Message Number: YG5743 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-07-24 23:42:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Subject: Adrenal Disease?? Please respond (4th- Post)

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., cjbandit@a... wrote:
> health history,
> Bilateral adrenalectomy-left adrenal surgically removed and right
froze with
> cryosurgery. (approximately a year 1/2 ago.)
> Most recent BG was 78 or 80 -urinalysis negative, although Bandit
seems to
> strain during urination & deification. Sometimes Bandit appears to
try to go
> the bathroom a few times but nothing comes out at first.
> TP was done to see if Bandit has adrenal disease because of
hairloss on tail
> and rear feet and lethargy.(update) TP Panel results came back and
this is
> what they read:
> Estradiol, NMOL/L 140 normal range (30-180)
> 17 OH Progesterone, NMOL/L 0.18 normal range (0-0.8)
> Androstenedione, NMOL/L 16.4 nomal range (0-15)
> As you can see the Androstenedione is slightly elevated and my vet
> it could be from ectopic adrenal tissue or testicular tissue. He
> running the TP again in six months to see if this is a real case of
> disease. What do you think of these results??

Being as that Bandit already has had two surgeries for adrenal
disease, and has never shown signs of cryptorchidism - which usually
show up significantly earlier in life (basically also show up as a
male ferret in rut - greasy haircoat, smell, aggressive tendencies)-
there is really no reason for that testosterone to be elevated EXCEPT
for recurrent adrenal disease. While it would be nice if it was sky-
high, it is still a positive test, and as such should suggest adrenal
disease first and foremost.

As all of the possibilities involve exploratory (whether it is
recurrent adrenal disease, ectopic tissue - which only RARELY causes
signs of adrenal disease -, or a retained testicle - you're going to
have to go in anyway. I am not sure what waiting for 6 months will
show - it is highly unlikely that the blood vallues will eturn to
normal levels and the hair will grow in.

In male ferrets, this pattern of hair loss and a pendulous abdomen is
not uncommon with adrenal disease. I have one of these who is going
under the knife on Friday with much the same appearance (and a lousy
rough haircoat.)

> I am afraid I am going for broke here and would like to know the
> inexpensive route to take with the most accurate results if there
is such a
> thing?

At this point, I would recommend an exploratory as the most cost-
effective (if the surgeon is a good one.) An ultrasound may pinpoint
something and you will feel better going in, but if nothing shows up,
you still have to go in. And if something does show up on the
ultrasound, you would have found it at surgery anyway. I've never
been a big fan of ultrasound for adrenal disease.

> I'm really concerned over Bandit's behavior-when he is awake he
> (like he's digging) on the bottom of his cage, and when out of the
cage he
> runs to his spot where he lies on newspapers and repeats the same
> This seems to happen before and after he eats.... I'm wondering if
he has an
> ulcer??? His appetite is fair sometimes I catch him nibbling on
his kibble
> and I usually hand feed him baby food at least twice a day. He
does chomp at
> the air during feedings and always licks his chops before he eats
> spoonful. Lately, he whimpers during feedings and hacks and
continues to
> smack his lips. What's going on here??

Can't tell. The GI-ralted actions suggests the possibility of a low-
grade ulcer, but tough to be sure. The digging behavior doesn't ring
any bells, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was related in some
fashion to the high testosterone - especially if it is a recent
development. I'm not a ferret psychologist, though. Bob Church is
much better at interpreting aberrant behavior than I.

Bottom line - going directly to the exploraroty in the hands of a
competent and adventurous surgeon will probably give the biggest band
for the buck, and address the problem in the most efficacious way.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, DVM