Message Number: SG11037 | New FHL Archives Search
From: ""
Date: 2004-10-11 22:35:03 UTC
Subject: Advice needed
Message-Id: <>

I think you just may be the luckiest ferret owner! :)
I wish, but here is my experience:

I have had about 75% adrenal rate on my ferrets over 5- all were either from a shelter, or from a petstore, therefore, large farm ( like MF, path valley)

However, of those surrenders that have come in to the shelter I volunteer with, 100% over 4 have been adrenal and unfortunately, those have the harder surgeries and tend to be bilaterals because their owners did not realize what the ferrets had- or seek a vet to check out why they were losing fur- in some cases best fur coat I have ever seen, but the owner said " was balding 4 months ago, but it grew back so I didn't worry". Surgery showed the biggest adrenal glands my vet ever saw . In my home, only cause of balding, starting usually at the base of the tail has been adrenal. Parasites, and dry skin don't cause this kind of fur loss. Old age, not sure about that, for every one we have had with the fur loss, has gone to surgery and the adrenal gland has been enlarged. So, perhaps what you are calling old age, is adrenal gland disease but not really causing a lot of issues? I have heard of a few cases found on necropsy where there were really no outward signs, so that is possible.

The only other thing, I had a ferret with very sparse coat, post op adrenal, I was sure he was adrenal again, but surgery revealed lymphosarcoma. Another, also very sparse coat, not typical balding pattern of adrenal, but very thin, he had IBD on prednisone and also was post op bilateral adrenal, his tennessee panel came back negative- so yes, there are other reasons for fur loss- still adrenal gland disease being by far the most common.

Yes, a vet is the way to go. But not all vets are equal, one who does adrenal gland surgery on a regular basis, would be the best one to ask, and waiting a few days/weeks shouldn't be a problem with only a little fur loss as the concern.

Other signs I would look for, changes in the fur itself, more coarse and dry, or oiler and muskier smell. Skin gets very dry , and itchy. Fur loss behind ears, on top of feet. Nesting behavior, females start to nest, they also can get bitey or change their personalities, males can get aggressive, or revert to mating behaviors.
You can have all, none or just one of the above symptoms.

I hope it is nothing much, but Mark wanted to know what it could be and unfortunately, adrenal gland disease is on top of the list.

Patty K

-- wrote:
Please do not let responses here alarm you. I have been raising ferrets in the united states since 1985 (that's 19 years), and I can assure you of two things. The first is that not every ferret in the US will suffer from adrenal problems, I have only ever had one of my fuzzies suffer from adrenal disease, and it's not because I am the luckiest American ferret owner in the world. As common as adrenal disease has become among American ferret populations, it is still not something you can expect to see in every ferret you own. Secondly, there are a number of reasons why a ferret can lose hair ranging from balding associated with age, to external parasites, dry skin and even getting into something they shouldn't have. In addition there are a number of more serious conditions that balding could harbinge (among them adrenal disease and skin cancer). The best person to advise you on your ferret's condition at this point is your veterinarian. It may well be that your ferret is showing signs of adrenal disorder, but it is by no means that only possibility. Lots of luck to you and your fuzzies.-