How to Tell If Your Ferret Has a Disease

Just like all animals ferrets get ill, but unlike dogs for example they go downhill so rapidly that you cannot take a wait and see approach but must get it treated immediately. So how can you tell if your ferret has a disease?

Many of the symptoms of ferret illness are identical for several illness. Weight loss, loss of appetite and alopecia to name but a few. Take weight loss for example. This could be indicative of an intestinal blockage if he has eaten something he shouldn’t, parasitic infection, lymphoma, endocrine disease or adrenal disease. Although it may also mean that he doesn’t like what he is being fed and is not eating. Before rushing out to the vet check his food dish and make sure that he is eating. If not then try feeding your ferret something different. If he is eating and still losing weight then yes, get him to the vet immediately.

Depression can also trigger more serious conditions in ferrets. If your ferret has lost his cage mate or had a big upset in his life, such as moving house he can become depressed, signs of this will include a general loss of appetite, lack of interest in playing and appearing more lethargic. It is generally accepted that ferrets carry Heliobacteria naturally and if your ferret is feeling down for any reason this can then attack the disgestive tract causing ulcers and worse. Depression can also exacerbate any existing conditions your ferret may have so it’s essential to do all you can to maintain his health during this time.

Hair loss, or alopecia, can also occur for a variety of reasons. If it is happening every year during late summer and early autumn don’t worry. Ferrets moult at this time as their winter coat starts to come in, unfortunately some of them will lose hair in patches before the new coat comes through. Keep an eye on it and if the shedding is continuing with no new growth then get him to the vet. If he is losing hair all year round it may be that your furry friend has an allergy to flea bites in which case you need to get him treated. Intact females will also suffer from alopecia if they have been in season too long. The only way to treat this is to mate her with a vasectomised male and then once she has come out of season take her to the vet for either a jill jab or sterilization.

By Laura