Surgical castration in ferrets has been implicated as an etiological factor in the development of hyperadrenocorticism in this species due to a castration-related increase in plasma gonadotropins. In search for a suitable alternative, the effect of treatment with the depot GnRH-agonist implant, deslorelin, on plasma testosterone concentrations and concurrent testes size, spermatogenesis, and the typical musky odor of intact male ferrets was investigated. Twenty-one male ferrets, equally divided into three groups, were either surgically castrated, received a slow release deslorelin implant or received a placebo implant. Plasma FSH and testosterone concentrations, testis size and spermatogenesis were all suppressed after the use of the deslorelin implant. The musky odor in the ferrets which had received a deslorelin implant was less compared to the ferrets which were either surgically castrated or had received a placebo implant. These results indicate that the deslorelin implant effectively prevents reproduction and the musky odor of intact male ferrets and is therefore considered a suitable alternative for surgical castration in these animals.

Deslorelin, GnRH, Gonadotropin, Spermatogenesis, Testosterone,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Schoemaker, N.J, van Deijk, R, Muijlaert, B, Kik, M.J.L, Kuijten, A.M, de Jong, F.H, … Mol, J.A. (2008). Use of a gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist implant as an alternative for surgical castration in male ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). Theriogenology, 70(2), 161–167. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2008.03.006