Skin in Ferrets
The treatment of bleeding under the skin will depend on the cause. It is likely that thrombocytopenia is the cause of your ferret’s bleeding. If your ferret’s condition is serious, a complete blood transfusion may be needed to increase the level of blood platelets. However, in many cases, thrombocytopenia is caused by a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotic therapy. If the condition is caused by an immunosuppressive condition, the vet will administer corticosteroids and other medications to treat the underlying cause.
However, some female ferrets may suffer from bleeding under the skin because of an increased level of estrogen. If this is the case, your ferret may need hormone therapy that will balance out the levels of hormones.
Recovery of Bleeding Under the Skin in Ferrets
The prognosis for bleeding under the skin depends on the cause and the severity of the condition. Ferrets who have minor cases of thrombocytopenia will usually recover following treatment. However, if a blood transfusion is needed, the outlook is not as positive.
The vet will most likely ask you to return for multiple follow-up visits so he can retest your ferret’s blood and check the level of platelets. If your ferret is currently on NSAIDs or aspirin, you will need to stop administering these medications immediately as they affect platelets’ functioning.
If your ferret needs antibiotics, corticosteroids, or hormone therapy, make sure you closely follow the vet’s instructions when administering the medication. While your ferret recovers, do routine checks of his skin to look for any additional bleeding under the skin. If you notice the condition worsening, take your ferret back to a vet as soon as possible.