Message Number: YG4684 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-06-19 00:14:00 UTC
Subject: Adrenal or behavioral?

Hello all,

Seems I'm back into a situation where I need advice. Just
took my ~4 yr. old
male, Rama, in for exploratory for a very likely adrenal
problem. This was
only the vets second attempt at a ferret adrenal, so I knew
that he might not
be successful.....and, it turns out that he wasn't. Neither
gland was readily
seen during the procedure, and there were actually two vets
looking (but, two
inexperienced vets). And, the path report states that the
samples submitted
were "normal adipose tissue". Like I said, I knew it was a
risk, but I also
feel pretty adamant that if my vet is going to be treating
ferrets for
anything, routine or not, he needs to be familiar with the
most common
ailments and treatments and be able to carry them out for his
ferret owning
clients who don't want to go elsewhere despite

I don't particularly like using my ferrets as "guinea pigs",
but then again,
all vets have to learn somehow, don't they? And, as if you
couldn't tell, I
do feel guilty for putting my boy through this for apparently
no good reason,
but at the same time, that is one more experience under the
belt.....even if it was a negative outcome. And, to give him
a little
credit, his first ever ferret adrenal on my Kali was a
complete success, and
that was over 2 years ago with no complications. She was a
case.....swollen vulva, no other symptoms. I was told over
and over to take
the left if nothing looked abnormal. Nothing did, so the vet
took the left
at my request, and it turned out to be a carcinoma.....totally
excised with
clean margins. To date, she has had no other health problems
(knock wood).

Anyway, Rama's surgery was about two weeks ago. And, as of
this past week,
I'm back to seeing the same behaviors that made me think
adrenal in the first
place. Rama drags himself over the dryer hose and other toys,
as well as the
edges of litter if he is marking territory. The
other main
symptom is that he is constantly trying to mate with one of my
other males
ferrets, Tandu. Other than those, the only other indication
is a somewhat
crappy looking coat at times and some semi-thin areas of fur
on the feet and
neck. The coat problems seem to come and go with the seasons
though and it
has been cycling like this on and off for two years. It just
seemed worse
this year to me.

So, now the question........When you all talk about a return
to sexual
behavior in a neutered ferret, is it common for this to be
centered around
one ferret in particular? Rama does not attempt this with any
of the others
that I've ever seen. Also, Rama's brother also tends to pick
on Tandu quite
a bit. That makes me wonder if there is something
potentially wrong with
Tandu instead of it being something physically wrong with the
Tandu's CBC, Chemistry, fasting glucose are all fine though,
and he shows no
sign of illness. He is however the most laid back out of all
of mine, and is
the resident "old man" at somewhere around 7 yrs. of age. He
has never
participated in any power plays or dominance issues and has
always just gone
about with his own business even when the others were

So, based on this information, should I still be thinking
adrenal with Rama?
Or, should I be checking Tandu more closely? Or perhaps just
chalking it up
to behavioral/dominance issues? I am prepared to either do
the Tenn. Panel
or another exploratory with a more experienced vet if needed,
but thought I
would try to get some opinions first from more experienced
ferret folks.

One clarification......Rama's dominance type behavior with
Tandu does appear
to be true mating behavior. Krishna (Rama's brother) also
goes after Tandu,
but appears to only be chewing/sucking on his ears and not
sexual in nature.
There are 8 ferrets in this particular grouping (have two
other male siblings
that can't be integrated with the main group). It is only
Rama and Krishna
that "mess" with Tandu. And, they don't display the same
behaviors towards
any of the other 5 in their group.

Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions!