Message Number: YG7301 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Caitlyn M. Martin
Date: 2001-09-18 12:05:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Adrenal cancer

On Tue, 18 Sep 2001 07:33:07 EDT
Maureen1224@a... wrote:

> When she called me with the results she said that two of the three
> were elevated and that we now need to schedule an ultra sound appointment to
> find out which is the affected gland. Once that is determined then Cleo will
> have it surgically removed or go through the injection treatment.

Hi, Maureen,

The usual disclaimer applies: I am not a vet, just an experienced ferret
owner. I've seen the results of adrenal disease and surgery in five of my

I would opt for surgery, not for injections. Non-surgical treatments only mask
symptoms, and sooner or later the basically untreated adrenal disease will lead
to serious problems that could eventually take Cleo's life. Left adrenal
surgery is easy for an experienced vet. The right is more difficult. I would
skip the ultrasound and go straight to surgery. Make sure your vet has
experience with right adrenal surgeries, either using cryo or by ligating the
vena cava, in case that is the affected gland. If not, I think I'd find
another vet, even if that means some travel. Ultrasound is expensive and
unnecessary, IMHO, since Cleo has clear adrenal symptoms and a positive result
on the Tennessee panel. My Pertwee had ultrasound done, but he has had
multiple medical problems and my vet is very reluctant to do multiple
surgeries, so in his case the $350 was worth it. In straightforward adrenal
disease I think it's a waste of money.

There is a 20% chance that it will be the right gland, and about a 5% chance
that both glands are affected. (My Pertwee was in that 5%, and he's still here
well over a year later :) Without the ultrasound you won't know which is
affected until the vet goes in, which is why you need to know if your vet can
fully remove the right gland up front.

All of my ferts who have had adrenal disease have bounced back quickly from
surgery and fully recovered. There are always risks with anaesthesia and
surgery, but they should be quite low.

Good luck to you and Cleo.

All the best,
Caity and the terrific 10