Message Number: YG1952 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-01 00:29:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Cushings Disease in Ferrets?

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Diane K" <boopdi@y...> wrote:
> I have a 5-1/2 yr. old female sable ferret (her name is Skittles.)
> Bloodwork results have indicated that she may be suspect of having
> Cushings Disease. I would appreciate any information regarding
> disease in ferrets and its relation to possible adrenal disease. I
> believe they are both associated with the function of the hormone
> glands. Skittles was diagnosed with adrenal disease about 2+ yrs.
> ago and surgery was performed at that time. She had one side
> removed, but I do not know which side, as she was a shelter ferret
> the time.
> Skittles also has insolinoma which is being treated medically with
> prednisolone(PediaPred Syrup 15mg/5ml). Her dosage is 0.4ml twice
> daily.
> Thank you in advance for any information and/or treatment options
> regarding this subject.

Dear Diane:

I agree strongly with Dr. Karen's request for more information, but I
would like to go a little far on this one. Ferrets rarely if ever
develop Cushing's disease. Cushing's disease is oversecrtetion of
cortisol, a hormone manufactured in the adrenal gland. Less than 25%
of ferrets with adrenal disease secrete elevated levels of cortisol,
and only extremely rarely is it elevated to a point where it might
cause clinical disease. I would have to look long and hard at the
bloodwork and question your vet, because I generally interpret a
discussion on Cushing's disease in ferrets to be a sign of either a
loakc of ferret knowledge, or a significant miscommunication of the
facts. Additionally, traditional bloodwork outside of the Tennessee
adrenal panel is highly NON-predictive of adrenal disease in ferrets.

While long-term prednisolone treatment may mimic true Cushing's
disease (prednisolone is a cortisol analogue), her dosage is not
terribly high, and I think the likelihood of iatrogenic (doctor-
induced) Cushings disease is very low.

But more info on this case would be appreciated.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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