Message Number: YG1831 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-28 18:04:00 UTC
Subject: Insulinoma/neurological disorders

I'd like to post this from Rascal's "mom" in Tallahassee. Any thoughts
anyone has on what's causing the disorientation would be helpful.
It's rather lengthy, and I've tried to edit down, but didn't want to leave
too much out.
Any help would be so greatly appreciated!!
You can post here, or to me or to "Joy @:: jholmes2k@y..."
Thanks in advance, and good health and hugs to the "fuzzy ones"!

When I took all 5 of them in
for a checkup, (the Vet) found a mass in Rascal's abdomen and
wanted to see what it was. It turned out to be an
enlarged lymph node, which he removed and sent off for
a biopsy. He also said that one of the adrenal glands
looked abnormal, so he removed it too.
The lymph node biopsy showed no cancer. It was just
enlarged for some reason. The adrenal gland showed
some abnormality, but it was removed.
Anyway, he said that the surgery went fine and I took Rascal home.
He was a little groggy that night, but I was able to get him to
eat a little and drink from his water bottle. By morning, he was almost
He was having seizures, which at the time, I did not know that was what was
happening. Just little jumps now and then. I took
him in to my vet at 7:30 AM and stayed until 6:30 PM.
It was a day from hell, if you will pardon my expression.
Rascal's glucose level was 29 and that was after several syringes of
sugar water. The doc had received the results of the blood test from the
day before, post-surgery, and his glucose had been
normal then. He tried a few times during the day to
get an IV started, but was unsuccessful. So the whole
day was spent giving him injections under his skin and
in his veins (when he could find one) and injecting
food down his throat through a tube.
I felt like we were fighting an unseen enemy when every test was
coming back with good results but he was still dying.
Friday, after searching the Internet, I told my vet
that it had to be insulinoma. All of the symptoms were there.
He said that he had considered that the
first day I brought him back in, but since the glucose
came back normal right after surgery, he thought that
couldn't be it. So, on Sat. he drew more blood for an
insulin test and we got the results back yesterday.
Rascal's insulin level was 23.8. Evidently, that is
not very high, but high enough for there to be a
My dr. said that he had not run the insulin
test before the surgery because he was trying to save
me money and that Rascal had not shown any signs of
insulinoma. He said that he would never again do
surgery on a ferret without doing the full battery of
blood tests. So now I am trying to sort all of this
out. Hindsight, as we all know, is always 20/20
The first day, he told me that he
didn't know what could have happened, but yesterday he
told me that what he thinks now is that when he
removed the adrenal gland, the other had atrophied and
was not working. He said that he did not know that
would happen and that even when both glands were
removed that you didn't have to give them replacement
"adrenal gland stuff" (sorry, I forgot exactly what
they do). That is not what I recall reading, though,
and if I hadn't misunderstood about him removing the
entire gland, I would have asked him about that the
first day. So yesterday, he started giving him
cortisone and he seems to think that is helping.
Rascal is still alive, but I just don't know what to
expect in terms of recovery. The doc said that his
brain has been affected, but he should recover with

He told me that Rascal may never be "himself"
again. So now I have a ferret that I still love
dearly, but who shows no affection towards me, or even
any sign that he knows I exist. Basically, that is
all he is doing right now is existing. My vet is
testing his eyesight today. Rascal will just walk
until he runs into something like a wall that will
change his direction. If he happens to run into a
corner, he will stay there trying to go forward until
someone comes along to help him. He will sometimes
stick his head sideways between the wires of his cage
and then fall down. I'm afraid he is going to break
his neck. He was asleep in his litter box (that he
doesn't use) this morning.