This is a very serious condition that can lead to coma and death if not treated. Ferrets are generally at risk when they reach three or more years of age. If your ferret seems to be sleeping more than usual, lays on the floor and is non-responsive for a brief period of time, has a loss of appetite or has any of the symptoms listed above, you should have blood work performed by your veterinarian as soon as possible.
If your ferret appears to be having a seizure, try rubbing a very small amount of Karo syrup on his or her gums. If it is a hypoglycemic seizure, they will usually snap out of it rather quickly. It is very important to immediately take your ferret to the veterinarian after such a seizure. Giving your ferret the syrup is only a temporary fix. Your ferret's body will begin to produce more insulin to break down the sugar you just gave to him/her. He or she will be at great risk for having a second seizure and could go into a coma and die. Your veterinarian can give your ferret treatment to stabilize the blood sugar.
Treatments for insulinomas are generally surgery and medication. Unfortunately, insulinomas tend to grow back in as fast as a few months. Medication (such as Prednisolone) can help keep your ferret's blood sugar stable. There are currently no cures for insulinomas. Although they tend to be isolated to the pancreas, there have been cases where cancerous insulinomas have metastasized to other organs. Initial surgery, medication, and feeding your affected ferret frequent small high protein meals can extend their life by a year or more.
Although the cause for insulinomas is not known, there is some speculation as to why they occur. There seems to be a high incidence of insulinomas occurring at the same time as adrenal disease. This could mean that there may be a relationship between the two conditions. Diseases of the pancreas may also be linked to the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates a ferret consumes.
To help prevent insulinomas, feed your ferret a good high protein, low sugar, low simple carbohydrate diet. Avoid feeding your ferret any treats that contain sugar. While feeding your ferrets a proper diet will not guarantee they won't get insulinomas, it is a good way to ensure good overall health.
Lymphoma in Ferrets Gastrointestinal Disorders in Ferrets Adrenal Disease Caring for a Sick Ferret Vaccination Information
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The information provided in this section is not intended to be used in place of proper veterinary care. This web site contains the opinions of the writer. The reader of this site must use this information at his or her own risk.