Ferret Diseases

Like humans, animals also have diseases that can be fatal to them. Ferrets are animals that have a very sensitive body and that they could easily get sick if not treated. Here are some of the ferret’s diseases and its symptoms and how they affect your pet ferrets.

Eclamptogenic toxemia and Nursing sickness – “Nursing sickness Syndrome” that affects pregnant and postparturient female ferrets. This ferret disease is not well documented but its symptoms are weakness, muscular in coordination and eventually death. To help reduce pre weaning deaths in kits, they should be given high calorie from meat, vitamins and minerals that that is suitable for cats should be given during pregnancy and lactating mothers.

Hyperestrogenism or estrogen Induced Anemia – Jills that have not been bred usually have high estrogen toxicity. Its clinical signs are bone marrow depression. Ferrets that are affected by this have bleeding disorders and bacterial infections. Other clinical signs are enlargement of the vulva, pale mucous, pneumonia, posterior paralysis and tarry feces. It is also associated by severe anemia and hemorrhagic diathisis. In order to prevent this disease, jills that are not intended for breeding should undergo ovariohysterectomy when they are about 6 to 8 months.

Nutritional Disease – Though ferrets and cats are not of the same family, but feeding ferrets with cat food reduces the risk of nutritional imbalance. Exposure to zinc (from galvanized food dishes and cage bars) may risk your ferret from zinc toxicity. If they are exposed to too much zinc about 500 ppm, they would lose weight due to decreasing of food intake especially on high zinc diets. 3000 ppm of zinc would be fatal to ferrets within two weeks. Soft, large and pale kidneys and fatty liver is the postmortem finding in this case. Eliminating the source of zinc and support therapy would help get your ferret back on their feet.

Gastrointestinal Foreign Body – This is usually caused by the obstruction of the GI track and is common to young ferret and sometimes older. Hyporexia to anorexia and sudden weight loss without vomiting are the clinical signs of this disease. Radiography or abdominal palpitation in used in order to identify the foreign object. Often times it can be retrieved by endoscopy, but most of the time it can only be removed surgically.

Dental Disease – Accumulation of dental calculus is the cause of periodontal disease in ferrets. Regular dental care is advised to avoid this. Chewing on cages or bones can damage its teeth. It can only be treated through tooth extraction or root canal.

By Laura