Date: 2007-05-05 15:00:24 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] RE: Melatonin versus Lupron Depot versus Adrenalectomy
"I have a ferret, Norbit, who is approximately 4 1/2 - 5yrs of age. He
has had his left adrenal removed. Norbit is currently taking 0.4cc of
flutamide orally twice daily. A few months ago, his adrenal symptoms
returned and I had him placed on Lupron Depot (1 injection every 3
weeks) as I was unsure whether I wanted to remove the other adrenal
gland. Now I am approaching the end of his course of injections and
need to make a decision about what to do. My primary concern is that
if I remove the right adrenal Norbit will require an additional daily
medication (cortisone or something like that?)." >SNIP
I have had three ferrets who have had both adrenals out-one had both out at once, and the other two were spaced out. The first one died a few nonths later, after weaning him off steroids (he died while boarding-he had been fine to that point; he should have been back on fludrocortisone while boarding or during any possibly stressful situation, though he was used to boarding and being elsewhere besides home, and we learned a sad and valuable lesson there).
The other two:
Cora had her right out, and about a year later, her left. We had her on pred and fludrocortisone for a few weeks postop, then tapered her off both. We restarted fludro and pred any time she was in a new situation (introduction of another ferret,, etc.), boarding, or potentially stressful situation, but otherwise, she was on no meds. She did great and died of something else a couple of years later.
Daisy, a current ferret of mine, has had both adrenals out at separate times. Every time we've tried to wean her off fludrocortisone, she has an Addisonian episode (we've caught most before they were real crises), but she also has a HUGE host of other illnesses, such as insulinoma, liver problems, has had a biliary duct resction, etc etc etc, so she is already behind the eight ball. We just keep her on low-dose fludrocotrisone (0.025mg once a day) now, and in addition to the pred she's on after a partial pancreatectomy a couple of years ago, she does very well with this.
Prednisone and fludrocortisone are very inexpensive-an 80-day supply of her fludro costs me $20 at CVS (and AAA gets you a pet-prescription discount at CVS, which I learned this year!). Prenisone is only a few cents a pill, but costs a tad more than that with dispensing fees, etc., but is still cheap.
It's certainly feasible to have both completely removed, though some vets prefer to just debulk the remaining one if they've already had one out. My preference is to get rid of it, then follow surgery with a course of steroids, then wean them off what you can, keeping close watch and restarting meds if they seem Addisonian.
Then I would put them on short steroid courses ANY time they may be exposed to stress situations as I've desribed, even if they don't normally seem stressed in unusual circumstances (such as my Nicky-he was the most easygoing and outgoing ferret there was, but the stress to his system just from boarding where I work, and he had done it before, was enough to be too much for his system after a week-he died an hour before I came to get him, and I'm the one who found his still-warm self, 5 feet away from the meds I should have had him on that could have saved him).
Hope this helps!
April (vet tech and ferret owner)
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