A 4-year-old, 0.78-kg intact male Chinese mink was observed to have bilaterally symmetric alopecia on caudal trunk of the body for 1 year. Physical exam revealed no external parasites or other obvious abnormalities. The serum hormone analysis indicated a normal level of total thyroxine but an elevated level of serum cortisol (5.0 µg/dl) compared with the normal average of male ferrets (0.93±0.63 µg/dl).2 Moreover, a high serum alanine transaminase enzyme value (380 IU/L) was also noted. A fecal glucocorticoid assay, a noninvasive monitoring method of adrenocortical activity, indicated a significantly high fecal cortisol level comparing with European pine martens (Martes martes) and other nondomestic mammalian species.1,4 The average fecal cortisol value for a monitoring period of seven consecutive days was 3380.71±2798.27 ng/g dry feces. Computer tomography was performed, and a high-density image in the left adrenal gland region was clearly identified. A diagnosis of suspected left adrenal gland hypertrophy or neoplasia was made, and surgical resection of the left adrenal gland was undertaken. The resected tissue was submitted for histopathologic diagnosis, and the results showed laminar hyperplasia of zona intermedia and nodular hyperplasia of zona glomerulosa of the adrenal gland. Fecal glucocorticoid assay was performed again 2 months later, and the value had dropped to 2428.19±1197.84 ng/g dry feces. The alopecia slowly resolved and full regeneration of the animal’s normal hair coat was present three months postoperatively. Adrenal gland disease is commonly seen in prematurely neutered domestic ferrets, and stranguria is occasionally seen in affected males.3 However, this Chinese mink is an intact male with no clinical signs except alopecia. Fecal glucocorticoid assay and computer tomography provided persuasive evidence for the diagnosis. The response to adrenalectomy in this case was similar to that seen in domestic ferrets.
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2. Garibaldi BA, Pecquet-Goad ME, Fox JG. Serum cortisol radioimmunoassay values in the normal ferret and response to ACTH and dexamethasone-suppression tests. Lab Anim Sci. 1988;38:452.
3. Rosenthal KL. Adrenal gland disease. In: Hillyer EV, Quesenberry KE, eds. Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Co.;1997:91–92.
4. Wasser SK, Hunt KE, Brown JL, Cooper K, Crockett CM, Bechert U, Millspaugh JJ, Larson S, Monfort SL. A generalized fecal glucocorticoid assay for use in a diverse array of nondomestic mammalian and avian species. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2000;120:260–275.