Message Number: SG7669 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2004-01-31 05:08:59 UTC
Subject: Re: What causes adrenal gland disease? LH
Message-ID: <>

Hi Linda,
Yes, spaying and neutering is a big part
of the problem! Quite simply when a ferret
is spayed or neutered the LH levels increase
(up to 10 times the normal amount of an intact
animal). The reason that spay/neuter at an early age
(<1 year old) increases the risk is because there is
no "set point" established, so the LH receptors become
functional. Plus there is more time with the elevated LH
level stimulating the LH receptors in the adrenal glands.
In Dr Schoemaker's article he estimated the prevalence of
adrenal gland disease in Holland at 0.55%, with the average age
at onset of 5.1 years old. In Holland ferrets are typically fixed at
1 year of age. (That's right less than 1%.)
Of course here in the US, adrenal gland disease is a very, very
common problem with prevalence estimated anywhere from 20-75%.
Here the ferrets are typically spayed/neutered at an age of 4-6 weeks.
It really is the high LH levels stimulating the LH receptors in the adrenal
glands that leads to adrenal hyperplasia and neoplasia. There really
is no virus involved. Remember Lupron works by lowering LH levels,
and Lupron does not have any antiviral properties.
Hope that helps clear things up,
Jerry Murray, DVM
PS Early spay and neutering leading to adrenal gland disease is
also common in mice.