Message Number: YG1328 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Michael F. Janke
Date: 2001-03-16 08:01:00 UTC
Subject: RE: Adrenal/Insulionma Link?

A blood glucose of 16mg/dl is REALLY low and it doesn't seem possible that a
ferret could have that reading and be asymptomatic. At 16, I would expect
to find the ferret comatose or at the very least exhibiting some symptoms.
On the other hand, in the cases I've dealt with, a very gradual decline in
blood glucose over a long period of time will cause less severe symptoms
than if the blood glucose were to suddenly drop to low levels. 2.25mg BID
of Diazoxide is a fairly low dose unless she's a really tiny ferret. I
believe the recommended starting dosage, as per "Ferrets, Rabbits and
Rodents..." is 5-10mg per kg q12h. But if what you're giving works for her,
that's great!

I don't see how adrenal disease can cause Insulinoma or vice versa.
Surgically treating one will not eliminate the other. Insulinomas are beta
cell tumors of the pancreas. Adrenal disease is caused by tumors or
hyperplasia of the adrenal glands. The cause of each disease is different,
though I can't say that we really know why insulinomas are so common in
ferrets. Many feel it could be diet related. A variety of things have been
blamed for adrenal disease but again, the cause is not known with any degree
of certainty.

If your vet is going to go in for the adrenal glands, the pancreas needs to
be examined for tumors at the same time. I don't know of any vet that
doesn't examine all organs while they're in there, so this is probably a
given. As for removing the pancreatic tumors... some feel that doing a
partial pancreatectomy has better long term results than just removing
visible tumors. Her glucose should be monitored pretty closely after a
partial pancreatectomy because they can often become diabetic after this
procedure, though it's usually a temporary condition.

I would definitely get your little girl used to eating Gerber's 2nd stage
chicken baby food before surgery. She probably won't feel too much like
eating right after surgery and it's easier to feed her this when she's
already accustomed to it than trying to force an unfamiliar food on her when
she doesn't feel like eating to begin with.

I have an adrenal/insulinoma website if you'd like to read more on these two topics. The URL is


> I have a 2 year old ferret (rescue) and she was diagnosed with
> insulionma in December 2000. Her glucose was 16. However, she was just
> lethargic. No seizures, pawing at the mouth, nothing. She went on Pred
> for awhile, but I wanted her to be on Diazoxide so we weaned of that and
> are now on 2.25 mg bid diazoxide daily. She has an appointment with a
> surgeon March 26th. My local vet and I have just found out she probably
> has adrenal. My local vet stated that the adrenal could actually be
> causing the insulionma.