Objective—To determine whether results of cytologic evaluation of preputial epithelial cells correspond to results of a serum endocrine hormone assay and clinical signs associated with adrenocortical disease in castrated ferrets.
Animals—13 clinically normal ferrets and 8 ferrets with signs of adrenocortical disease.
Procedures—Blood and preputial lavage samples were collected from each ferret. Serum samples were submitted to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for performance of an endocrine hormone assay. Differential epithelial cell counts were performed on preputial lavage samples to determine the percentage of cornified cells. Results of cytologic evaluation were compared with results of the endocrine hormone assay and clinical status of ferrets.
Results—The percentage of cornified preputial epithelial cells was not significantly correlated with serum 17B-estradiol or androstenedione concentration but was significantly correlated with serum 17-hydroxyprogesterone concentration (r = 0.60). The percentage of cornified preputial epithelial cells was higher in ferrets with clinical signs of adrenocortical disease (mean ± SD, 71.3 ± 16.9%) than in clinically normal ferrets (55.5 ± 19.0%).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cornification of preputial epithelial cells was correlated with an increase in serum 17-hydroxyprogesterone concentration as well as clinical signs of adrenocortical disease in castrated ferrets. Additional investigation is needed to elucidate the mechanism of preputial epithelial cell cornification in castrated ferrets.