Adrenal disease is a common condition in ferrets, particularly those that are middle-aged or older. It occurs when the adrenal glands, which are located near the kidneys, produce too much of certain hormones. The most common hormones produced in excess are estrogen, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, and androgen, which can cause a ferret to become very aggressive.
Symptoms of adrenal disease in ferrets can include hair loss, particularly on the tail, hindquarters, and back; swollen vulva or prostate gland; itching; aggression; and lethargy. In some cases, the disease may not cause any symptoms at all.
A newer treatment option that has been shown to be effective is the use of suprelorin implants. These implants release a hormone called deslorelin, which suppresses the production of sex hormones in the adrenal glands. This can help alleviate symptoms of adrenal disease and improve a ferret's quality of life.
It's important to note that suprelorin implants do not cure adrenal disease, but they can manage the symptoms of the condition. The implants typically need to be replaced every 12 to 18 months, as the effects wear off over time. It's also important for ferrets with adrenal disease to have regular check-ups with a veterinarian to monitor their condition and ensure that any other health issues are addressed.
In addition to medical management, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent adrenal disease in ferrets. These include providing a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding stressful situations. Early detection and management of adrenal disease can also help improve a ferret's prognosis and overall quality of life.