Insulinoma is a common disease that affects middle-aged to older ferrets, usually between two to five years old. It’s extremely dangerous and requires medical intervention as soon as the ferret is diagnosed.
If your ferret has insulinoma, he should be given high-protein, high-fat foods to stabilize his condition, like the foods listed in this article.
The Best Ferret Food For Insulinoma
The best ferret food for insulinoma is the Wysong Ferret Epigen 90. It contains 62% crude protein and 16% crude fat, both of which are beneficial for ferrets with insulinoma.
Top 5 Ferret Food for Insulinoma
Here are some of the best ferret foods for insulinoma you can buy today:
- Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 – Best Overall Ferret Food for Insulinoma
Among all the ferret food we’ve looked at, the Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 has the highest amount of meat-based protein at 62%, making it a good option for ferrets suffering from insulinoma. It also has a decent amount of fat at 16%.
The Epigen 90 also contains soluble fibers and omega-3, as well as enhanced pre-biotics that improve digestive health and stool consistency. On top of that, it comes with phytonutrients, nutraceuticals, and natural antioxidants.
This meat-based ferret food is made with five main ingredients, all of which contribute to the Epigen 90’s protein and fat content: organic chicken, chicken meal, chicken giblets, chicken fat, and meat protein isolate.
- High in crude protein and fat
- No grain or starch
- Minimal carbohydrate content
- Above-average cost
- Kaytee Premium Ferret Food With Chicken – Best Cheap Ferret Food for Insulinoma
The Kaytee Premium Ferret Food is guaranteed to have no less than 42% crude protein. It also contains at least 20% crude fat, providing your ferret the proper nutritional building blocks to battle insulinoma.
The Kaytee Premium Ferret Food is grain-free and gluten-free, which we always want to see in ferret food. It’s low in carbohydrates, too; and while we’d rather opt for zero carbohydrates, it’s the next best thing. Unfortunately, commercial ferret food always has a trace amount of carbohydrates, so it can’t be avoided.
Available in four-pound bags, the Kaytee Premium is reasonably priced for the amount you get. It’s certainly more affordable than other premium ferret foods of the same quality.
- Vitamin and fat-enriched formula to support healthy skin and coat.
- Grain-free and gluten-free
- Comes with probiotics and omega-3
- Fewer carbohydrates than other formulas
- Contains pea flour, which may lead to the formation of bladder stones in ferrets
- Marshall Uncle Jim’s Original DUK Soup Mix – Best Supplement for Insulinoma
Uncle Jim’s Original DUK Soup Mix is specifically formulated for ill ferrets. In fact, it’s often used by breeding facilities to treat sick and injured and wild ferrets, as it’s soft to the stomach but contains all the nutrients required for fast recovery.
One of the biggest symptoms of insulinoma is poor appetite, resulting in an alarming drop in weight. Since the DUK Soup Mix is an appetite stimulant, it’s an excellent supplement to mix with your ferrets’ regular food.
If your ferret hasn’t been eating for hours, this soup mix can be used as paste alone for several days until he’s able to return to his regular feeding. It can also be combined with your ferret’s medicine, which will be required if your ferret goes through surgery to treat insulinoma.
Uncle Jim’s Original DUK Soup Mix contains a minimum amount of 34% crude protein and 16% crude fat. Other key elements include Lactobacillus Acidophilus (probiotic), Vitamin A acetate, Vitamin E supplement, and Vitamin A acetate.
- Stimulates appetite
- Contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which improve gut health
- Packed with vitamins and minerals
- Can only be used as a supplement for long-term feeding
- Marshall Carnivore Plus High Protein – Best Ferret Food for Sensitive Stomachs
The Marshall Carnivore Plus is another high-protein ferret food that’s suitable for ferrets with insulinoma. Each pellet contains 40% protein and 17% fat, as well as other ingredients such as Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, and others.
It also includes taurine, which promotes healthy metabolism and is essential in heart health, eye health, and brain health.
This ferret food is grain-free, gluten-free, and wheat-free. Like most commercial ferret food, the Carnivore Plus comes in the form of pellets to assist in the immediate breakdown of food in their digestive system.
- Grain-free, gluten-free, and wheat-free
- Contributes to softer hair
- Made from fresh meats
- Contains pea flour
- Marshall Complete Nutrition Premium Ferret Diet – Best Chicken-Based Ferret Food
The Marshall Premium Ferret Diet is made almost entirely with real chicken. According to the manufacturers, a four-pound bag contains three pounds of chicken, which is good news for our carnivorous ferrets. It contains no less than 36% crude protein and 18% crude fat, making it a sufficiently-balanced meal for ferrets.
