Message Number: YG4602 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-06-16 11:43:00 UTC
Subject: Insulinoma, Not Eating, and Low Insulin Level?

Don Juan is about 3 1/2 years old (I've have him for 20 months),
weighs 1.3 kg, and (until recently) loves to eat. I had to spoon
feed him the first few days I had him, but he's been a little piglet
since, and I've fed a mix containing, at various times, Iams kitten,
Totally Ferret, Ferret Store Superior choice, Eukanuba kitten, and 8-
in-1 Ultimate. He doesn't get sugary treats (maybe sliver of
strawberry every few months), but I know he got honey-nut cheerios
almost daily before I got him. Daily treats are kibble offered by
hand, with a Cheweasel or foamy fry once every week or two.

Last Wednesday night, June 6, I found Don Juan stretched flat on the
floor. He was completely limp, drooling, and, soon after,
shuddering. After a dose of Karo syrup and some chicken baby food,
he came around, much to my relief. He was awake and alert at the
vet's office the next morning, but "ran out of gas" towards the end
of the exam. After a 5-5 1/2 hour fast, his glucose level was 65.
They also sent a blood sample in for an insulin test and sent us home
with some pediapred.

Don Juan has been doing great since, alert and active with no
more "episodes." But he will not touch his kibble, even when offered
by hand (this is a little boy who has always LOVED his food). He
will walk by the dish and sniff it, but won't eat. I put a piece of
kibble in his mouth and he bit it but didn't eat it. He eats baby
food and Bob's gravy with gusto, as long as I hold the bowl or
spoon. I don't think he ate much if anything the day of his

The results of the insulin test finally came back yesterday, showing
levels a little *below* normal--not quite the result I expected. The
vet has not personally seen this before, but said the lab indicated
that low insulin levels sometimes accompany insulinoma because the
ferret can't properly regulate the insulin level.

My questions are:
1. Is the below normal insulin level consistent with insulinoma?
2. What could have put him off his food so suddenly and so
3. Could the hypoglemic episode have been caused by a day of not
eating and not by insulinoma?
4. Would it be better to do surgery immediately, continue medical
management indefinitely, or continue medical management until I
figure out the answers to 1-3?

The vets' office has a website on insulinoma--I'd be interested in
your comments on that, too.

Thanks for your help.

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