Message Number: YG2317 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Betty
Date: 2001-04-06 18:46:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Light Exposure

I have to say that I am a great believer in the amount of exposure to
light and the adrenal relationship controversy based on the groups of
ferrets I had. Of our initial 12 ferrets, only one came down with
adrenal disease and died at around 9 1/2 years of age. Nor my vet at the
time or I knew much about adrenal surgeries back then. Since then, we
have adopted many ferrets, with a few already coming to me with the
surgery performed either laterally, or bilaterally, or they are already
advanced in age that the possibility is higher, so I can't include these
ones at all because they haven't been with me for any real length of

Of the initial group of 14, most were adopted at around a year of age,
although even that is suspect as the adoptions were done at a time when
shelters were not able to accurately tell the age of the ferrets.

Of the present day group of 19, 2 adoptees have had bilateral
adrenalectomies and were over 7 years of age with one having surgery
prior to adoption and one after (surgery within the first 6 months), 1
adoptee had left adrenalectomy and is around 5 years of age (surgery
prior to adoption), 6 adoptees were under a year of age when I got them,
1 adoptee was around a year of age when I got him 6 years ago, 7
adoptees were between 2 and 4 when I got them, 1 adoptee had a bald tail
and was around 8 when I got her, and 1 adoptee over the age of 5 when I
got him. I am taking note of any medical conditions of the young ferrets
as they are the closest to having them as early as I will ever get. For
the rest, I don't know what kind of light they have been exposed to or
over what period of time in their pasts.

My home is lit with various different types of lighting but all are
incandescent. The basement is off limits to all the ferrets, but even if
they got down there, it is pretty dark. The kitchen light is used only
when meals are cooked in the winter months, when periods of darkness are
extended. The rest of the house is usually in darkness unless we are
entertaining or have friends over which is not that often.

My hubby and I usually inhabit only one room at night and use only 1
side lamp to read by or watch TV with. The overhead light is used only
when we have to clean at night and is left on for less than 1/2 hour.
The base ferret room also is kept in darkness unless we clean at night.
The bathroom has new halogen lighting and is very soft as well. We keep
a candle lit in the hallway to save on electricity (prices are soaring)
and to save us from tripping down the stairs. So literally, we almost
live in the dark. We just don't turn on any lights that we don't have
to. The ferrets have one east exposure window all year round, with west
lighting available when they travel out of the room. Being up in Canada
puts me around 6 hours of light in winter, and around 6 of darkness by
mid summer.

I have always noticed that the favourite spots the ferrets always bed in
are dark. They use our dresser drawers but never sleep in an open one.
They like boxes that have only one opening and lots of blankets, and
they prefer out of the way places that are away from bright lights.

I can only go by what has happened in the past, but of those ferrets
that I have now that were young when I got them, and older now, they are
still very healthy with no conditions other than having cold like
symptoms with the exception of one who has recurrent stomach/bowel

Light exposure may play a large factor in predisposition to adrenal
disease, but there is still a lot to be said about good nutrition,
having lots of run time, and living with seasonal temperatures (not
keeping it constant at one temp all year round.)

That's my two cents worth...

Betty and Her Blur O' Fur