Message Number: YG4289 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-06-03 22:42:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Cataract Questions

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Bruce Williams, DVM" <williams@e...>
> --- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., " Angela" <louweasal@h...> wrote:
> > I just had a question about how cataracs are connected to
> insulinoma,
> > just out of curiosity, and what other signs should I look for? I
> > going to take her to a vet, does anybody know of a decent vet in
> the
> > Savannah Georgia area? Thank you.
> >
> Dear Angela:
> I have not heard about a strong connection between cataracts and
> insulinoma. The development of cataracts with the antithesis of
> insulinoma, i.e., diabetes mellitus, is well known. The mechanism
> behind this is the elevation of glucose in the eye, which slowly
> diffuses into the lens. For this reason, the lens takes on water,
> and the cells of the lens balloon and disrupt, resulting in a
> cataract.
> Not many ferrets actually have cataract removal surgery, as these
> poorly sighted creatures, and the possibility of retinal disease
> make cataract surgery an exercise in futility. A visit with a
> veterinary opthalmologist however, may do well to outline your
> options in this case.
> With kindest regards,
> Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
> Join the Ferret Health List at

actually i'll risk speaking for others by mentioning what i think is
the main reason ferrets don't have their cataracts removed is the
cost of the procedure. in this area (metro detroit) there is a
specialist who does the surgery - both eyes - for $1,300.00. i'm
operating a shelter and therefore don't have the resources to
consider such, but even back in the day when i was just another
ferret owner with a few weezils i had 3 with cataracts at the same
time...that's a hefty tab for surgery that's not medically
necessary. not to say that i wouldn't love provide it to my critters!

i actually had a ferret surrendered recently - 5 years old - who had
the procedure when she was about one. our first visit to doc was for
him to get a look at them there eyeballs for curiosity. he found
quite a bit of scar tissue in the one eye, but the other looked good
4 years later. she could certainly see by her behavior.
unfortunately we were at the vet pretty soon after when she got
incredibly sick...many days of intense nursing...she passed
on...autopsy showed lymphoma not unlike clyde's (who's ick should
have arrived to you safe and sound by now, dr. williams). her dad
was convinced that the procedure included the insertion of a lens -
much like they do for humans - but the literature and records he
provided made no mention of such being inserted after cataract