Message Number: YG1663 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-24 05:47:00 UTC
Subject: caution on melatonin usage for adrenal disease tx

someone on this posting suggested melatonin as a possible tx for adrenal disease. One of my ferrets, Boo Boo Bear just had surgery with Dr Charlie Weiss March 22. Dr Weiss placed Boo Boo Bear on melatonin one month ago, 1mg QD po, with the cautionary statement that he would need surgery within a 4 month window of starting it, or the melatonin would actually begin to make him worse instead of better after the 4 month window. I think he said the results of the study have not been published yet, he would be presenting them at a conference shortly in Wisconsin.

On a side note, the tennessee panel is not always a reliable indicator of adrenal disease, nor is characteristic hair loss. Boo Boo's adrenal panel was within so called normal range, and his hair loss amounted to a slight thinning of the hair on his hind feet. He was a shelter ferret and I found his foot symptoms the night I took him home, 2 months ago. My only reason for suspecting adrenal disease was that his feet looked just like my ferret Charlie's at the time Charlie died, and he had a bush tail.

My local vet did not believe there was anything wrong with Boo Boo, but did agree to run the tennessee panel, which was actually nonconclusive. estradoil level was 179.5, upper level norm is considered to be 180.

During surgery, Dr Charlie took out the left adrenal gland, 2 pancreatic tumors, and did a liver biopsy for an abnormal looking liver, pending results. I'll repost when results are back. This ferret looked and acted relatively normal, it's amazing the pathology found. Ferret knowledgable people that saw him preop said they never would have suspected adrenal disease.

Trust your instincts when it comes to your ferrets. It may make the difference between life and death for our fuzzy friends. This list is a godsend and a valuable treasure trove of information.

I also have a question.....does anyone know of a truly knowledgable ferret vet in the central NJ area. I've been to a couple here that are supposed to be, and have been highly disappointed. Boo Boo had a nonfasting blood sugar level of 62 on his initial vet exam here locally, and the ferret vet wanted to fast him for 8 hours to do a retake. i refused, because if he was truly insulinoma, an 8 hour fast could have killed him. Luckily I knew this and refused to do so. It scared me that the acceptable range of fasting is about 3-4 hours, and this vet wanted to do double that time fasting. At this point I'm going to drive both ferrets the 10-12 hour round trip to see Dr Weiss when there's problems and for physicals, until I find someone around here for routine care.