Message Number: YG6422 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-08-16 22:26:00 UTC
Subject: Re: adrenal ferret- surgery or lupron?

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., eeriksen@r... wrote:
> My ferret started losing his fur on his back about two months ago.
> is a blaze, small but active,about 1.8 lb. I adopted him last Oct.
> I don't know how old he is (they had told me about a year,
> but the vets think older- his teeth are bad too). He is still
> perky and plays and eats, etc. but I don't want to just let it
> progress. His regular vet recommends Lupron therapy once a month, I
> went to another who recommends surgery. I read alot and decided to
> have the surgery. A pre-op blood test looked normal, but he later
> bled from both feet where they took his blood. He evetually stopped
> and the vet said this is normal for adrenal ferrets (?) He seems
> now and is scheduled for surgery in five days. The vet uses
> Isoflurane gas for anesthesia. He says most of the time they do
> well after the surgery and mostly it's the left adrenal- if it's
> right he'll close up and talk about other treatment. It seems like
> the right thing but I'm worried, since I've also read that he may
> have complications and die due to the other adrenal not being
> able to make enough cortisol or other complications. I know there's
> risk to any surgery. I'd appreciate anyone's advice/recommendations
> about surgery or Lupron treatment, and which has worked for them. I
> also wonder about which will extend his life further.

Dear Eileen:

Thre is a lot of useful information and discussion on Lurpon vs.
surgery in the archives, so I will direct you there. However, your
post contains two sentences which concern me.

1) Pre-op bloodwork was normal, but he bled from both legs after they
took blood. While this might be something as simple as not keeping
pressure on the venipuncture site for long enough, I would also
enquire if a platelet tes was run. I recenlty lost on of my own
following surgery when the platelets were markedly decreased (even in
spite of a pre-op transfusion.) I am always concerned when excessive
bleeding occurs.

2) Your vet plans to close up the ferret if a right adrenal lesion is
seen. This is not really an appropriate way to do surgery - if your
vet is not comfortable in working around the right adrenal, perhaps
another vet may be consulted.

Lupron is not a good option in so young a ferret - as far as we know
it only blocks estrogen's effects, but does not treat adrenal lesions
directly. It may be used in older ferrets who are not surgical
candidates, but in a young ferret it poses unnecessary risk and over
time, will be more expensive than surgery.

With kindest regards,

bruce williams, dVM