This study describes clinical, histologic, immunohistochemical and electron microscopic features of amyloid A amyloidosis occurring in black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) from eight U.S. zoological institutions. Ferrets had nonregenerative anemia, serum chemistries consistent with chronic renal disease, and proteinuria. Amyloid was present in a variety of tissues, but it was most severe in renal glomeruli and associated with tubular protein loss and emaciation. Congo red/potassium permanganate (KMnO4) and immunohistochemical stains revealed that the amyloid was of the AA type. Concurrent diseases and genetic predisposition were considered the most important contributing factors to development of amyloidosis. Analysis of the genetic tree did not reveal convincing evidence of a common ancestor in the affected ferrets, but a genetic predisposition is likely because all the captive black-footed ferrets are related.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1