Posted: July 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: We had our year-old Ferret, Matty, to the vet a month ago because he was losing weight, losing hair at the base of his tail and was listless. The vet drew blood (which came back normal) and basically told us to watch him, along with finishing the nutrients she had given him. The hair loss on the base of his tail has resolved and re-grown, but the shaven area where they drew blood has yet to come back in. Any ideas on how long this will take for that patch to re-grow?
A: Uncommonly, a shaved area on a ferret may not grow back in until the ferret molts again. In this case, it could be late summer before you see hair returning to this area. But this is unusual.
When I see hair not growing back after a month, I start worrying that it is a sign of adrenal gland disease. Even though your ferret’s hair grew back on the tail, the fact that he lost hair there would also have me concerned about adrenal gland disease.
You could do two things. You could do nothing and see if the hair finally grows back by this summer. I do not recommend this approach, because if there is something wrong, you lose valuable time to treat it. The other option is to ask your veterinarian to examine your ferret for adrenal gland disease. This may involve a combination of blood tests and imaging tests.
The reason to find this out sooner than later is that the quicker a diagnosis is made, the better the outcome for your ferret may be.
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