Message Number: YG4560 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-06-15 05:45:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Balding Ferret!

Hello Jaxy25...

I've been through 4 adrenal surgeries and have become pretty well
versed in
the signs. Fortunately, I live only one hour away from the best
ferret doc
on the planet (according to his colleagues, vet schools, and
articles) so I've been able to ask tons of questions and learn a

Anyway, 2 of mine also had "bad fur". It always felt coarse. I've
when a ferret becomes adrenal the soft undercoat is the first to go
only the coarse guard hairs. Then, the pattern of hair loss starts
at the
backside and works its way up their backs. The tail and feet also
look very
thin. The vet was able to tell they were adrenal right away,
however, I
insisted on waiting because of the stress of surgery. He said their
might even grow back, only to fall out again. He was right... both
their fur, grew it back, and lost it again. Its a progressive,
nasty disease
and not only affects their fur, but their muscles as well.
Eventually, they
lose muscle mass. If you look at pictures of ferrets with advanced
disease you can see how sunken they look. It seems to take quite
some time
to advance... it doesn't happen overnight. Mine actually took over
a year
just to see the beginning signs.

The good news is that adrenal ferrets bounce back and respond really
well to
surgery. The problem is there aren't many vets who can do this
correctly. All the cells must be removed, otherwise, the symptoms
can recur.
Mine had laser surgery and cryo to freeze the tissue. After 4
surgeries and
both glands removed I'm hoping this should take care of things.
They will
both have to be on hormone therapy the rest of their lives. Using
the laser
really helps them heal much faster. In fact, both were ready to
play and
acted as though they'd never even been operated on the day after

There are alternatives to surgery. There are drugs that control the
but don't actually kill the tumor cells. Surgery is the only way to
the tumors, by removing the glands. The only way to know whether or
not your
little guy is adrenal is to have an experienced ferret vet take a
look at

As to his eating habits... again, this is something a vet must
determine. Is
he losing weight? Is he lethargic? Does he sometimes stop and just
I believe the latter is a sign of insulinoma. Don't let him
this can kill him. But if he eats and poops the same as he always
has there
probably isn't anything to worry about. I really hate to say
anything though
because like I said before, an experienced vet will be your best

About his tail.... I read something once about blackheads and that
really weren't a concern. I think it said to wash the tail well and
try to
keep it clean. My albino seems to have the same thing on her tail
and it
hasn't ever been a problem. Again, since I'm not a vet, I'd always
asking one.

I know this post is long... I just thought I'd share the things I've
This vet is amazing and has really done wonders for my little ones.
I'm new
to the list and from what I recall, we aren't supposed to mention
names, etc. If you'd like to email me personally, I'd be happy to
give you
his name and number. He consults w/other vets all the time and is
willing to
offer assistance.

Best wishes and good thoughts...