On Friday, my sweet Tankman got his first Deslorelin implant in order to treat his adrenal gland disease. I’m hoping to see longer-lasting results than he would get with Lupron, and because Lupron can be extremely expensive here ($175/month,) Deslorelin is already a cheaper option, even if it only gives him relief on the short-end of the 6-18 months it’s been known to last.
Before Tank, my sweet Pilot was adrenal, and we used a combination of melatonin implants and oral pre- and post- operation. She also had a left adrenalectomy. She came through surgery beautifully and healed up quickly, and the effects of her adrenal gland disease disappeared for about a year. But they did begin showing up again, and by that time, she was elderly and losing most of her faculties as it was, so we opted to keep her comfortable with melatonin. However, I don’t think I’ll ever do surgery on an adrenal ferret ever again, simply knowing the difficulty of removing the right adrenal gland being as it is, and how many ferrets develop symptoms again. The surgery itself did seem to change Pilot’s overall wellness, and though she healed up quickly and easily, her personality was forever different. Whether this was the fault of the surgery, the adrenal gland disease itself, or something else entirely, I can’t know for sure. All I know is that the playful, goofy, happy-go-lucky girl I knew was less sociable, seemed less interested in toys and games, and was no longer the bouncy, silly girl she had been. Pilot ultimately was helped to the bridge in February of 2011 after experiencing a seizure or stroke that left her immobilized, in pain, and barely responsive. I don’t believe the incident to be related in any way to her adrenal gland disease.
Besides being expensive ($700+), surgery seemed to be an even more temporary fix, and when Pilot’s right gland became diseased, it affected her far more severely than before. At the time, Lupron and Deslorelin were completely unavailable in my region of the country, and though I did consult with some veterinarians in Pennsylvania about possibly treating her, it didn’t end up following through simply because my travel plans were sporadic.
Melatonin helped her regrow her fur and put on healthy weight pre-op, as well as keep that weight post-op, but again, it did not really treat the disease at its core. However, the melatonin implants were cheap, and readily available. The options at that time in my ferrenthood were extremely limited, so that seemed like the most beneficial and appropriate path. But with the options I now have, surgery and melatonin aren’t even on my radar anymore.
What treatments have you used for adrenal gland disease? What worked the best? What didn’t work or what would you not choose to do again? It is interesting to me to see the variances in availability of some products and treatments, and the trends between regions.