Ferreting out low blood sugar

By Connie Orcutt • Published: January 1st, 2014
Category: Animal Airwaves

Ferrets are endearing pets, but they often have health issues. One example is a pancreatic tumor called an insulinoma [insulin-Ō-mah].

Cells in the pancreas normally produce insulin to control blood sugar levels. With an insulinoma, some of these cells make too much insulin. The resulting low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can cause a ferret to be weak or wobbly. Many hypoglycemic ferrets also drool, and some collapse or have seizures. Insulinomas can be life-threatening, so any of these signs warrants an immediate trip to the veterinarian.

Insulinomas are common in ferrets over 3 years old. Some insulomas can be removed surgically, curing the disease, but medical treatment can also be helpful. Medications can increase blood sugar levels, and a high-protein diet low in simple sugars also helps.