Message Number: YG11513 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Caitlyn Martin
Date: 2002-02-26 09:01:00 UTC
Subject: Re: ferret with mild adrenal disease

Hi, Monica, and everyone else,

I am not a vet. I'm a ferret owner who's seen far too much adrenal
disease. Having said that...

I agree with the other poster who said there is no such thing as "mild"
adrenal. The only correct treatment that will cure your ferret is
surgery to remove the affected gland(s). I'd only consider medical
options in an elderly or compromised ferret. Let me give you a few
examples from our business:

Romana never had any hair loss at all. Her *only* sumptom was a swollen
vulva. There was a large left adrenal tumor in her anyway.

Nyssa had mild symptoms as you describe: a little hair loss on the tail
and belly. Right before surgery her vulva swelled a little. What was
found when surgery was done was a large adenocarcinoma in the left

While metastasis of adrenal carcinomas is rare indeed, that is precisely
what killed our little Ryo-Ohki. Her symptoms prior to surgery: a
little hair loss, some weight loss. That's it.

Our Pertwee had his left adrenal gland removed. Five weeks later the
tumor removed with his right gland (which looked normal at the first
surgery) was much larger that what had been taken from the left. Both
were carcinomas, and apparantly aggressive ones.

You have no way of knowing if an adrenal tumor is a benign adenoma (sp?)
or a carcinoma. Metastasis is rare, but if it can happen in your fert
leaving adrenal untreated is the way to make sure it does.

With a positive Tennessee panel and hair loss, I think you have a ferret
with adrenal disease. In your position I'd opt for surgery whenever my
vet felt the symptoms had progressed sufficiently that he'd see which
gland was affected clearly. That is what my vet waits for. My ferrets
have had seven successful adrenal surgeries. The one that passed away
(Ryo-Ohki) clearly recovered well from the first surgery, and started
recovering nicely from the second months later. Her passing was in no
way my vet's fault. My only question: had surgery been done sooner
might she still be here? Might we have saved her? Trust me, that's a
horrible thing to have to ask yourself.

All the best,