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Senior Ferret With Insulinoma Develops Adrenal Gland Disease

What should be done if medications no longer seem to help adrenal gland disease?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: April 1, 2012, 6 a.m. EDT

Q: My ferret was diagnosed with insulinoma 11 months ago. He was not responding very well to prednisone. The vet added Proglycem, and now my ferret is doing much better. However, he is showing signs of adrenal disease now and has been put on Lupron. The vet recently did a sonogram and said my ferret’s adrenal gland is very large, and he is not responding to Lupron. My ferret is 9 years old, so I am not sure that surgery is the right thing to do at his age. Do you have any advice?

A: Assuming that all of this information is correct, and since all of these conditions and treatments are common in ferrets, you have very few choices.

Lupron , although usually a very safe and effective treatment for adrenal gland disease, does not stop the adrenal gland from continuing to grow in size. It is very important to know that Lupron, prednisone and Proglycem can be effective medications in ferrets, but they all just treat the signs of disease. None of these medications prevent the respective diseases from getting worse. So, it is common to find the adrenal gland becoming larger despite proper use of Lupron.

If Lupron is no longer causing the signs to dissipate, then potentially another anti-adrenal gland drug will be effective in your ferret. It is very common to switch adrenal gland drugs once the one your ferret is taking no longer is effective.

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