Message Number: SG7652 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2004-01-30 23:28:43 UTC
Subject: Re: what causes adrenal gland disease?
Message-ID: <>

> I'm convinced that it is not the "early" neutering alone, if by early
> you mean 5-6 weeks. This is NOT only a farm ferret problem.
> I have owned 6 personal ferrets, all neutered at 5.5 to 8 MONTHS old.
> Five have had adrenal disease so far, with symptoms starting as early
> as 2 1/2 years old...

Yes, it seems to be more neutering itself (IF neutering is a contributing factor) than a mere difference of a half year. Neutering may be a contributing factor. No one has numbers so it is hard to know how rates of neutered ferrets compares to whole ferrets for adrenal neoplasia. There are logical mechanisms for it being one of the factors, though, so it not to be discounted.

The cases of whole ferrets with adrenal neoplasia I've heard of have been older than 5 years old (but so are most cases of adrenal neoplasia in neutered ferrets).

Whole ferrets, of course come with their own sets of medical problems -- some a lot worse -- and then there are care issues which are larger than for neutered ones for most people.

BTW, in relation to darkness: partial darkness or dimness doesn't really cut it. Light -- even small amounts -- greatly reduces the melatonin the body produces. So, if that hypothesis is being tried real darkness is needed for a great number of hours each day.

I am among those who think that there might be a silent viral trigger with some of the other factors maybe etting the stage for the virus to do worse damage, or the virus maybe setting the stage for those factors (which could possibly affect even some ferrets who don't get such a hypothetical virus) to have more of an impact or an earlier impact than they would without the virus.

Of course, then it could turn out to be something no one has thought of, yet, and we could all wind up hitting our foreheads because the picture of a puzzle is so much more obvious in hindsight.

One thing I HAVE noticed is that I've heard of more of such cases, and more found insulinoma in Europe recently, AND in conjunction with that I have heard of people who badgered their vets to at least consider those options and check -- with those results turning up. I guess that point is that it is always good to remember that "It doesn't happen here" isn't really a viable thought to hold for many things, and all of us wind up learning across continents all the time.

I recall one of our British members (Chris?) wondering once if the old practice of dark sleeping boxes led to lowered adrenal neopliasia rates and if moving away form those led to increases in Europe and elsewhere.

I can say that over our almost 22 years with ferrets -- that at first folks didn't take the symptoms seriously and reports of such cases were rare, and this includes the ferrets who were neutered as kits. Then when they did begin noticing adrenal neoplasia the reports of early cases (vs. ones at older ages) were very rare. Those wer reported more later. Is it possible that early cases were just missed? Yes. Is it possible that there is some additional factor which is involved in earlier symptoms? Maybe. I've always wondered if the emphasis on many of the fancies which happened at abou thte same time led to too high a representation in the population of some genetic make-up which isn't optimal that way.

So many hypotheses, so few ferret kisses (in hte last hour). I'm going to go take a ferret kiss break.