Eric the Ferret has an unusual weakness

Eric is a cheeky little five year old ferret. He came to see us this month as he had experienced a few episodes of becoming very weak, rather than being his usual energetic self.

On examination Eric looked pretty healthy. We did some blood tests which showed that his glucose levels were very low and he had insulin levels about 20 times the normal limit. These findings pointed towards Eric having an Insulinoma.

Insulinomas are growths that occur on the pancreas. As the name suggests, these growths cause an overproduction of insulin, which in turn results in glucose levels decreasing- the same scenario as if a diabetic patient injects themselves with too much insulin. The low glucose level can cause a range of symptoms, ranging from mild weakness to seizures.

In dogs, insulinomas are not uncommon. In this species the growth often spreads to other areas of the body causing severe illness. The good news in ferrets is that insulinomas much less commonly spread to other areas of the body and can usually be well managed with medication.

Eric has started treatment for his insulinoma and we look forward to seeing him getting back to his normal self in no time.