From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-02-20 01:32:00 UTC
Subject: younger ages
First off, I am not a vet; I am just someone with a biology
background who has had ferrets in the family for something
approaching two decades by about a year or 2 (not quite sure how long
In relation to younger and younger ages for adrenal and pancreatic
growths (insulinomae) I doubt that you are doing any known thing
While whole ferrets appear to have lower rates of disease even that
isn't proven by any study which compares rate to proportions of whole
ones which exist and get care. There could well be no difference
between a late juvenile neuter and an early juvenile neuter in rates.
Some mathematicians and physicist-mathematicians, and an editor of a
medical publication, and I (though I am not on that level) all found
the numbers lacking for such a conclusion within the Dutch article
though it may indicate something for further study.
We tried providing more darkness due to studies on that factor in
non-ferrets in relation to hormonal neoplasias and malignancies. It
did not seem to matter. Of course, our sample here is too small to
say anything conclusive.
There is a silent viral trigger hypothesis that has some vets feeling
positive about it. If this is studied at some point and pans out
then it can make sense that as there are more and more ferrets and
more exposures (at shops, distributors, play meets, shows, perhaps
even from people's clothing) that the rate and expression of
infection could change.
In addition, there has been a LARGE increase in those breeders who
have bred for "looks first" within the past ten years (rather than
personality, health, or longevity) and that could increase the
proportions of some genes in the general population which may not be
conducive to optimal health, esp. when such alleles show up in
multiples or have cumulative actions from multiple loci.
(Loci are locations on a chromosome (singular = locus), alleles are
genetic alternatives which may be found in any given locus.)
Mike Janke warned me before Ashling had double adrenal neoplasias at
age 3 and 1/2 that he was seeing lower and lower ages, too. He said
it because at that point we had not had a young one with any. Now we
have also had another whose best-guess age estimate by vet is 4 years
old also have one.
There are many hypotheses about what can possibly lead to growths,
and hypotheses abound; real answers do not. For those we all have to