Message Number: FHL11135 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Karen McCabe"
Date: 2010-03-18 02:55:43 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Health Question

--- In, "sukiedaviscrandall" <sukie@...> wrote:
> For whatever reason or reasons Karen has had many
> ferrets experience adrenal disease with many of those
> experiencing it at a young age.
> Our experience in our decades with ferrets has been
> vastly different,

Actually, I'm not the only one to see adrenal disease in many. One only need to view the various ferret discussion boards for this to be apparent. I think it's important to keep in mind that the ferrets of today are quite different from the ferrets of decades past, with decades of inbreeding, over breeding, poor breeding practices, etc, being the most likely cause. Decades ago the diseases that are so common today, such as adrenal disease, were unheard of. Some studies do indicate a genetic link. Some studies indicate that lighting has little effect, with providing complete darkness merely slowing the onset just slightly. It would seem no matter what we do adrenal disease is still quite likely to occur, and unless/until the genetic issues are dealt with will continue to occur.

Perhaps I've seen so much of the disease simply because of the number of ferrets that I've had within a relatively short time frame. Perhaps I've caught it in mine at a younger age because I know what to look for and because I *am* looking. Many see the signs and dismiss them due to age or because they don't feel they see enough signs (when in actuality you don't need to see *any* signs). In any case, I don't believe my experiences are really any different from the majority. In fact, I think they are more representative of the majority (in regards to the ferrets of today). Again, check the ferret boards. You'll find more with adrenal ferrets then without and you will find many with younger ferrets either showing signs or already diagnosed.

Karen McCabe

[There certainly have been others who have encountered
high rates, just as there have been others who have encountered
very low rates of adrenal disease.

That is a major point, of course, of the post to which Karen is
replying: that households vary.

The cause of adrenal disease in ferrets is well known to be an
increase in FHS production and some things which can increase
that production such as decrease in melatonin levels are also
supported by a large number of endocrinological studies.

That there may be genetic component(s) can not be neglected
but it is not among the things which most of us can control
(although breeders can be encouraged to keep better illness and
lifespan records and those who get ferrets from those breeders
can keep the breeders completely informed).

On asking some friends who are veterinarians, the "guesstimates"
ranged from 1/3 to almost 1/2 of the ferrets they have seen. That
was a few years ago. One vet here has mentioned seeing, a few years
before that inquiry, perhaps 3/4 of the ferrets getting adrenal
disease in their lifetimes (if memory serves). So, veterinarians'
experiences appear to vary, too, and it has been suggested that
some of that might reflect geographic latitude with more in lower



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