Message Number: FHL11306 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Caitlyn Martin
Date: 2010-04-10 19:39:24 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] dosage of lupron depot

Hi, Marcy,

Podo died in 2004 at the age of roughly 10. I say roughly because he
was a rescue, originally a lab ferret. I did talk with the lab manager
and there were some issues/history I won't discuss here which made it
fairly easy to pinpoint when Podo was likely born. I do have most of
Podo's medical history if I can answer any strictly medical questions
within FHL rules. You can also e-mail me off list.

> Anyways, everything I've read says even if I opt for surgery, most likely
> they will grow back w/in 3/6 months or other tumors will grow

I don't know where you heard such a thing but in my experience it is
absolutely false. My Ella had her left adrenal gland out in December,
2004 and has not had any recurrence of adrenal disease or any other
major health issues. Ella was 3.5 years old then and is 8 years old
now. In my experience (and I've had way too much with adrenal
disease) surgery is curative more often than not and I've had several
ferrets who have lived for years after surgery with no further
problems at all. I believe Sukie has had similar experiences.

Of the eight ferrets of mine who have had adrenal surgery over the
years four never had the disease again. The other four included Podo
and Ryo-Ohki, both of whom had recurrences after two years. Nyssa
might have had a recurrence after four and a half years if that was
what caused her hair loss. It is at least as likely the alopecia was
an effect of long term use of prednisolone as she was in the later
stages of a 19 month battle with lymphoma at the time and nearly eight
years old. Pertwee had two surgeries just five weeks apart but our
vet at the time believed the disease was almost certainly bilateral
from the start.

You most definitely want adrenal surgery done ONLY by an experienced
ferret vet. If the right adrenal gland is involved it sits next to
the vena cava, the main vein bringing blood to the heart. That is a
more difficult surgery for both the vet and the ferret. I've had four
ferrets who had right adrenal surgery over the years, all successfully
done. OTOH, I've read horror stories about what happens when things
go wrong, particularly if an inexperienced vet does a right, always
resulting in death. Oh, and yes, Podo had his right adrenal out at
age seven. Lupron treatment was just really getting started at the
time which is why we didn't consider it.

Of those eight I can say with certainty that only one was diagnosed
with pancreatic tumors (insulinoma) or any other kind of tumor quickly
afterwards. That was Podo, who had insulinoma surgery at age eight as
a life or death matter. I'm not aware of any studies at all linking
adrenal disease to insulinoma or other tumors.

The cost of adrenal surgery varies widely, from as little as $500 to
as much as $1200 in this state among excellent ferret vets. A left is
always less expensive than a right. A bilateral surgery (both glands
involved) is uncommon but is always the most expensive and requires
more aftercare.

I have yet too lose one of mine as a result of adrenal surgery but we
did lose one rescue who was, without a doubt, a long term neglect
case. As with any surgery there are always risks and you should
consider them before making any decision. There are additional issues
with older ferrets which also need to be considered. At age seven I
would probably only consider surgery if medical options like Lupron
weren't working. Surgery on older ferrets, age seven and up, usually
has to be a last resort before I take that risk.

In your position, if it were one of mine, I'd be getting a second
opinion from a very experienced ferret vet on Lupron or Deslorelin. I
travel three hours each way so that my ferrets go to an outstanding
vet I can completely trust. The decision you make could very much
impact both the quality and length of your ferret's life.

Good luck, whatever you choose.

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


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