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Insulin glargine treatment of a ferret with diabetes mellitus

Laurie Hess DVM, DABVP1
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  • 1 Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics, 709 Bedford Rd, Bedford Hills, NY 10507.

Abstract

Case Description—A 7.5-year-old spayed female ferret was evaluated because of weight loss despite a good appetite. Pancreatic insulinoma had been diagnosed at another animal hospital on the basis of detection of low blood glucose concentration on 1 occasion; however, concurrent determination of blood insulin concentration was not performed. The ferret had been treated SC with methylprednisolone acetate (unknown dosage) every 30 days for 2 years. No follow-up data regarding blood glucose concentration were available.

Clinical Findings—On physical examination, the ferret was thin (weight, 0.619 kg [1.36 lb]) and bruised easily. Serum biochemical analysis revealed hyperglycemia (blood glucose concentration, 855 mg/dL; reference range, 63 to 134 mg/dL).

Treatment and Outcome—Glucocorticoid injections were discontinued, and the ferret was administered prednisolone (1.13 mg/kg [0.51 mg/lb], q 12 h for 14 days, then 0.56 mg/kg [0.25 mg/lb], q 12 h for 7 days) orally. After prednisolone administration was discontinued, hyperglycemia and weight loss persisted. The ferret was administered insulin glargine (0.5 U) SC; blood glucose concentration was monitored every 2 hours for 24 hours, at which time the value had decreased to nearly within reference range. The owner continued insulin glargine administration at that dose every 12 hours; after 77 days of treatment, the ferret's weight was 0.731 kg (1.61 lb), which was considered normal, and blood glucose concentration was within reference range.

Clinical Relevance—Regular SC administration of insulin glargine was successful in the treatment of diabetes mellitus in the ferret of this report and may be effective for other diabetic ferrets.

Abstract

Case Description—A 7.5-year-old spayed female ferret was evaluated because of weight loss despite a good appetite. Pancreatic insulinoma had been diagnosed at another animal hospital on the basis of detection of low blood glucose concentration on 1 occasion; however, concurrent determination of blood insulin concentration was not performed. The ferret had been treated SC with methylprednisolone acetate (unknown dosage) every 30 days for 2 years. No follow-up data regarding blood glucose concentration were available.

Clinical Findings—On physical examination, the ferret was thin (weight, 0.619 kg [1.36 lb]) and bruised easily. Serum biochemical analysis revealed hyperglycemia (blood glucose concentration, 855 mg/dL; reference range, 63 to 134 mg/dL).

Treatment and Outcome—Glucocorticoid injections were discontinued, and the ferret was administered prednisolone (1.13 mg/kg [0.51 mg/lb], q 12 h for 14 days, then 0.56 mg/kg [0.25 mg/lb], q 12 h for 7 days) orally. After prednisolone administration was discontinued, hyperglycemia and weight loss persisted. The ferret was administered insulin glargine (0.5 U) SC; blood glucose concentration was monitored every 2 hours for 24 hours, at which time the value had decreased to nearly within reference range. The owner continued insulin glargine administration at that dose every 12 hours; after 77 days of treatment, the ferret's weight was 0.731 kg (1.61 lb), which was considered normal, and blood glucose concentration was within reference range.

Clinical Relevance—Regular SC administration of insulin glargine was successful in the treatment of diabetes mellitus in the ferret of this report and may be effective for other diabetic ferrets.

Contributor Notes

The author thanks Melissa Ortiz and Jessica Eisenberg for data collection and input.

Address correspondence to Dr. Hess (lhess@avianexoticsvet.com).