However, since the protein content isn’t the highest, we recommend adding a protein-rich supplement or raw meat to your ferret’s food. This way, they’ll receive the high-protein diet they need to tackle insulinoma head-on.
- Made from fresh chicken
- At least 35% crude protein
- Suitable for ferrets of all ages
- Not the highest protein content
What Is Insulinoma?
Insulinoma, also known as pancreatic beta cell tumor, is the abnormal growth and production of tumors in the pancreas, leading to an increase in insulin secretion.
It’s unfortunately common among middle-aged to older ferrets, affecting approximately one in every 10 ferrets. Ferrets develop insulinoma at five years old on average, but it can also occur in ferrets as young as two years old.
Insulinoma comes in two types: insulin-producing adenoma and insulin-producing adenocarcinoma. The tumors produced in adenoma are benign, while the tumors produced in adenocarcinoma are malignant.
Diagnosing insulinoma is often difficult, as most ferrets with insulinomas produce normal insulin levels the day they’re tested. Therefore, it’s necessary to take several separate samples to check and recheck the status of the ferret’s insulin and glucose level over time. This may take anywhere between several days to several weeks.
Ferrets with insulinoma have been observed to have enlarged spleens, so x-rays can be performed to check the status of the ferret’s internal organs. It can also be used to check if there are tumors in the pancreas, but the tumors are often too small to see in x-rays.
Some of the biggest symptoms of insulinoma in ferrets are as follows:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Abnormal weight loss
- Visible tremors
- Sudden collapse
- “Stargazing” behavior; i.e., would freeze and stare off into space
- Low blood sugar
Insulinoma can be treated through the surgical removal of the pancreatic tumor. Unfortunately, as it’s near-impossible to remove all tumor cells with surgery, insulinoma will eventually recur within months or sometimes weeks after surgery.
Ferrets diagnosed with insulinoma have anywhere between six months to two years to live.
How to Take Care of a Ferret With Insulinoma
Insulinoma is a serious condition that must be treated promptly through surgery.
Without immediate treatment, ferrets with the disease will ceaselessly suffer. They’ll experience seizures, tremors, weakness, and depression, which will eventually lead to coma and death in under three months.
It’s not something you want your furry baby to go through in his final moments.
Regardless of whether your ferret has undergone surgery or not, here are some tips to follow when taking care of a ferret diagnosed with insulinoma:
- Administer the prescribed medication as directed by your veterinarian.
- Feed your ferret high-quality protein, high-fat snacks after exercise or play, or if you feel that he’s experiencing stress or depression.
- Record all episodes of hypoglycemia (lethargy, weakness, pawing at the mouth, drooling, etc.) as this will help your vet evaluate the effectiveness of the given medication.
- Unless advised otherwise by your vet, give your ferret a bit of corn syrup or honey with an oral syringe if your ferret experiences a hypoglycemic episode.
- If your ferret collapses, rub corn syrup or some honey directly on his gums.
- Invest in an over-the-counter glucometer and list down his blood glucose level to ensure he’s not getting worse. If there are any changes in value, report to your veterinarian immediately. Measurements should be taken after your ferret has fasted for 3 to 4 hours.
- If your ferret goes into a seizure, keep him in a calm and quiet environment until it passes. If it lasts more than a few minutes, take your ferret to an ER vet as soon as the seizure has passed.
What to Feed Your Ferret With Insulinoma?
Ferrets with insulinoma must follow a strict high-protein, high-fat diet. All protein content must be of premium quality to avoid health-related complications. You can use commercial ferret food, cat food, or raw meat.
Your ferret must eat frequent, small meals throughout the day, preferably every 4 to 6 hours.
If your ferret is unable to eat on his own, hand feed with a high protein, high-fat meal. You can also use a syringe and feed him with good-quality ferret paste, Uncle Jim’s Original DUK Soup Mix.
Avoid semi-moist foods, overly-sweet snacks, and high carbohydrate foods, such as semi-moist cat food, molasses, fructose, and cookies.
This concludes our article on the best ferret foods for insulinoma! The above-mentioned ferret foods are selected due to their high-protein, high-fat, and low-carbohydrate content, so you can’t go wrong with any of them.
If we had to choose only one, we’d pick the Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 as it contains 62% crude protein, as well as enhanced pre-biotics and omega-3.