Message Number: YG6903 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-09-02 09:33:00 UTC
Subject: Adrenal Disease

Regarding possible reasons for adrenal disease,

The vaccinations are another difference between Sweden and the US. In
Sweden, most ferrets are vaccinated against distemper, but since we
don't have rabies there is no need to vaccinate against that.
The only vaccine used is Fervac-D. The dosage is 1 ml SQ, sometimes a
bit less for smaller kits.
The recommended schedule in Sweden is:

1st shot at 12-16 weeks if the mother is vaccinated, 8-12 weeks if
she's NOT
2nd 4-6 weeks later
3rd when the ferret is 12 months old,

The recommended schedule in the US is:

1st shot when the kits are 8 weeks old
2nd 11 weeks
3rd 14 weeks,

Ferrets in Sweden are as far as I know never premedicated against
adverse vaccination reactions. I have never heard of ANY ferret
having a bad reaction (though I'm sure it can happen here too).

Apart from the fact that we vaccinate somewhat less against
distemper, and not at all against rabies, there are other, more
obvious, differences between the US and Sweden:

Early neutering. Ferrets in Sweden are neutered when they are around
11-12 months old, usually when they come into season for the first
time. This, of course, depend on whether they are born late or early
in the year, and also where in the country you live and how you keep
your ferrets. Ferrets in the south usually come into season a bit
earlier and are therefore younger when they are neutered. Depending
on these factors, neutering can sometimes be performed as early as 5

Descenting. Swedish ferrets are not descented.

Early weaning? In Sweden kits stay with their mother until they are
at least 8 weeks old. From what I've heard, large scale farms in the
US wean much earlier (even before 6 weeks)?

I don't know if any of these things have anything to do with what's
causing adrenal tumours and other diseases.
But since no one has the answers yet, I think all possibilities
should be given some thought.
I would also like to point out, that I think it would be a mistake to
regard all the European ferrets as ONE population. Because there
seems to be differences in diseases between the European countries
and their ferret populations too.

It would be interesting to know how many of the imported European
ferrets to the US, have developed adrenal. And also, if the ferrets
are a direct import, or if they are bred and raised in the US from a
pure European line.
Age, other diseases, neutering/descenting, vaccinations, diet,
housing and other general data would of course be of interest too.
Maybe someone could do a survey!