Message Number: YG3205 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-05-03 14:35:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Possible Adrenal?

The signs (tail hair loss and comedones) are common in ferrets with
either benign seasonal alopecia (which is adrenal-controlled) or with
true adrenal disease. If he has suddenly become more aggressive or has
more odor, these signs argue in favor of true adrenal disease, maybe
with testosterone increase. As far as tests go, both ultrasound and
hormone assays have merit. In practicality the more experienced I've
become the less I have needed to rely on these tests. I can palpate
most enlarged adrenal. If one is enlarged, I don't really care what
the hormone assays say, as some adrenal tumors are non-productive (no
hormone output). I always remove a big adrenal. Another simple test
that's usually overlooked is urinalysis-if he has a lot of squamous
cells in the urine (via expressed sample) then suspect estrogen
elevation, (adrenal disease). Estrogens cause changes in the prostate
which can be seen in the urine. A good history palpation and
urinalysis allow me to confirm about 90% of adrenal cases without
expensive diagnostics. Really good palpation skills are difficult to
acquire, however.

Also realize that a general blood profile should be run prior to any
adrenal surgery, both to determine anesthetic safety and also because
over half of my adrenal cases have other significant disease such as
insulinomas or inflammatory bowl disease. Key tests to run include
glucose (fasting for 4 hours prior), ALT, GGT, Lipase, Globulin, BUN,
Albumin and CBC. These can detect a lot of previously unsuspected
disease if one knows how to interpret them.

Good Luck,
Mark Burgess DVM

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Georgia Bambaci <flipped4ferrets@y...>
> I have a 4 year old ferret that I am concerned about.
> He has some hair loss but only on the tail. It is a
> stringy tail, not bald anywhere, but I also see
> blackheads. I believe they are causing the hair loss.
> This ferret has his own cage and has free play alone
> because he doesn't like the other ferrets. He will
> try to attack them if they are loose together. I have
> heard that one of the signs of adrenal is aggressive
> behavior. For the past couple of days, I have noticed
> his private is alittle red. I would like to take him
> to the vet to get tested. What test should they be
> doing? One vet recommends an ultrasound at $200 and
> the other one I spoke to says to do an adrenal palette
> at $150. Both of these tests are expensive. Is there
> any others that are somewhat cheaper? Which of these
> would be the most effective at diagnosing a problem?
> __________________________________________________
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