Message Number: YG1878 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sue M.
Date: 2001-03-30 05:00:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] RE: Dr. Williams - Experience
begets Understanding?

The thing that you would want to take into consideration when
doing this study is genetics...since one of the theories is that
genetics does play a role. If that is true, then you can skew the
study easily, since *most* of the early fix/descent would come
from places like Marshall Farms and *most* of the rest would come
from private breeders. Which, if they breed for health and keep
track, may already have a lower incidence (*if* genetics play a

To really have good data you'd need to take some ferrets from a
litter and "fix" them early, others from the same litter and "fix" them
later and leave some whole. And compare rates. And do that a
LOT (of course, you won't get answers from a single or just a few
litters), and with different lines (which could help point to genetic
prevalance if there's an overall prevelance or absence in some

Or...and this isn't something I necessarily approve of, and of course
is impractical, aside from ethics...clone, and "fix" the clones at
different times. That would eliminate the genetic variable that you
have even in litters.

My concern is something that I'm hearing especially from the
shelter I'm most familiar with....

They've had a growing number of incidents of YOUNG, less than a
year and a half, ferrets having MASSIVE adrenal tumors, and
crashing very very quickly, and dying in some cases when not
caught soon enough. This is in contrast with the old ferrets who
have been there or who come in who have been ill for long periods
of time with *supposedly* the same thing. Why are we starting to
see it so young, and so *agressive* in young ferrets?

The older ferrets may have been "fixed" a bit later in life, is there
perhaps a developmental point where it creates a much worse
problem that's being crossed now because stores like Petco are
demanding them so young? Or is there something else going on?

On 29 Mar 2001, at 14:58, Sukie Crandall wrote:

> >3.) Any way you know of comparing the incidence of 'cancer' in such
> >ferrets as defined above to those ferrets that are fixed & descented
> >just prior to puberty - say 5 months of age or older? Or never fixed
> >nor descented?
> I'd personally love to see an adrenal rate comparison study for early
> neuter, half year neuter, and whole. Certainly, there have been those
> who have written of whole ferrets with adrenal growths, but the
> incidence rate may be lower. Only a decent study would tell.

Sue M.