Updated November 30th, 2020
Is your ferret’s coat getting thin or mangy? Adrenal tumours or enlargement may be the most common cause of hair loss in middle-aged or old ferrets.
What Causes Ferrets To Lose Their Hair?
The number one cause is enlargement of one or both of the adrenal glands, producing too much of their hormone. Unlike dogs, who get cushings disease from excess cortisol, ferrets with enlarged adrenals usually have an excess of reproductive (sex) hormones.
Therefore, the symptoms of adrenal disease in ferrets include:
- Symmetrical hair loss
- Enlarged vulva in females
- Weight loss
The hair loss can take over a year to go from patchy thinning of the coat to bald areas to complete baldness.
There aren’t any other common causes of such extreme amounts of hair being lost, but some normal males can lose some hair from the tail only.
Diagnosis of Adrenal Tumours
At Walkerville Vet, we diagnose adrenal disease via an ultrasound examination. Measurement and inspection of the adrenal glands allows us to determine if these are the cause of the problem.
We can also decide if the enlargement is benign or malignant.
When in doubt we can also add blood testing.
Treatment of Adrenal Enlargement
We advise medical treatment, and try to avoid surgical removal of adrenals due to the risks associated with surgery. Most recently, we have been using a long-acting implant to treat the effects of high hormone levels with promising results.