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Adrenal Disease in Ferrets

Adrenal Disease in ferrets is the most common of illnesses and can occur as early as 12 months old.  Adrenal Disease mainly occurs when a tumor or lesion on the adrenal gland produces an overproduction of the hormones emitted by the adrenal gland.

The cause of Adrenal Disease is not fully known.  Most hypotheses point to spaying or neutering at an early age, or extended photoperiods. Spaying or neutering at an early age may cause the ferrets body to overcompensate for the lack of normal sex hormones.  Extended photoperiods happen when the ferret is exposed to artificial and natural light for too long.  Ferrets should have at least 12 hours of total darkness throughout a 24-hour period.  Some ferrets may also be genetically predisposed to developing Adrenal Disease.

Symptoms of Adrenal Disease

  • Loss of hair
  • Thinning hair
  • Translucent looking skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive scratching or itchiness
  • Excessive grooming of self or other ferrets, including ear sucking
  • Swollen vulva in spayed females
  • Increased thirst
  • Difficulty urinating in males
  • Sexual aggression in neutered males
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Frequent Urination
  • Weight loss due to decrease in muscle mass

If your ferret experiences any of these symptoms, please have them checked as soon as possible.  Ferrets can live long and happy lives after they are treated for Adrenal Disease.  Call the Animal Hospital of West Port St. Lucie to ensure your ferret receives the proper treatment.

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