Message Number: YG5049 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Karen Purcell, DVM
Date: 2001-07-01 19:08:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Vets please- Methylprednisolone tx

Hi Lynn,

> Hi. I posted a question recently and received only two replies (thank
> you!), though none from vets. I suspect it's because no one has used
> methylprednisolone to treat insulinoma.

Nope. I don't like using long acting pred, I like to be able to
tweak the dose if need be.

Our vet has suggested it
> because she has read of evidence that it causes less secondary effects in
> humans than other forms of pred. She was planning on consulting a
> pharmacist about it, and I said I'd post to this list. There is a bit of
> urgency in that I feel I must decide soon about surgery for one of our
> ferrets, our sweet Minnie, who is quickly gaining weight on pediapred,
> which is not good with her congenital heart condition.
What about Proglycem? It's already proven to work in ferrets, and
it doesn't have the same side effects.

> BACKGROUND: I've personally observed that using pediapred to
> treat insulinoma leads to obesity and resultant lack of mobility in ferrets.

No question from me, though I find having a younger ferret in the
household keeps the activity level up and the rate of weight gain
down. Not every one can get there pred-belly ferret a pal, however

> In terms of medical treatment for insulinoma, I'm looking for other
> options. I have a seven-year-old locally-bred spayed ferret, an albino,
> with insulinoma diagnosed 5/1/02. She also has a congenital heart
> murmur rated three on a scale of six; regarding the heart she is symptom
> free as of yet, though she is breathing a bit heavier due to, I hope, recent
> weight gain; I've observed no coughing. She has been on a small dose
> of prediapred for insulinoma for three months (.2 ml 2x/day of 6.75
> mg/5ml). We feed her our version of chicken soup, and try not to
> overfeed, and she has quit eating kibble as so often happens. Since
> onset of treatment 5/1/02 Minnie has gone from 1lb 4oz (she was a
> runt) to 1lb 10oz! Minnie has always been extremenly active, and I've
> worked to ensure she gets plenty of exercise to keep her heart in good
> shape. She is less active now, though still playful (much less so) and still
> galloping a bit. Surgery isn't the most attractive option due to her heart
> condition. However, we are considering it and may get an ultrasound
> soon to access the heart.
> 1) Regarding medical treatment, our vet suggested we switch Minnie to
> Methylprednisolone because our vet has read of evidence that this drug
> causes less side affects in humans than regular pred. Has anyone here
> used it to treat insulinoma and, if so, what were the results? If not, can
> anyone identify reasons for or against trying it?
See above.

> 2) Regarding surgery consideration, given a ferret-experienced
> radiologist with a ferret-experienced vet attending, how accurate, in
> general, is ultrasound is in predicting the safety of proceeding with
> surgery in regards to a heart condition?
I don't do surgery on heart cases - call me paranoid, but I'd
rather have a live fat ferret than a dead one on the table.

> 3) Why does pred. cause weight gain and how might one alleviate the
> problem? If pred. causes the body to metabolize more fat, as I
> understand it does, should the ferret's diet be cut back, or would this
> lead to insufficient nutrition due to the increased conversion of fat
> (obviously I'm no nutritionist!).
It also makes them hungry, so they tend to eat more. I usually
counter this by decreasing the caloric level of the food (change to
senior diets, use lean chicken baby food, etc).
Hope this helps,
-Dr. Karen

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