Message Number: FHL5827 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 01:19:03 EDT
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re:Melatonin/Lupron
You have some good questions about the best way to
medically treat adrenal gland disease. There have been
several melatonin studies on adrenal ferrets, including an
implant study that was just completed at Colorado Sate University.
Plus there was an oral melatonin study that was done at the
University of Wisconsin. Plus there was a melatonin implant
study by Dr James Johnson (from Texas A&M) and I.
Plus there was a melatonin implant study done by Dr Cathy
Johnson-Delaney in Seattle, Washington. Thus there is a lot
of info about melatonin, so I can answer most of your questions.
No, melatonin is not "only cosmetic." The oral melatonin study and
all 3 melatonin implant studies have shown that melatonin lowers
the adrenal hormones. In Dr Johnson-Delaney's paper she wrote,
"The melatonin implant appeared to be similarly effective as monthly
administration of Lupron." The melatonin ferret actually had slightly lower
hormone levels than the Lupron ferret. In the recently completed
melatonin implant study at Colorado State University, there was a
decrease in all 9 ferrets hormone levels, clinical resolution in all 9
ferrets, and the owners gave a very high quality of life score. Plus there
were no changes in the blood glucose level, and none of the 9 ferrets
became resistant to the melatonin implants. The oral melatonin study
also proved that melatonin can shrink an enlarged prostate. As you can
see that is much more than just a cosmetic effect.
Melatonin also lowers prolactin levels which may help prevent the
adrenal gland from becoming bigger. There are melatonin receptors
on adrenal glands that may also help prevent an adrenal gland from
becoming large. Melatonin also stimulates the bone marrow to make
red blood cells which should treat or prevent the anemia that is common
with adrenal gland disease. Thus it helps with all 3 serious complications
of adrenal gland disease (prostatic enlargement, estrogen induced anemia,
and adrenal gland enlargement).
In addition melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, free radical scavenger,
and an appetite stimulant. Again a lot more than just cosmetic effects!
With that said, Lupron is a very good medication too. Thus I would
recommend using BOTH melatonin and Lupron to get the best results
and to decrease the odds of the adrenal gland enlarging.
As for preventing adrenal gland disease, there has not been any
published study yet. Thus all we have is anecdotal suggestions.
You can certainly start a young kit on Lupron and use it monthly
throughout the kits life to prevent adrenal gland disease. However
I do not believe one injection of the monthly Lupron once a year (in
the spring) will actually prevent adrenal gland disease. If you want
to try that option, then I would suggest using the 4 month version
of Lupron instead of the monthly version. When the Suprelorin
(Deslorelin) implants become available in the US, then using them
once a year in the spring will be the way to go. The Suprelorin
implants last for a year or more.
The lifespan for an adrenal ferret depends on a lot of things.
My own ferret made it to 8.5 years old. He became adrenal at
3.5 years of age. However some ferrets develop prostate problems,
or estrogen induced anemia, or have large adrenal carcinomas and
do not live as long. Other ferrets will develop insulinoma, lymphoma,
heart disease, etc., in addition to the adrenal disease and will not live
as long. However with treatment a ferret with just adrenal disease should
have a normal life span of 6-7 years of age.
Hope that helps,
Jerry Murray, DVM
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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