Objective—To determine the long-term survival rate and factors that affect survival time of domestic ferrets treated surgically for hyperadrenocorticism.
Study Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—130 ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism that were treated surgically.
Procedures—Medical records of ferrets surgically treated for hyperadrenocorticism were reviewed. Data recorded included signalment, duration of clinical signs prior to hospital admission, CBC values, serum biochemical analysis results, anesthetic time, surgical time, concurrent diseases, adrenal gland affected (right, left, or both [bilateral]), histopathologic diagnosis, surgical procedure, caudal vena caval involvement (yes or no), postoperative melena (yes or no), days in hospital after surgery, and whether clinical signs of hyperadrenocorticism developed after surgery.
Results—130 ferrets were entered in the study (11 of 130 ferrets were admitted and underwent surgery twice). The 1- and 2-year survival rates were 98% and 88%, respectively. A 50% survival rate was never reached. Combined partial adrenal gland resection with cryosurgery had a significantly negative effect on survival time. No other risk factors were identified. Survival time was not significantly affected by either histopathologic diagnosis or specific affected adrenal gland (right, left, or bilateral).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ferrets with adrenal gland masses that were treated surgically had a good prognosis. Survival time of ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism undergoing surgery was not affected by the histologic characteristic of the tumor, the adrenal glands affected (right, left, or bilateral), or complete versus partial adrenal gland resection. Debulking was a sufficient surgical technique to allow a favorable long-term outcome when complete excision was not possible.
Case Description—A 20-year-old sexually intact female African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) was evaluated to determine the cause of lethargy, hyporexia, weight loss, and persistent ascites of 21 days' duration.
Clinical Findings—Physical examination revealed a markedly distended abdomen and systolic heart murmur. Thoracic radiography revealed cardiomegaly and hepatomegaly. Doppler echocardiography revealed severe eccentric and concentric hypertrophy of the right ventricle with systolic dysfunction, moderate regurgitation through the right atrioventricular valve, a substantial increase in estimated systolic pulmonary arterial pressure, hepatic venous congestion, and coelomic effusion. A clinical diagnosis of chronic cor pulmonale was established.
Treatment and Outcome—The parrot was initially stabilized by use of coelomocentesis. During the next month, the parrot was treated by administration of furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone, benazepril, and pimobendan. The parrot appeared to be responding well to treatment but was found dead in its cage 35 days following initial examination. Postmortem examination revealed substantial atherosclerosis of the large pulmonary arteries, with lesions extending into the medium-size arteries. Pulmonary atherosclerosis was suspected as a cause of the severe pulmonary hypertension.
Clinical Relevance—Although atherosclerosis most commonly affects the systemic and coronary arteries of parrots, sclerotic changes within the pulmonary vasculature should be considered as a possible cause of pulmonary hypertension and as a differential diagnosis for right-sided congestive heart failure in psittacine species.