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Adrenal vs. Insulinoma - what is the difference?

What is adrenal disease and what is insulinoma in ferrets?

by ferretpapa

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I commonly see people mixing up adrenal and insulinoma in ferrets. So what is the difference?

These two diseases are actually not related at all. The only thing they share is that they are very common in older ferrets.

The easiest way to remember which is which is that insulinoma has insulin in the name. Think of insulin as in diabetes treatment, and then you can connect the dots and remember that insulinoma is related to blood sugar.

Insulinoma causes low blood sugar in ferrets. The symptoms include lethargy, nausea, drooling, pawing at the mouth, "star-gazing" (staring off into space with no reaction), stumbling (weakness in the legs), arching the neck backwards, seizures, and screaming. It has been directly linked to poor quality diets.

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What causes insulinoma in ferrets?

There is significant evidence that insulinoma is caused by low protein, high carbohydrate diets. This includes the vast majority of kibbles, with very few exceptions. But don't take my word for... read more

Adrenal is related to the adrenal gland producing excessive hormones. Symptoms include balding, itchiness, excessive grooming of other ferrets, aggression towards other ferrets, swollen vulva in females, and difficulty peeing in males. The cause for adrenal is unknown, but most people believe that it's related to spaying/neutering ferrets when they are too young.

As you can see, the diseases are very different. Hopefully the "insulin" trick will help you remember which is which!

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