From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-03 20:27:00 UTC
Subject: Re: adrenal problem?
--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Steve Austin <kazpat1@j...> wrote:
> I don't know if it reading this list too much, or just bad luck,
> think my boy is having early signs of adrenal disease.
> I am posting here because I am hoping for reassurance that this may
> something else.
> If it looks like a possible adrenal I will bring him with me on my
> to Maryland this month, and he will see Dr. Weiss.
> He seems healthy, about 2 year old MF ferret, got him at a pet
> his buddy in March 2000. They brought in ECE, but seem healthy,
> in an aquarium with cedar shavings for a few months before I bought
> them. He is eating, playing, and seems o.k., maybe a little bit of
> piddling around the room, but another male does this too. Just
> little puddles of urine around.
> Sometimes his prepuce looks a little red, but only for a little bit.
> He is shedding and I noted very sparse hair, even balding right at
> base of the tail and a bit around the rump.
> The other odd thing is that his skin has an orange flaky look to it
> little short broken (?) hairs in that area, only all along the
> the tail to the neck. None of the other 9 ferrets have this, I
> get a pic of it.
> I did wet the fur to brush it to show the fur loss, it isn't too
> yet, just appears to be no undercoat hairs. He is shedding, and
> coughing, choking (once), but no hairball seen,and pooping normal.
Just a note - these are wonderful images - clear, sharp, and in
focus. I am hopeful that you will submit additional pictures in the
future, and that other on the list will learn from your expertise.
Regarding the possibility of adrenal disease, it is difficult to tell
when the fur is wet down - hair tends to stick together and looks
worse than it is. However, if you are thinking that there is
definite loss, then it is omething that should be brought to the
attention of your vet.
Regarding the orange discoloration which is so evident in your
photograph, this is a non-specific finding known as hyperkeratosis.
Hyperkeratosis is simply when the skin for one of any number of
reasons does not desquamate as single cells, but as large sheets, and
in areas doesn't shed at all. The collection of keratin and sebum
(oil from the skin)yields a orange, flakiness to the skin.
The cause of hyperkeratosis, though, is linked to many conditions and
is not considered specific for any particular disease. You can see
it is assocaition with adrenal disease, but also with heart disease,
bad breath, bad karma, etc. Symptomatic treatment with gentle
cleansing shampoos may often improve the situation, but it is often
difficult to totally eradicate it.
> For my future reference is it o.k. to post the pics in my e-mail as
> attachments, or do you prefer I put them on the web site. I am
> the internet most of the time, I just get the FHL as individual e-
> and post to them as I see fit.
The majority of the members on the list also receive the list as
either individual posts or in digested form. If possible, I know hat
they would greatly appreciate if everyone posted directly to the
files section on the page. This eliminates the need to download
files that they may not be interested in, a feat that would be of
great benefit to those with slower Internet access.
With kindest regards,
Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
Join the Ferret Health List at