I have a question, too, does anyone know where I could get info on this deslorelin implant? I'm interested in it for my 5 year old girl (she's starting to show possible symptoms, even though panels are coming back in the clear), but my vets don't know about this, and I'd like to have some stuff to take in for them to read/review.
Your ferret that had signs of possible healing in the adrenal gland, was it june/july of this year that you had the implant put in?
Auggie my adrenal guy, has started having major hair regrowth. His tail was bald one day, and litterally covered in hair the next.. all bald spots have new hair growth. I have NOT started him on any treatment yet. My vet REALLY wants to push the surgery as a "cure" and he says by using the implant I'm just treating the symptoms and the adrenal gland will continue to get worse. I however feel that if his hair is regrowing with no intervention that I'd rather get him the implant for this year, reassess him in 8-12 months and possibly do surgery then. Right now I *could* financially afford the surgery, however it would be far easier to pay for the implant IF he doesnt need the surgery immediately and it gives me time to save money for it. I just shelled out over 1000 this month in vet trips already for routine care lol.
He ofcourse comes first, no matter what.. I have 14 ferrets right now, 6 of them I adopted last month and they are all 3 years old atleast.. so I'm sure this my first, but surely not going to be the last experience with adrenal disease. However poor Auggie is only 2 years old, so its going to be something we will have to deal with for quite sometime.
I wish I knew the future and what was best, surgery sounds great in theory.. but I worried he might die on the table, or he might have complications recovering, or that it might just come back in 6 months. >,<
Post by mustelidmusk on Nov 15, 2010 23:12:23 GMT -5
OK, These are all real/valid concerns.
I'm hoping I can provide you with some info here that will help you with you decision-making process ---- of course every animal is different, so there are NEVER any guarantees.
My brats are late alter. the only signs of adrenal they have ever displayed is "over-grooming" and rat tails. The first episode of rat tail was when they were 3. (Shaman was 2.5 and had rat tail that year as well). this year only the girls had rat that (they are > 5.5 now) at the age of 4, I did blood work and found slightly elevated estradiol in Tomichi, and slightly elevated androtenedione In kachina in early Spring LAS Tyear. I gave Lupron (5 months of lupron) and they returned to being "in-range" during the fall which is when hormones should be low. I stopped the lupron as recommended by Dr. Johnson-Delaney's publication. I retested in Spring, and we were higher than Spring last year. I gave more Lupron and it was not helping.
It had been over a year and a half since I had confirmed them as "adrenal". AT this point, many ferret people and vets would not believe they were adrenal (very minor and questionable symptoms) except for the fact that I had blood work. The girls are > 5.5, and they're still good surgical candidates. I felt that waiting too long might eliminate surgery as an option, and they were already adrenal for over a year and a half. SO the plan was to do the surgery and try to preserve the remaining gland with Suprelorin.
So here is the medical view point/theory coupled with experience -both my experience and my vet's experience.....
To date, the only proven medical knowledge is as follows:
1. FACT: Surgery is the only "cure" in that it's the only known and reliable way to eliminate diseased tissue. However, removing diseased tissue does not eliminate the root cause of the problem - the pituitary still continues to send "make hormone" signals to the body. Any remaining adrenal tissue will continue to respond to these signals. If NO adrenal tissue remains, adipose tissue (i.e., fat) in which the adrenals were once embedded may begin to produce hormones in response to the continued signals from the brain.
Trends: 1. Adrenal disease commonly affects only the left gland. once the left gland is removed,the right gland seems to become diseased within the next 6 months to a year later.
Potentially misleading information: 1. once a ferret stops responding to melatonin, lupron, or deslorelin, the ferret has cancer that has grown beyond control of the drug. Although this is true in many cases, it is not true in all cases. The fact that my ferrets no longer responded to the lupron did influence my decision to do surgery since becoming unresponsive to medications is a sign that adrenal disease MAY be advanced. In the case of my 2 girls, this was NOT the case - neither had cancer.
Other Stuff: 1. some have found that females that do NOT have surgery live longer than those that do. However, no studies have been done on this. It's possible that the females that get the surgery and live shorter lives may be the ones that are simply early onset and are hit harder to begin with - the disease may just hit them harder so they are the ones who get the surgery. We have no proof either way.
So, I monitored my girls closely. Since the disease was progressing but still early, I assumed only one gland would be affected. The goal was to remove the diseased gland before it became cancerous. But removal too soon might push the remaining gland into early failure, so I wanted to wait as long as possible before doing surgery.... The other part of the plan was to give the deslorelin implant hoping to protect the remaining gland from becoming diseased.
