ash

I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that I found out a week or so ago that Ash (the ferret) has adrenal gland disease. He had a blood test done that confirmed it, although I figured it was with the loss of hair. In just two weeks, he’s gone from having a bald tail to being mostly bald. There are two treatment options: surgery, which would cost about $1000 – $1500 or montly Lupron injections. I’m not completely sure on the price of this…she called early in the morning and I wasn’t really awake. She said something about $65 a month and something about buying a bottle of it for $150…I don’t know if that would still be $65 a month or not. She recommended the Lupron, but it’s not a cure, just a treatment…so I’m not sure why.
The problem is…I can’t afford this. I make about $500 a month and all but about $50 goes to bills already. I already have almost $5000 on my credit card from various vet bills and my medical and dental bills. I still haven’t recieved the bills for my physical therapy, but I know it’s going to be about a $1000 at least. So that’s $6000 I owe when I only make $8000 a year. When I first got the ferret, I was working full-time and could afford high vet bills…now I can’t.
I feel very bad saying this, but I don’t really want to keep him anymore. For almost a year now I’ve broken out in a rash whenever I touch him, so I don’t touch him unless necessary. Whether this is related to the adrenal disease, I don’t know. It started months before he started showing symptoms. I also just have a hard enough time taking care of myself now, let alone a ferret. Ferrets are very high-maintence, unlike my cats. As I said in my last entry, I’m always tired and sore with no energy.
The thing is, I can’t see myself dropping a sick ferret off at a ferret shelter…it just doesn’t seem right. But I don’t have the energy to devote the attention to him that he needs.
Advice, please?

  • is this disease terminal? is he going to waste away, gradually losing his hair and getting sicker and sicker? is there no way to cure it forever?

    if so, this may sound heartless, but you may want to consider putting him to sleep. I never like to advocate putting pets down unless necessary. terrible illnesses that will make the remainder of the pet’s life miserable, though… it’s not very fair to make the pet live that way, you know? if it were Bink or Sirius in this situation I would cry my eyes out – I can’t bear the thought of losing them. but the thought of making them live in pain is worse.

    I don’t know. if that’s not an option, you can see if there’s anywhere that could take Ash, sickness and all. maybe a ferret shelter could help, like you were thinking. I’m not sure.

    when we couldn’t care for Penny, we found her a good home with someone who had always wanted a hedgehog. (the move to Oregon might have killed her – shock and all that) maybe there’s someone like that for Ash too?

  • Aww, poor ash, and poor you!! That’s so sad. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is to put them to sleep if they are sick, or to find them a new home. Maybe joe could take ash to a new home for you, so it wouldn’t be as hard?

  • The disease isn’t exactly terminal (unless it’s malignant tumors). Some ferrets can live just fine with the disease, others have complications. The surgery can cure the disease, but it could come back in the other gland. The Lupron as I said doesn’t cure it, just makes the symptoms go away. Off and on, Ash has a couple days where he gags and throws up and doesn’t eat or go to the bathroom really…the vet had said it might be from excessive grooming from the itchyness (the disease makes them itchy). He was fine for the past two months, but just the other day he started again.
    Mom said I should have him put to sleep…but the thing in the vet never mentioned it and I’d feel odd suggesting it, you know? Most people who own ferrets have the surgery done…it’s a very common ferret disease. I wish I knew someone who could take him.

  • I think a new home would probably be best…if I knew where I could take him where he’d get treated and could be around other ferrets to play with.

  • you could try putting an ad in the paper, maybe?

    and if it comes down to it, you can go to the vet and say “I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I can’t afford the treatments for Ash but I don’t want him to have to live like this anymore. I would like to put him to sleep and relieve him of his suffering.” that way it doens’t look like you want to kill ferrets for the heck of it (because I know you don’t!)

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