Message Number: FHL8778 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Caitlyn Martin
Date: 2009-04-28 22:18:43 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] Re: What should I do?


I'm with Sukie on this one and my experience parallels hers:

On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 5:48 PM, Sukie Crandall <> wrote:
> I think that vets vary a lot in their ability to cleanly remove adrenals,
> especially right adrenals.

Definitely. Also some vets have a fairly high mortality rate with
right adrenal surgeries. Our original vet claimed >90% success. Our
current vet claims 75% but anecdotal evidence from friends in the
ferret community who have had her do the surgery for their ferrets
suggests a higher rate as well.

Karen also suggests that the cause of adrenal disease is present in
all ferrets. Four of my ferrets never developed the disease or at
least never showed any symptoms during a normal or longer than normal
lifespan. OK, one is still here but she is six now so she's safely
made it into the geriatric ferret category without adrenal disease or
any other significant illness.
> We certainly HAVE -- more often than not -- had surgery be a CURE.

Agreed. Four of my ferrets who had one adrenal surgery, regardless of
which gland was removed, never had a recurrence. Our vets have never
treated with lupron after surgery and, as noted before, they just
don't believe in the efficacy of melatonin.

Pertwee had a second surgery only five weeks after the first which
indicated to my vet that he was probably bilateral from the start but
the gland with the larger tumor suppressed the smaller. He lived
almost four years after the second gland was removed and while he
certainly had other health problems none were related to hormone
production or the endocrine system once his electrolytes were in

That leaves three ferrets who did have a recurrence at least two years
after the original surgery. Two of them were old and had other issues
by the time adrenal symptoms reappeared. In Nyssa's case that was
four full years after the original surgery and her system was severely
compromised by that point as she had been fighting lymphoma for about
a year.

> Then again, we've also had good enough surgeons that we've had
> insulinoma surgery be a cure, including for one of our current ferrets,
> and many vets have trouble doing that quite as effectively.

Also agreed. What our vets have told me that if the insulinoma is
isolated to one lobe of the pancreas and is caught early there is a
real chance for surgery to be curative. In other cases, where
insulinoma is spread throughout the pancreas, often in microscopic
tumors, surgery can alleviate symptoms for a time but won't cure
anything. Even in those cases we had ferrets who could not be
maintained at anything approaching a normal blood glucose level before
surgery who went months with no meds and then were fine with a low
dosage of pred. In those cases the quality of life and energy level
of the ferrets improved dramatically as well.

I am a big believer in surgery for both adrenal and insulinoma
provided you have the right vet. Obviously with a less than brilliant
surgeon the results can be disastrously bad as some posts here have
shown. I am very grateful for the quality and skill of the vets who
have treated the 13 ferrets who have lived in my home over the past
11+ years.

All the best,
Cait and the terrific trio
Zephyr, Ella, and Chin Soon


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