Do your research. I will never put a ferret through an adrenal surgery again. I've heard too many of them having a recurrence within as little as a few months after surgery and loosing them...well that's a possibility that is quite high. I've lost more than a couple of ferrets to surgery, the risk is there and it's high. I know that vets who see ferrets on a regular basis and do the surgery a lot are better at it. My vet prefers chemical vs surgery. We don't see enough ferrets up here to become really proficient. Surgery isn't a cure either, it only postpones the inevitable which is all that happens with the drugs too. Adrenal is an inevitable outcome of ferrets who are altered and live in a house with their humans. ciao
Post by mustelidmusk on Nov 15, 2010 23:24:19 GMT -5
Heather is correct. Unless your vet is a serious ferret/small animal surgeon, surgery can be VERY risky. My vet is credited by Dr. Bruce Williams in the 15-year anniversary edition of the AFR (AFA publication) as the first to do a successful resection of the vena cava with right adrenal gland surgery. He has been formally recognized for his work on ferrets, rabbits, and rats.
From listening to him and the vet tech it sounds like he has a decent amount of clients, but I wouldnt say for sure that he could do this surgery with his eyes closed.
He did say that they use laser surgery and that if the right gland was diseased that he recommended injecting it with alcohol to kill it rather than try to remove it.. which makes me think maybe he doesnt do that surgery in particular alot. They are extremely nice and I know he wants to do what is best, It's not that I don't trust them but I just worry about the pain and the chance of death. Auggie was fed a steady diet of cheap catfood.. he was for sale on craigslist and we wanted another boy, the pictures they sent made him look thin but healthy, but when we met in person I saw just how bad of a situation he was in. He had fleas, he was skinny and most of his fur was gone, he had a very very tiny cage, not even big enough for a kitten.. it had nothing in it but a small food bowl, no water, no litterbox.. just shredded newspaper, no toys, no hammock.. nada. I almost cried right there He's such a sweet boy.
I think I'm going to ask for the implant and see how he does. I know I should probably do surgery but a year will hopefully give us time to get his weight up more and maybe be a little healthier.
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2010 12:55:41 GMT -5 by acodlin
Personally, and remember this is only one opinion. Considering the description you have given us about the state of Auggie when you got him, I would never put him through the stress of surgery. Remember this only my opinion. The long term damage caused by stress of neglect and malnourishment reaches far into their lives and taints their ability to recuperate and handle the difficulties of surgery. ciao
Post by sherrylynne on Nov 16, 2010 13:37:06 GMT -5
I've got 3 adrenal kids right now. After checking a few things out, I've decided against surgery for all 3 of them. Odds of recurrence are too high for my liking. Unless something comes up that makes it unavoidable, like if Zeus' prostate starts enlarging past the point where medication can help him.
Post by mustelidmusk on Nov 16, 2010 19:50:01 GMT -5
My implants took about 3 weeks to arrive after the order was in. (I forgot to answer your question - the implant was given Mid August this year (not june/july like I initially remembered - incorrectly). So the implants have not been in long at all.
My vet uses the old fashioned knife. Although he has been credited with doing the first successful right adrenal surgeries that required resection of the vena cava, he decided after doing a few of the surgeries that he will never do that surgery under any circumstances. It's possible to do the surgery, but the ferrets just don't thrive thereafter. He de-bulks the right gland as much as possible. The right gland tissue will attach to the vena cava over time. So it's common for a little bit of tumor tissue to be left behind. However, adrenal tumors (even canerous ones) tend to be slow growing.
Some vets do the cryosurgery or alcohol thing to kill the tumor. My vet feels removing the tissue is better than having necrotic tissue hanging around. I also found a sudy stating that cryosurgery patients did not do as well as knife patients. I posted the reference here - I'll see if I can find it.
Please note that the post surgery survival rates are not that high in general. I expect that some of this has to do with people not recognizing the disease until later stages in older ferrets that have other issues as well.
Auggie is so adorable. I can tell he's super sweet just by looking at him . He looks as though he may have had adrenal issues for a while. His fur loss is consistent with a moderate case of adrenal disease. He seems to have adrenal-looking skin with a prominent spine (i.e., thin skin and less muscle tone) coupled with fat pads on the inside of the hind legs/lower tummy area. Two seems a bit young for a ferret to be showing moderate adrenal issues; However, it is possible. Also, he may just look "more adrenal" than he really is because he's been on a cheap cat food diet.
It's very common for people to lie about the age of the animal they're giving up because it's easier to find a home for a younger animal. Did the vet do a full check-up inspecting teeth , and everything else? Did the vet feel that two is an accurate assessment of Augie's age?
Since you don't know Auggie's real history, I would definitely not rush him in to surgery. You'll want to assess his overall health, etc. Even two-year old ferrets need to be in good shape for surgery. I'm thinking that since the fur is returning already, the deslorelin will probably help a lot.
I still have no idea if surgery was the best thing for my girls. If I had known the glands were going to heal to at least some degree, I would have waited longer before doing the surgery. But, you have to make decisions based upon what information you have at the time