Message Number: YG533 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-03-02 10:39:00 UTC
Subject: hypotheses

At 1:17 PM +0000 3/2/01, wrote:
> From: miralia@j...
>Subject: Theories on causes and prevention ?
>I have been curious lately what theories are the most popular for
>explaining adrenal tumors and insulinoma in ferrets. I want to do
>everything I can to prevent all of the "popular" ferret maladies if I
>get anymore ferrets in the future. (Indeed, it's the fear of the
>diseases that keeps me from rushing out to get more ferrets now. I've
>just had too much trauma and heartbreak.)
>The theories for adrenal disease that I know of:
>1) neutering too early
>2) lack of exposure to natural sunlight and/or
> lack of adherence to natural photoperiods (electric light at night?)
>3) Poor genetics
>4) Poor diet (poor quality kibble, no meat)
>So, my questions is: Do we have any "proof" yet of certain things
>that are working or not working to prevent adrenal tumors and/or
>insulinoma from ever forming?? What is the current thinking of
>herbal treatments and/or homeopathy in addition to traditional meds?
>(How well does Timmy's Recipe really work? Shark cartilage? Essiac
>tonic? Greens Plus? ) I've also had ferrets with cardiomyopathy (does
>CoQ10 prevent heart disease??).
>Just wondering what the prevailing medical opinions are these days.
>-Andrea Miralia
>Missing Amos, Benny, Snoop, Bean, Hopi, Joon, Whitman, Frito, and Kadi

Andrea, we have a lot of hypotheses for the most part, and that will
continue to be the case until there is enough financial support and
curiosity to have hard studies.

In relation to shark cartilage: cartilage has turned out in some
human arthritis studies to reduce symptoms (Science News blurb), but
chicken cartilage worked just as well without the environmental
damage related to shark cartilage. The idea that it was useful for
malignancies has been based upon the rumor that sharks don't get any
cancers. Actually, they do get their own types of malignancies
according to shark articles I've seen. I have seen no hard studies
that indicate any benefit of shark cartilage during such treatments,
but it can cause liver toxicity in humans (Gotay).

Also in humans (quoting again from C.C. Gotay at U. of HI Cancer
Research Center in Oahu) megadoses of Vitamin C are very
counter-productive and potentially fatal since they decrease the
benefits of some cancer treatments such as radiation therapy, and
some cancers thrive on such mega-doses.

Certainly, laetrile contains cyanide.

There have been human studies which indicated undesired results if
megadoses of betacartine were given after lung cancer had already
likely begun; further study was still needed last I heard.

In relation to phytoestrogens: have seen a report (perhaps in the
Tufts newsletter?) that while soy may be useful in reducing some
hormonal growths if given in early years it may be counterproductive
in humans who did not have it early and only began suing
phytoestrogens after a problem arose. I do not know if phytoestrogens
in general were studied. I doubt I'd give any phytoestrogen loaded
things like saw palmetto or cherries to a ferret with possible
prostate problems since the adrenal growths themselves are

We actually were happy with including CoQ10 (with some Vitamin C and
some E) along with treatment for a ferret who had hypertropic
cardiomyopathy. She lived to the point where she even had peripheral
edema yet remained quite active -- even climbing some in her sick
cage (for her a quality of life action) till 3 days before her death.
On necropsy they said that they did not how she had survived, let
alone remained so active give the size of her chambers.

Please, note that I am not a vet and am not an RD, though I would
love to see comments on these things from an RD. I am simply someone
who reads widely and uses references which give both downsides and
upsides for herbal treatments such as:
1. _PDR for Herbal Medicines_, Medical Economics Company,
1-800-678-5689, P.O. Box 10689, Des Moines, IA 50336-0689
2. and 3. _Tyler's Honest Herbal_ and _Tyler's Herbs of Choice_,
Haworth Herbal Press, 10 Alice Street, Binghamton, NY 13904-1580
(Varro Tyler has a PhD and ScD, is Distinguished Professor of
Pharmacognosy at Purdue, and past president of multiple phamaceutical
and pharmacognosy societies, etc.)

We tried increased true darkness due to studies on natural melatonin
levels and hormonal malignancies in humans and rodents, and due to
the ancestral animals being crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk)
burrow dwellers. It did not affect the rate of adrenal neoplasias
(though we have not had an adrenal malignancy since doing it),but our
sample here truly is too small for any type of valid conclusion, so
it may help or may not.

Almost all of ferret veterinary knowledge is very recent. Huge
strides have been made very rapidly, but there is a great deal more
to know. If ferret people want to increase the level of knowledge
then certainly they can give to such efforts and the places that fund
advances: veterinary schools, clinics that also do research, some
comparative medicine departments, the Morris Animal Foundation, etc.

We all want to prevent problems and it may be that some of the
hypotheses out there may pan out in the long term. What we need are
studies and very often the only way to get those is to have ferret
people put their money where their mouths are.