Date: 2006-08-14 15:09:15 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Spontaneous hair regrowth
My 6-1/2 yo albino boy, Sammy, lost the hair on his tail last summer and went nearly completely bald over the winter. He had just some straggly hair on his head left.
He has always been a slightly frail ferret, and has had reactions to immunizations. HIs eyesight seems to be going. He sleeps a lot, but he seems to be enjoying life. He is not a good candidate for adrenal surgery, and as long as he was enjoying himself, I didn't want to run the risk of side effects from other treatments. Instead, he has graduated to position of pampered 'supreme weasel'; he has his hammock in the living room and is never put in a cage for the night. He also gets far more dried cranberry treats than anyone else is allowed.
Last spring, he grew a little hair at the base of his tail. By about the beginning of July, his tail had grown in completely.
A few weeks ago, he suddenly began to grow hair everywhere. He is still a little sparse on either side of his spine, but looks like a real ferret again.
Any idea what is causing this? My housemate (who has had ferrets for much longer than I) thinks that the regrowth is temperature regulated. Just before the regrowth, we had a heat wave and one day there was a power failure. Without air conditioner or fans, the temperature climbed into the high nineties, and Sam was flat-weaseled on the floor to keep cool. My housemate feels that the heat shock triggered the need to grow winter fur, and indeed the fur that has regrown is thick and has that yellowish cast that winter growth often has. The other ferrets have also started growing winter coats.
Is this a plausible theory? Is there a chance that adrenal is partially moderated not only by diurnal light cycles but by seasonal temperature variations? If so, some of the observed differences in adrenal rates between the US and Europe might be due to our significantly more regulated inside environments. Has anyone studied anything like this?
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