Pancreatic Tumor in Ferrets



Your pet will be hospitalized for examination, surgery, and possibly for treatment; however, you will decide whether or not surgery is an option. If you choose to proceed with the surgery, the ferret may be treated as an outpatient. If it is only showing mild signs of hypoglycemia, the animal may respond well to dextrose or glucose fluids (or supplements).

Diet is the first and most important aspect of management (with or without surgery). Therefore, if the ferret is still able to eat, a special diet may replace dextrose-containing fluids. Four to six small meals given daily and consisting of low simple sugars, such as honey or syrups, and high-quality animal proteins should be enough alleviate symptoms. Alternatively, mild signs may be abated with low simple sugars and one small, high-protein meal; avoid using semi-moist food.

If collapse or seizures occur, you should seek immediate medical attention. Insulinomas are progressive, even with surgical treatment, as the complete removal of all nodules is rarely possible. However, surgery will confirm the diagnosis and can provide temporary (and occasionally, long-term) remission of the tumor(s).




For early detection of insulinoma, annual (or semiannual) measurement of a ferret's blood glucose concentration is recommended if it is over the age two.


Living and Management


Some ferrets will develop short-term (or transient) hyperglycemia after surgery and treatment. However, the hyperglycemia usually resolves itself within one to two weeks. At home, the urine must be monitored for glucose two to three times daily for a week following treatment. And the veterinarian will want to monitor fasting serum glucose concentration two weeks after surgery (or when medical therapy begins), then every one to three months thereafter.


It is also important to restrict the activity of your ferret during its recovery.