Message Number: FHL12593 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2010-12-13 17:54:53 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] Deslorelin implants, our results

The level of response seems to vary a lot with the types and sizes of

Mornie had a huge carcinoma on the right which was inoperable due to
her involved Vena Cava when she first showed any symptoms. She got 8
months on the deslorelin but the tumor was so large and so badly
situated that when discovered we were told that she could go at any
time so we look at it as an extra 8 months in her case. At first the
size of the tumor was steady. The rapid regrowth happened in the last
2 months of her being on the implant so any of us had known that there
would later be new advice that the very ill ones get second implants
at 6 months we would have done that. She was almost 7 and passed
shortly before the new implants arrived.

Hilbert had complete control of his adrenal disease till the day he
died of his unrelated kidney problems, which was also at about 8
months after implant. The extra happy surprise is that it also helped
reduce his insulinoma problems (for which he had already had two
surgeries but part of it was in an inoperable area). His adrenal
disease was mild but his insulinoma was a great hazard for him so that
was a very big plus. He was a few months from 8 (which would have
been in three days).

Hubble turned out to have multiple hidden terminal health problems
going on at the same time (unrelated), one of which was discovered on
ultrasound (failing kidneys) and two strong possibilities (lymphoma
and advanced hypertrophic cardiomyopthy) later when his health
suddenly crashed so suddenly that they could not be confirmed without
necropsy but in his case the necropsy would not teach anything so we
skipped it . He had an implant put in as a preventative. What killed
him were simply time bombs he already had but hid. (We had expected
an intestinal disease because of diarrhea but his intestines were fine
on ultrasound.

Telemna is in for a bilateral adrenalectomy today. Her implant at
first controlled it and symptoms decreased but that was not for a long
time. (Apologies for not having the time to look it up but we have
some big medical things going on both with a cousin of mine and with
Telemna today.) Of three ferret adrenal disease experts consulted 2
said to try the implant first since right adrenal surgery can be
tricky even with as excellent a surgeon as we have. One of those said
to use it but then do surgery if serious symptoms returned.

When the symptoms increased we set a surgery date, but since our
preferred surgeon for a right adrenalectomy had to be away for a week
there was a bit of wait.

During the wait for Telemna we noticed an interesting thing. Her
symptoms that returned are enlarged vulva and slightly swollen
breasts. First the sizes worsened after the initial huge improvement,
then they decreased, but then they worsened another time in the last
two days. So in order over a few months: Bad, large improvement,
worsening, some improvement, some worsening. This leaves us wondering
why the short blip of improvement happened. Might it be the behavior
of the tumor itself? I know that in humans endocrinological organs
like the ovaries can vary in output but ovaries are more cyclical in
nature while I think that adrenals are on more of a diurnal clock in
humans though in ferrets they also have a seasonal clock so I don't
know if that would be likely.

One thing that DID change: Steve was away during the improvement
phase and we have a small place so there is no choice but for the
ferrets to be in the same room as his large computer and he uses a
pretty bright light which tends toward the blues when we uses his
computer. What can I say; our eyes are worsening. When he was away I
only used the amber light in that room because I had no need to use
any other light. Certainly, the more melatonin the body produces the
more controlled adrenal disease is, and melatonin production decreases
with increased light exposure. We had not had time for the melatonin
implant before she worsened and honestly, her sizes are large enough
that the implant would help some but I doubt the swellings would
completely go away.

If not the light (though I think it is that), I am left wondering --
and notice that this is nothing more than hypothesizing so be careful
to not take it as if it were fact -- IF there MAY be factors which
might alter how much medication an implant can release and thought of
several possible factors -- i.e. guesses -- before I thought of that
light (which is nothing compared to the huge one for video conferences
which he has that is like the sun being in the room but is far
brighter than any light I use). Anyway, are there any studies out
there on physiological, positional, and behavioral (such as activity
level) factors which MIGHT influence the degree of medication release
of subcutaneous implants? There probably is but I have not had the
time to check yet. Do any of them actually have any effect? In her
case I really strongly suspect that light was involved in not a good
way. We are changing that light.

One of the huge pluses we encountered with the implants is that they
made every one of the ferrets more active with more joyful acting
play, so that alone has been worth it.

Oh, update before sending: I just got a call from the vet and Telemna
will not be having surgery. Her heart is about 6 vertebral bodies in
size, so surgery would be too risky. She will instead be having an
echo cardiogram and a ultrasound on a day when the ultrasound person
is there. It appears that she is starting cardiomyopathy. This means
that every single ferret we have had who is a classical silver mitt:
FULL and evenly margined mitts and bib has to date developed dilated
cardiomyopthy. Telemna no longer looks like a classic silver mitt due
to roaning but that is what her genetics are. (We also had one with
partial mitts and bib who developed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.)
Now, the sample is not large: 4 ferrets over many years from 2
different farms, but each and every one of the ferrets we have had
over the years with full and evenly margined bibs and full mitts has
developed dilated cardiomyopathy. Can you say "Very possible genetic
signature"? At least knowing early with this means more careful
monitoring and medicating. We've gotten as long as a year and a half
with dilated cardiomyopathy that was not discovered as early.

There is a surgical vet in southern NJ who has multiple types of very
specialized equipment and 24 hours in hospital monitoring by people
who know ferrets, so if Telemna's very large right adrenal (which is
probably carcinoma) is unresponsive to the melatonin implant (which
will be put in today) that might be a possibility for her.

Hard day. We are also waiting to hear if a dearly loved extended
human family member's removed tumor is a return of a malignancy
through metastasis.

Anyway, the upshot is that we would do the Suprelorin implants again.
They worked for some, they provide an option with extra time for some
who otherwise would not have that such as Mornie and maybe Telemna,
and they improved the quality of life for all. It's obviously not
time to declare the need for the scalpel in the hands of an
accomplished ferret surgeon to be be gone, though. DO remember that
the melatonin implant can be used at the same time, and since that
helps with adrenal disease in a different way using both can give a
one-two punch. The implants are NOT a cure; they are a treatment
which can slow or stall the adrenal disease depending on the type and
size of each neoplasum.

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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