Acute gastric dilation resulting in death was identified in two adult black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) housed at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. Both individuals were adult males (3 and 5 yr) and previously clinically healthy prior to the event. The etiology of gastric dilation in both cases could not be definitively determined, and necropsy revealed severe cardiovascular compromise secondary to bloat. Limited literature is available regarding a syndrome of this type in adult black-footed ferrets. Differential diagnoses considered included gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), severe gastric distention of unknown origin, and gastric outflow obstruction. Given the severity of this syndrome and the findings in these two cases, acute gastric dilation should be considered in black-footed ferrets presenting with acute abdominal distention, respiratory distress, and cardiovascular compromise.
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