If you have, had or are
going to have a domestic ferret then you will most likely be concerned
with this common disease. Current theory suggests this may be
caused by spaying and neutering at to early an age causing the increase in
estrogen hormone (in male and female) that has been found to cause the
outward signs of disease you see at home. This has not however been
found to be the case in other species such as dogs or cats. Other
factors such as inbreeding, diets, excessive daylight, and genetics may
also play a part as evidenced by European ferrets rarely having this
Signs you may see in your
pet vary and can include reproductive, skin and behavioral changes.
The most common sign is progressive hair loss beginning at the tail
and progressing towards the head but often sparing the head, the neck and
legs. Other signs include swollen vulva and vaginal discharge
in the female, straining to urinate in the male due to prostate
enlargement. Return to mating behavior (even though they are fixed),
excessive weight loss, anemia, ravenous appetite and excessive weight
gain, scratching and frequent urination may occur or combinations of all
of these signs. Although there are diagnostic blood tests for this
condition the signs are so obvious and common I believe your money is
better spent towards proper treatment.
Treatment of Ferret
Adrenal Disease is best accomplished by surgery. Although the left
side adrenal tumor is easily removed with standard methods, the right side
usually requires a ferret cryosurgery set up to be safe and
successful. This is again your best bet for a permanent
solution. This can cost from $275 to $800+.
Medical treatment is
available in many forms. Lupron, a once a month or every four months
injection, is expensive at $80/month or $300+/four months. A
melatonin implant is available that lasts 3 months at about $50+.
Although the hair re-grows, these treatments do not have effect on the
tumor itself and it continues to grow and may eventually debilitate the
animal or in some cases turn cancerous. Additional new treatments
are on the horizon.
After doing hundreds of
ferret surgeries and treatments with many being older (between 7 and 10
years) it often bought them many months or years of quality life.
The above is a reprint of an article
written by Jack Landess, D.V.M., as a public service. Reprint
permission was obtained from the Florida
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