Saddle Thrombus – Mickey’s Story

Mickey’s Story – A Rare Saddle Thrombus Recovery

A saddle thrombus is a blood clot that blocks flow at a major branch point of large vessels, typically seen in in the lungs or legs. In the legs, sometimes called a pelvic saddle thrombus, a clot blocks the blood flow to the entire hind-end including the hips, both hind legs, and tail. Symptoms include paralysis of the hind legs, and severe pain. Most often, the animal must be euthanized. However, there are a few rare cases in which immediate intervention with anticoagulant medications has been successful. Dr. Holly Carter at Evergreen Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital in Kirkland, WA successfully treated one of HFF Moderators’ ferrets Mickey when he experienced a pelvic saddle thrombus. The hard work that HFF admin Heather’s vet did finding the correct medication regimen for her ferret Captain Jack, saved Dr. Carter a huge amount of time in finding the right levels for Mickey. Thanks to some very quick quick action by Cherie and Dr. Carter, the assistance of Heather and her vet’s experiences, and the help of Denise at the local shelter, what could have ended in devastation instead ended in a miraculous and heartwarming recovery.

This is Mickey’s Miraculous story….

 Author: Cherie Holmgren
Photo Credit: Cherie Holmgren

Mickey was born late December 2009. I adopted him on 7/4/2011.

May 2013: Dr. Holly noticed that his heart dropped beats when the heart rate slowed down. His lungs were clear.
8/2/14: Diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
9/21/15: I found Mickey laying in his room unable to walk or move his hind legs. I took him immediately to Denise at the local shelter. She called the vet who instructed her to give him an injection of Acepromezine (tranquilizer and central nervous system depressant)…that made him go completely limp and sleep. Each day until the weekend he got the same injection and during the very short times he woke I syringe fed him some soupies, water and gave him other meds. He was sedated for three or four days and then we started reducing the amount of tranquilizer to see how he would do. He was trying to move about and attempting to wake in the night and use his potty box. There was still a chance of stroke or heart attack so keeping him sedated with a blood thinner was key for several days.
The following videos show Mickey’s progress during his recovery.

Mickey filmed on 9/27/15:

Mickey filmed on 9/30/15

Mickey filmed on 10/5/15

Mickey filmed on 10/11/15

By 10/14 he had almost no limp left.


He passed over the bridge on 4/25/16 from fluid around his heart and lungs.

Mickey owes a great deal of thanks to Captain Jack. Hopefully they are playing together at the bridge and having a wonderful time…. DIP beautiful boys. <3

Photo Credit: Cherie Holmgren
Captain Jack – “His most favorite toy that he was ONLY allowed to have when he was being snuggled.”
Photo Credit: Heather Downie
Please Note that we do NOT promote the use of rubber toys in ferrets due to the high risk of Blockages – Captain Jack was ONLY permitted to play with this toy while being snuggled (with constant hands and eyes on supervision).


<3 <3 <3 <3 

In Loving Memory of Mickey and Captain Jack. <3