Proposed Grading scheme for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Ferret (Mustela putorius furo) and Correlation with Clinical Signs

Paola Cazzini, Megan Watson, Nicole Gottdenker, Joerg Mayer, Drury Reaville, James G. Fox, Nicola Parry, Kaori Sakamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an idiopathic, chronic, inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract of companion animals, including ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). Clinical signs of IBD are nonspecific, and intestinal biopsies are necessary for a definitive diagnosis. A grading scheme has not been established for ferrets. Additionally, the association between histologic severity and clinical signs in ferrets is unknown. We evaluated enteric samples from ferrets diagnosed with IBD, compared histologic grading schemes, and correlated the results with the severity of clinical signs. Enteric sections from 23 ferrets with IBD were analyzed using grading schemes for intestinal inflammation in cats and dogs, and a correlation with clinical signs was evaluated. After dividing the histologic samples into groups based on the severity of clinical signs, main histologic differences were identified. Age and sex were also assessed for correlation with clinical signs. No significant correlation was found between the 2 grading schemes and clinical signs (rho = 0.02, p = 0.89; rho = 0.26, p = 0.18, respectively). Degree of villus fusion, hemorrhage and/or fibrin, epithelial damage, inflammation density, and crypt abscess formation were used retrospectively to create a ferret IBD grading scheme, which was significantly correlated with the severity of clinical signs (rho = 0.48, p = 0.01). A positive correlation was observed between age (p = 0.04) and females (p = 0.007) with severity of clinical signs. Our ferret grading scheme may have clinical utility in providing a more objective, consistent evaluation of IBD in ferrets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2019


  • clinical signs
  • ferrets
  • grading scheme
  • histopathology
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • Mustela putorius furo

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Proposed Grading scheme for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Ferret (Mustela putorius furo) and Correlation with Clinical Signs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this