Message Number: FHL13251 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Tressie"
Date: 2011-05-08 22:37:28 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: My ferrets lack of energy

Hmmmm.... there are 'credible' sources who would disagree, this from a 2002 ferret advice column:

Too much of a good thing can overdose your ferret and cause serious health problems. Vitamin A toxicity is a particular problem for ferrets especially with overdoses of the EFA oils (products such as Linatone, Ferretone, and Furatone). Link:

This from a vet:

Warn owners NOT to add Ferretone or tasty vitamins to the new food to make it appealing. This frequently leads to Vitamin A-toxicity, and the food with vitamins will not be viewed as the same as the food without vitamins anyway. Link:

And of course there are dozens upon dozens of current articles/posts warning about the dangers of Vitamin A toxicity from too much Ferretone. Not to say they aren't wrong in their thinking.

Therefore, given your sources Sukie - there does appear to be contradictory information out there. Perhaps we can get some of the FHL vets to weigh in on this topic?

In the interim I'll see if I can find any studies that have been done that present significant evidence to support or negate the hypothesis that too much Ferretone-like supplements lead to Vitamin A toxicity in ferrets.

An aside, I am deeply saddened that the music has died in your home and I am so sorry for the loss of your talented and precious little pianist - she was truly amazing :(


[ That will be interesting to see what you find,
Tressie, as a basis for those people's assertions.

Neither of the above show any references to check.

At PubMed there appear to be as many as 36
studies involving ferrets and Vitamin A, but when
the term toxicity is added with the search terms

"Vitamin A" ferret toxicity

(Though a person could search w more normal
names there are three things that come up:
appears to possibly be inapplicable
J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999 Jan 6;91(1):60-6.
Retinoid signaling and activator protein-1 expression in ferrets given beta-carotene supplements and exposed to tobacco smoke.

but work since then has shown that once enough damage from tobacco smoke is present (can't recall if it s after malignancy or also before) beta-carotene does not operate the same way for the lungs, but I DO recall that some studies which combined it with a lot of tobacco smoke showed problems that appear to be specific to that combination rather than beta-carotene alone.
might be useful:
J Nutr. 1995 Jul;125(7):1945-51.

Supplementing ferrets with canthaxanthin affects the tissue distributions of
canthaxanthin, other carotenoids, vitamin A and vitamin E.

Tang G, Blanco MC, Fox JG, Russell RM.

Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on
Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

To study the effects of canthaxanthin supplementation on the tissue distribution
of canthaxanthin, other carotenoids, vitamin A and vitamin E, 26 spayed female
ferrets (2 mo of age) were used. Ferrets were assigned to receive a commercial
ferret diet and a gavage of canthaxanthin [50 mg/(kg body wt.d)] or a gavage of
placebo beadlets (0 mg canthaxanthin) 5 d/wk. Serum canthaxanthin concentrations
in the canthaxanthin-fed group increased from 0 at baseline to 37.76 +/- 5.34
nmol/L trans and 77.10 +/- 12.60 nmol/L cis canthaxanthin at 12 mo. Further
accumulation of canthaxanthin did not occur with continuous dosing. After 2 y of
receiving canthaxanthin beadlets by gavage, the ferrets did not show a detectable
concentration of canthaxanthin in the eyes, nor did they have clinical signs of
toxicity. Canthaxanthin concentrations were highest in liver, with high
concentrations also seen in fat, lung and small intestine. The sum of alpha and
beta-carotene concentrations detected in livers was significantly higher in the
canthaxanthin-fed group than in the placebo-fed group, but not significantly
higher when individual carotenes were compared. However, alpha-tocopherol
concentrations in the livers and lungs and lutein/zeaxanthin in the fats of the
ferrets fed canthaxanthin were significantly lower than in those fed the placebo.
Retinoid concentrations in tissues of the ferrets fed canthaxanthin were not
different from those of the placebo-fed group. The effects of canthaxanthin
supplementation on other antioxidants and vitamin A nutrients demonstrate either
a synergistic or antagonistic relationship, depending on the specific tissue

PMID: 7616312 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

which is available in:
for those who have the time to check it.

And it may pay to check the ones that were not in the toxicity
term search.

-- Moderator (SDC)]


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