Ferrets' blog

A blog with news about my ferrets: Tata, Izzie and Liira. There will also be reminiscense about Tenchi, Adric, Ker Avon, Ryo-Ohki, Nyssa, Lady Ayeka, Romana, Pertwee, Podo, Kodo, Ella, Zephyr and Chin Soon, all of whom are gone now.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chin Soon Update: Insulinoma and Adrenal Disease

Last Tuesday I made the three hour drive to get Chin Soon to a vet I really trust: Dr. Lauren Powers at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Huntersville.

During the entire time I've been in North Carolina and have owned ferrets Dr. Powers has always been our backup vet, the one Dr. Hudson would send us to when he wanted a second opinion or the one we went to when there was an emergency and a local vet simply wasn't available. She's an outstanding vet with a fantastic reputation in the ferret community but she is just plain far from home. The net result is that she always sees our ferrets when they are on death's door. OK, Pertwee lived for another four years after his visit with Dr. Powers but he wasn't expected to. It was nice, for once, to have Dr. Powers see a ferret she actually could treat. I guess I should point out that Dr. Powers did Ella's entirely successful adrenal surgery more than four years ago. That was a couple of months before I adopted Ella.

Dr. Powers confirmed what I pretty much knew: in addition to insulinoma Chin Soon has adrenal disease. Her nipples are enlarged and her hair loss is starting to look like a classic adrenal pattern. Dr. Powers also said something that Dr. Hudson said to me whenever I caught adrenal disease early: surgery will have to wait a little to make sure that it's clear which adrenal gland is enlarged. The disease has to progress far enough for the surgeon, in this case Dr. Powers, to actually be able to see that one gland is really bigger than the other. Chin Soon is looking at a combined adrenal and insulinoma surgery, essentially the same surgery Lady Ayeka had back in 2004, at a cost of around $900.

Dr. Powers also rechecked Chin Soon's blood glucose. Despite obvious clinical improvement from the pediapred it was still very low: 44. The pediapred dosage was increased to .18ml (5mg/5ml concentation), still less than a fifth of what the nightmare vet wanted to prescribe. Dr. Powers also started Chin Soon on 100mcg of Lupron (the one month depot) to relieve her adrenal symptoms. Lupron worked very well for Podo when his adrenal disease recurred late in his life.

Chin Soon also gained 110 grams in just a week, a side effect of the pediapred. The fact that she is voraciously eating Bob Church's Chicken Gravy twice a day when she gets her medication is almost certainly also contributing. She had actually lost weight this winter due to her illnesses so this weight gain is a good thing.

While the expense of surgery is going to be difficult to meet in the current economic climate at least I know Chin Soon can be treated and is being cared for by a great vet. As I noted in my last post Chin Soon is definitely feeling much better. The net result is that she's bouncing and war dancing and wrestling more. When she plays more Ella and Zephyr get excited and play with her. Things are better all around.

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At 7:10 AM, Blogger Nona said...

Hi Caitlyn

My ferret, Muis, was diagnosed with insulinoma in November and she's now on prednisone.

I heard about Poly-MVA from another ferret owner so managed to get a bottle from a distributor here in Western Australia and have been giving her 1ml every day I'm also giving my other ferrets 0.5ml in their smoothy as a precautionary measure.

So far so good - she put on weight, her fur has turned soft and silky and she's full of beans.

Poly-MVA is not cheap but I reckon that if it gives my old girl a longer time with us and also a better quality of life, then it's worth it.

There's information about the liquid here


I write updates about her condition on my blog so if you're interested in seeing how she's going on that, you can find out on


Hugs to your gang from their new friends down under :)



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