What is Ferret Insulinoma?

by amy brockman · 2 comments

Courtesy of Odenosuku, Flikr

Insulinoma is a common ailment in ferrets. Insulinomas are growths that occur on the pancreas of the ferret. These growths release insulin, causing the ferret to suffer from hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This is a very serious condition that can lead to death if not treated.

Some ferrets do not show any symptoms while others may exhibit any of the following:

  • lethargy and weakness
  • decrease in appetite
  • weight loss
  • increased salivation
  • glazed appearance to the eyes
  • seizures

These symptoms might come and go over a period of months.


For ferrets in otherwise healthy condition, surgery is the normal treatment and tumor nodules that are found on the pancreas are removed, helping to prolong survival time. Some ferrets will need medical treatment even after surgery.

Ferrets for whom surgery is not an option are usually given Prednisone (cortisone) or other medications twice a day. These medications help raise the blood glucose level without stimulating excess secretion of insulin like foods high in sugar and can be effective at controlling symptoms of the disease for months or even years.

Some ferrets will continue to need treatment with medication even after surgery.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Datherine October 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Right on-this helped me sort tihngs right out.


amy brockman October 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Thanks for the comment, Datherine. I’m please to know my post was helpful.


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