From: Caitlyn Martin
Date: 2012-01-03 19:39:18 UTC
Subject: Re: [ferrethealth] Re: Insulinoma, diazoxide and hind limb weakness
Hi, Sukie, Tressie and everyone else,
On 1/3/12, Sukie Crandall <email@example.com> wrote:
> Sometimes, when the insulinoma is caught early, the surgeon is very good at
> finding tiny, scattered tumors, there are not way too many of the tumors,
> and if none of the tumors are in the locations that can't be excised, then
> surgery CAN be curative.
I agree. Of the six ferrets of mine who have had insulinoma surgery
it was curative for two. Ker Avon lived three years after his surgery
and never showed symptoms or needed medication. Chin Soon will be at
three years in April so I think we can call her surgery curative as
well. Having said that, Sissy, from what Regina described, probably
has late stage insulinoma. As you pointed out, you pretty much have
to opt for surgery early on to have a chance at a cure. If Sissy's disease is advanced the chances of a cure really are at or near zero. This is why our current vet is much more aggressive about doing surgery than our previous vets were. She believes that surgery is the first, best option if done promptly.
On the other hand, Tressie is absolutely right that some ferrets will
still need prednisolone soon after surgery or will never be able to
get off the medication entirely. Zephyr, my nine year old, got the
least benefit from her surgery which was done a year ago. She went
from having very low blood glucose no matter how much medication we
gave her to needing just .01ml (3mg/ml concentration) twice a day to
keep her blood glucose in the normal range. That's a huge
improvement. Kodo needed a low dose of prednisolone just four months
after his surgery. Like Zephyr, a low dose was enough to maintain his
blood glucose in the normal range and alleviate any symptoms.
All in all I've never lost a ferret to insulinoma. The surgery bought
enough time that some other disease came along, usually lymphoma.
That's probably because, with the exception of Avon, all my ferrets
were at least five and a half years old when they had surgery. Oh,
and yes, that includes Chin Soon who is just three days shy of eight
and a half. Please don't tell her that. Most two year olds would
have a hard time keeping up with Chin Soon.
Of course, six ferrets is no where near enough for a scientific sample
and there are always risks with surgery, especially in older ferrets.
We've had six successful surgeries (and I do count Zephyr's as
successful) that have had real benefits to the ferrets involved due to
a combination of excellent, skilled vet care and a whole lot of luck.
As always, your mileage may vary.
All the best,
Caity and the dynamic duo
Zephyr and Chin Soon
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