Message Number: YG1926 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-03-31 17:33:00 UTC
Subject: Adrenal Disease and Heart Murmur

Hello FHLers,

I have a five year old Gib, named Teddy. He's had a crappy, coarse
coat for the past two shed cycles. It's very dry and bristly. He
scratches a lot and I have also noticed dandruff. I only bathe them
about 2-3 times a year, so it's not from overbathing. The only hair
thinning that I've noticed is on the underside of his tail. I suspect
Adrenal but my vet feels since there is no actual hair loss, his
nipples are normal and he is not exhibiting any aggression towards
the other ferrets that there is not enough to diagnose on. She
recommends we run the Tennessee Panel to be sure. I've heard that
other people on this list just go right to exploratory surgery. Am I
correct that estrogen seems to be the cause of the hair loss and
swollen vulvas, etc. Is it possible that this could be one of those
rare cortisol-releasing adrenals? I would like to hear from anyone
with one of those rare ferrets as to what their symptoms were.

He is fed TF, Eukanuba Kitten and NutroMax other ferrets
have beautiful coats and I know he is capable because I remember he
had a gorgeous one two winters ago. I also remember he seemed to be
rather mean to the other ferrets about 1.5 to 2 years ago. It didn't
last long, so I didn't think any more about it until now. Can
aggressive behaviors caused by adrenal disease subside?

Also, he has been kind of mopey and lethargic for the past few
months. He'll just curl up in a ferret bed when I let everybody out
to play. He won't play wrestle with my hand anymore, either. He just
seems disinterested in everything. The only time he perks up is if I
let him outside the ferret room to explore the house. He'll trot
around and move toys to a hidey hole, and on occasion I might see a
weasel dance. This makes me nervous because I had a ferret with
lympho do the same thing. We all know that our sick ferrets will
perk up and look better at the vet's office. I don't know whether
he's bored or ill, whether it's adrenal making him lethargic or the
heart murmur. His weight is good but he's starting to lose some
muscle mass.

I took him to the vet last week and she did hear a heart murmur. She
said that that could be limiting his energy levels. She recommended
a chest x-ray to see if the heart is enlarged. We also ran a blood
panel and the only thing slightly elevated was his BUN. His urine has
always been a dark amber color, when he has been kind enough to
provide a specimen on the carpet runner for me! Interestingly, his
teeth were orange as a youngster, and still are, but with darker gray
now also. His coloring is just weird. The soft tissues of his mouth
have always been on the blue-gray side. He is and has never been
anemic. I commented to the vet that I'll never be able to use his
gums as an indicator for health. She wondered if there might be some
systemic correlation between the weird coloration and his dark urine.
Urinalysis has not shown any blood in the urine. Someone suggested
years ago that he might have been exposed to distemper in utero. I
also know Tetracycline can cause discoloration of the teeth but I've
never seen it in the soft tissues. I'm a dental hygienist so I speak
from human experience.
I plan to take him back for the x-ray and probably even the Adrenal
Panel, so I know for sure. The only reason I didn't do it last week
was because we were minutes from putting Gidget to sleep, and that
was all I could think about at the time.

Thanks everybody!