Message Number: YG2794 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-20 19:06:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Ferret 1 year old with low glucose level

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., allaboutferrets@y... wrote:
> I have a question:
> Is it possible for a ferret (male) of only 1 year old to have
> insulinoma?
> The blood test showed he has a glucose level of 4 mmol/l (73 mg/dl)
> also he has diarhoe and seems to be fainting.
> I haven't seen the ferret, my vet called me to inform about it. To
> his opinion the ferret isn't in a very good shape (nor is his fur,
> also he is very smal, his brother doesn't look healthy either).
> It might be this low glucose level is due to the fact he isn't
> getting the right food (or perhaps nearly no food at all).
> What I like to know is:
> Are there young ferret (age under 2) who do have insulinoma?
> Which other illnesses can cause also a low glucose level (heart
> disease or?).
> Can anyone, perhaps dr Bruce Williams or an other vet give me an
> advice?

Dear Carmen:

Yes, a ferret this yound COULD have insulinoma, although it is not
common at all. However, the other symptoms that you are seeing are
not really consistent with insulinoma. Most insulinomas are seen in
middle-aged ferrets who are in good condition. Diarrhea is not
really a sign of insulinoma, and you don't mention trances,
salivating, difficulty walking, or the other signs of insulinoma
which are fairly characteristic.

With glucose levels of 73 and no characteristic clinical signs, I
generally recommend waiting 10-14 days and retesting,and if it is
still less than 80, then an insulin test may be helpful. If the
clinical signs associated with insulinoma were seen at 73, then I
would probably recommend surgery, but not really with these symptoms.

There arent a lot of diseases that can cause low glucose - bacterial
infections can do it. However, lab error is probably the most common
cause of low glucose - blood needs to be handled very carefully (if
you search the archives of the FHL, you will see numerous comments
about lab error potentially causing low glocse levels.)

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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