Zinc toxicity in the ferret

E. F. Straube, N. H. Schuster, A. J. Sinclair

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Ferrets were fed 500, 1500 and 3000 ppm zinc in their diets for up to 6 months. The groups fed the two highest concentrations of zinc showed severe signs of toxicity between 1 to 2 weeks and the ferrets on the 3000 ppm diet died in less than 2 weeks. The lesions in this group were a diffuse nephrosis, haemorrhages in the intestine and a severe macrocytic hypochromic anaemia. There was a more severe diffuse nephrosis and some glomerular damage in the 1500 ppm group. These ferrets also had a macrocytic hypochromic anaemia. In both the 1500 and 3000 ppm groups there was an increase in zinc and a depression of copper in the liver and kidney tissue. All the zinc-treated ferrets showed decreased serum caeruloplasmin oxidase activity. The results indicated that the anaemia was more the result of the haemorrhages than of the zinc-induced copper deficiency. These findings suggest that ferrets are more susceptible to excess of dietary zinc than other species so far studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-361
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1980
Externally publishedYes

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