Effects of melatonin administration on the clinical course of adrenocortical disease in domestic ferrets

Jan C. Ramer, Keith G. Benson, James K. Morrisey, Robert T. O'Brien, Joanne Paul-Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective - To evaluate the effect of oral administration of melatonin on clinical signs, tumor size, and serum steroid hormone concentrations in ferrets with adrenocortical disease. Design - Noncontrolled clinical trial. Animals - 10 adult ferrets with clinical signs of adrenocortical disease (confirmed via serum steroid hormone concentration assessments). Procedures - Melatonin (0.5 mg) was administered orally to ferrets once daily for 1 year. At 4-month intervals, a complete physical examination; abdominal ultrasonographic examination (including adrenal gland measurement); CBC; serum biochemical analyses; and assessment of serum estradiol, androstenedione, and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone concentrations were performed. Serum prolactin and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate concentrations were evaluated at the first, second, and last examinations, and serum cortisol concentration was evaluated at the first and last examinations. Results - Daily oral administration of melatonin greatly affected clinical signs of adrenocortical disease in ferrets; changes included hair regrowth, decreased pruritus, increased activity level and appetite, and decreased vulva or prostate size. Mean width of the abnormally large adrenal glands was significantly increased after the 12-month treatment period. Recurrence of clinical signs was detected in 6 ferrets at the 8-month evaluation. Compared with pretreatment values, serum 17α- hydroxyprogesterone and prolactin concentrations were significantly increased and decreased after 12 months, respectively. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Results suggest that melatonin is a useful, easily administered, palliative treatment to decrease clinical signs associated with adrenocortical disease in ferrets, and positive effects of daily treatment were evident for at least an 8-month period. Oral administration of melatonin did not decrease adrenal gland tumor growth in treated ferrets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1743-1748
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Volume229
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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