Date: 2001-07-18 18:04:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list]RE: My Buddy Glacier
No, old age is not a disease. However as ferrets get
older they are prone to 3 big problems. At roughly 3-4 years
of age, we start to see adrenal gland disease problems.
The thin hair on the tail and rump are suggestive of adrenal gland
problems in Glacier. As they reach 4-5 years of age, we start seeing
insulinoma problems. The weight lose, and weakness in the rear legs
are suggestive of an insulinoma causing low blood sugar levels
glycemia). As they reach 5 and above, we start seeing lymphoma
problems. Again the weight lose and weakness in the rear legs could
be from lymphoma. Thus it is time to do some testing to find out
is actually causing Glacier's problems. The easiest way to check for
an insulinoma is to do a fasting blood glucose test (i.e., remove
food for 4
hours then take a small blood sample to check his blood glucose
Simple and inexpensive test! To test for lymphoma, I would due a CBC
with a panel. This is a screening test that can sometimes find
lymphocytes or abnormal lymphocyte numbers in the blood sample.
Sometimes x-rays, ultrasound, lymph node biopsy, organ aspirate,
and/or organ biopsy will be needed to diagnose lymphoma.
Yes, it can get expensive to confirm lymphoma. Anyway, a fasting
glucose is a good place to start, followed by a CBC and panel.
Then additional testing as needed. I would also start treating
his adrenal gland problem with Lupron (or melatonin). Many times
adrenal gland disease will make a ferret lethargic and cause some
muscle loss. Plus in males, adrenal gland problems can cause an
enlarged prostate problem that can prevent him from urinating. This
is painful and can be fatal. Better to prevent than to treat a
Hope that helps,
Jerry Murray, DVM
PS yes, the age ranges are just general guidelines. Ferrets
of any age can get lymphoma and young ferrets can have
adrenal gland and insulinoma problems too.