Objective—To determine plasma concentrations of
adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and
α-melanocyte stimulating-hormone (α-MSH) in
healthyferrets and ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism.
Animals—16 healthy, neutered, privately owned ferrets,
28 healthy laboratory ferrets (21 sexually intact
and 7 neutered), and 28 ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism.
Procedures—Healthy ferrets were used for determination
of reference plasma concentrations of ACTH
and α-MSH. Diagnosis of hyperadrenocorticism was
made on the basis of history, clinical signs, urinary
corticoid-to-creatinine ratios, ultrasonography of the
adrenal glands, and macroscopic or microscopic evaluation
of the adrenal glands. Blood samples were collected
during isoflurane anesthesia. Plasma concentrations
of ACTH and α-MSH were measured by
Results—Plasma concentrations of ACTH in 23
healthy neutered ferrets during the breeding season
ranged from 4 to 145 ng/L (median, 50 ng/L).
Plasma concentrations of α-MSH in 44 healthy
neutered or sexually intact ferrets during the breeding
season ranged from < 5 to 617 ng/L (median, 37
ng/L). Reference values (the central 95% of the values)
for ACTH and α-MSH were 13 to 100 ng/L and
8 to 180 ng/L, respectively. Plasma concentrations
of ACTH and α-MSH in ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism
ranged from 1 to 265 ng/L (median, 45
ng/L) and 10 to 148 ng/L (median, 46 ng/L), respectively.
These values were not significantly different
from those of healthy ferrets. Plasma ACTH concentrations
of sexually intact female ferrets in
estrus were significantly higher than those of
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ferrets
with hyperadrenocorticism did not have
detectable abnormalities in plasma concentrations
of ACTH or α-MSH. The findings suggest
that hyperadrenocorticism in ferrets is an ACTH
and α-MSH-independent condition.—(Am J Vet
Objective—To determine prevalence of hyperadrenocorticism
in ferrets in The Netherlands and evaluate
age, sex, and age at neutering in affected ferrets.
Design—Prevalence survey and retrospective study.
Animals—50 ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism and
1,267 ferrets without hyperadrenocorticism.
Procedure—A questionnaire was sent to 1,400 members
of a ferret-owners organization in The
Netherlands; 492 (35%) owners returned the questionnaire,
providing usable data on 1,274 ferrets.
Seven of these ferrets developed hyperadrenocorticism
during the survey period; medical records for
these ferrets and 43 ferrets with confirmed
hyperadrenocorticism were reviewed. Hyperadrenocorticism
was confirmed by histologic examination of
an excised adrenal gland (92% of ferrets) or clinical
improvement after excision.
Results—Prevalence of hyperadrenocorticism in the
survey population was 0.55%. Sex was not associated
with prevalence of disease. Median time interval
between neutering and diagnosis of hyperadrenocorticism
was 3.5 years. A significant linear correlation
between age at neutering and age at time of diagnosis
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Age at neutering
may be associated with age at development of
hyperadrenocorticism in ferrets. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc