From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2010-11-04 00:25:38 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] Recurring Adrenal Disease?
Okay, with adrenal disease what happens is that an increase in
luteinizing hormone causes the hormone producing section of the
adrenal cortex to overwork and inflame so when one adrenal has been
set into inflammatory mode sometimes the second one also already has,
by the same trigger.
People can look up past posts containing
luteinizing or "LH"
in the body of the message at the FHL Archives:
and can just leave the boxes for the subject line and who the post is
from empty to pull up all such past posts. Then after clicking on the
search "button" on that excellent website (for which we can thank Pam
and Eric Sessoms) it is easy to skim to which ones you want to read
and click them open. You do not need to search using more than one
box, but you can if you want.
Another way that adrenal growths can return is if there is adrenal
tissue that comes loose in surgery (because diseased tissues sometimes
fall apart easily) and remains. Even pieces too small to easily see
can regrow that way at times. Certain surgical approaches like
cryosurgery make that more likely, but that surgical approach does
allow some ferrets who otherwise could not have surgery to have
surgery, so it is a risk factor that just needs to be put up with at
Another way that adrenal disease can return is if the situation only
allows the surgeon to debulk the tumor rather than completely removing
it. Tissue is left behind by definition with that approach. This
happens pretty often, actually, and often simply is unavoidable if the
tumor is attached to the wrong things.
If both adrenals come out completely then Addison's Disease is going
to happen and that is fatal if untreated. Those ferrets need to have
BOTH Percorten and Prednisone, OR to have BOTH Fludrocort/Florinef and
Prednisolone. Occasionally, a steroid other than Prednisolone is
used. These ferrets WILL need higher levels of the meds when their
bodies are under increased stresses or when they gain weight.
Otherwise, an Addisonian Crisis will kill them. Some ferrets do
better with one or another med combination but many do well with
either. Ferrets who have IBD or anything else causing diarrhea should
have Percortin shots about every 3 weeks and daily Prednisolone
because the body does not process the Fludrocort/Florinef well enough
to suffice as a replacement for essential adrenal products. In an
Addisonian Crisis some electrolytes that cells need to live are
present in the wrong amounts or wrong proportions. This is why some
who are still being adjusted can be helped by including a tiny bit of
salt in the diet until the right meds dosing is found.
Age is not a factor for surgery usually until a ferret is somewhat old
(say in the 7th year) or older, BUT the pre-op testing needed by any
ferret older than 5 years old does become more extensive with age
because of the increased chances of hidden medical problems which may
complicate surgical results. Ferrets of any age are helped by pre-op
blood work and pre-op urine concentration work. When they are older
things like heart imaging may be added in. Health IS a factor for
whether surgery will be done.
As always follow good post-op home support. There are recent posts on
this topic in the FHL and in the FML. Again, use the archives.
There ARE options to surgery. One is Suprelorin (deslorelin implant)
and you can read about that in the archives using those search words
and the search word
The latest is that if carcinoma may be present then get new Suprelorin
implants about every 6 months if you are not going with surgery. If
the tumor is very large then carcinoma is likely.
Lupron is one of the related meds, but that needs to be given more
often. Use it in depot form (time release).
Melatonin, either implant or oral can be used along with EITHER
Suprelorin Implant or Lupron depot. It helps in different ways than
the two meds it is being used with so the effect can be even better
when the combination of two meds happens.
There is also a lot about that in the FHL Archives.
Untreated adrenal disease, or adrenal disease which is too extreme for
the approaches to be sufficient reduces quality of life in a number of
ways. Those ferrets are more prone to ulcers. They have fat
redistribution which makes moving around uncomfortable. They have
muscle wasting. Urinary tract infections and vulvar infections can
happen. There is more. Not treating adrenal disease is simply unfair
to ferrets and there is an excellent past vet post on this in the
More seriously, not treating adrenal disease increases the chance that
the tumor or tumors will become malignant down the road, that
potentially fatal anemia can occur, or that prostate disease can cause
a ferret to die of a urinary blockage which is a very painful way to go.
There ARE meds to give when prostate disease is present in ferrets,
and to a lesser extent in success there are approaches for the
anemia. These things, too, are covered in the archives. It pays to
NOT wait too long to treat prostatic disease in ferrets, not only
because of the direct danger but also because that increases the risk
of a prostatic cyst.
Sukie (not a vet)
Recommended ferret health links:
all ferret topics:
"All hail the procrastinators for they shall rule the world tomorrow."
(2010, Steve Crandall)
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