Health & Illness

A ferret can be a great member of your family and everyone wants their family members to be happy and healthy. With proper care, a good home, yearly vaccinations, and heartworm medicine your furry family member can live a long and enjoyable life.

Unfortunately, even with a perfect home accidents, injury, and illness may still occur. Below is a list of the more common health problems that could affect your pet.

Adrenal Disease
This disease can happen to older ferrets and is caused by the adrenal gland not working properly. Symptoms are loss of hair, dry or itchy skin, scabs, increased body odor and urinary tract problems.

Aleutian Disease
Aleutian disease is a virus that affects ferrets but doesn’t always develop symptoms. If a ferret becomes ill there can be weight loss, weakness, and staggering. If symptoms develop there is currently no cure and the ferret will eventually die.

Aplastic Anemia
Aplastic anemia occurs when a female ferret remains in her mating cycle for an extended period. Spaying your female ferret will prevent the disease.

Back Injuries
Because of their long backs and all the running and jumping they do, ferrets are susceptible to back sprains and strains.

Colds & Flu
We can actually get a ferret ill. They are susceptible to a cold or flu. They can cough, sneeze, and have a runny nose just like us.

Foreign Objects
Ferrets will often eat strange items like sponges, rubber, and corks. If your ferret is unable to pass these objects they can cause a blockage or infection. Symptoms are nausea, pawing at the mouth, drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, distended abdomen, and lack of stool.

Green Slime Disease
Green slime disease, also known as ECE or epizootic catarrhal enteritis, is a contagious virus. It is easily passed between ferrets and by people who have touched an infected ferret. The disease attacks the intestinal tracts of ferrets and can cause vomiting, lethargy, green diarrhea, and eventually ulcers in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. This illness requires veterinary attention.

Ferrets lick themselves while grooming, the swallowed hairs can stick together in the stomach and cause hairballs. Ferrets can’t cough them out and hairballs can cause an intestinal blockage. Brushing your pet and regular treatments of a hairball laxative can help prevent hairballs.

Ferrets don’t sweat and therefor have trouble removing excess body heat. Symptoms of heatstroke are panting, lethargy, drooling, red paw pads, red nose and possible seizures. You may be able to treat heatstroke by placing cool wet towels on your pet or submerging him from the neck down in cool, not cold, water.

These are tumors of the pancreas that cause it to overproduce insulin. Symptoms are lethargy, nausea, depression, drooling and staggering.

Your pet can be infected with parasites like fleas, ticks, mites, and heartworm. Heartworm and flea medication can be used to prevent parasites from becoming a problem.

Ferrets sometimes get to places they shouldn’t and end up eating something that is harmful to them. Keeping cleaning supplies and other potentially harmful items away from your pet is the best defense. If you think your ferret has ingested poison take him to the veterinarian.

Skin Tumors
These look like lumps on the surface or under the skin. They tumors can be red, scabbed, rough, or crusty. or be crusty and rough. A veterinarian is needed to determine if the tumors are cancerous or benign.

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