Symptoms Chart

Compiled and written by L. Vanessa Gruden ©1997

Eyes
Bulging or swollen eyes Glaucoma
Runny or watery eyes Allergy, cold
Pus Conjunctivitis
Brown crusting Distemper
White spot or "disk" in eye/s Cataract
Blindness Cataract
Mouth
Pale gums Anemia, low blood pressure
Red, sore or bleeding gums Tarter buildup; gingivitis
Bluish gray gums Lack of Oxygen
Blackened teeth Dead tooth
Dark or stained teeth Age, tetracycline as kit
Rash on chin and lips Distemper
Drooling Insulinoma seizure; poison
Clenched teeth Insulinoma seizure
Scratching at mouth Broken tooth, nausea
Vomiting Foreign body, ulcers, ECE; hairballs; poison
Vomiting blood Internal hemorrhage
Panting Heat stroke; severe pain; insulinoma seizure
Nose
Sore on Nose Infection
Runny nose, sneezing Runny nose, sneezing
Short, broken whiskers Poor nutrition, ill health
Dark pink or red Insulinoma seizure
Bright red Hypothermia (heat stroke)
Ears
Black inside Excessive dirt
Black inside, itching Mites
Yellow Hepatitis
Bad smell Excessive dirt; yeast-type infection
Growth Tumor; infected bite
Loss of hair on ears Another ferret chewing on them
Deafness Congenital, Wardenburg's Syndrome (panda pattern); infection
Paws
"Splayed" feet Housed on wire
Hair loss Age, adrenal disease
Dry pads Clay litter
Dark pink pads Insulinoma seizure
Bright red pads Hyperthermia (heat stroke)
Rough, thickened pads Distemper
Roughened, scratched pads Lost outside for significant period; housed outdoors/dirt/cement
Long quick Not regularly clipped
Nail torn out Caught on bedding; on cage wire
Curled toes Age, weak hindquarters
Legs
Limping Stepped on
Staggering Insulinoma; stroke; ear infection
Stiffness Arthritis; age; over-caged
Weakness in hindquarters Age; arthritis; low blood sugar; general illness
Tail
Kinked Previously broken; birth defect
Lump at end Chondromas
Black spots Blackheads
Hair loss Blackheads; age; adrenal disease
Fur & Skin
Dry Sleeping in litter; poor nutrition; age; general illness
Black spots Flea dirt
Fur falling out Seasonal coat change; poor nutrition; stress; flea allergy
Guard hair sparse Regrowth of coat
Thinning Age; unnatural light cycle; adrenal disease; in heat or rut
Pattern Loss: At base of tail Adrenal disease
Pattern Loss: Along side back Adrenal disease
Pattern Loss: Up back Adrenal disease
"Graying" Natural silvering pattern; age
Flaking skin Flea dermatitis; poor nutrition; allergies; over-shampooing
Yellowed Hepatitis
Reddened, rough skin Allergies; fleas; sunburn; bites from others
"Pinched" skin stays pinched Dehydration
Wart-like growths Skin tumors
Dark brown or black "moles" Ticks
"Puffy," inflamed areas Abscess
Sore slow to heal Diabetes; adrenal disease; cancer
Lungs
Coughing Cold, heart disease; lymphosarcoma
Wheezing Allergy; heart disease; pneumonia
Rapid breathing Heat stroke; pain
Difficult breathing Heart disease; pneumonia; lymphosarcoma; heartworm
Stomach/Spleen
Stomach distension Intestinal blockage; heart disease; poison; internal tumor
"Lopsided" abdomen Enlarged spleen
Hardened area along abdomen Enlarged spleen
Anorexia Stomach or mouth ulcers; ECE
Urination/Defacation
Male "dribbling" or crying Urinary tract blockage; bladder stones; kidney infection; adrenal disease
"Sand" in urine Bladder stones
Heavy urination &/or excessive thirst Diabetes; kidney infection
Inability to urinate Kidney failure; blockage
Inability to defecate Internal blockage
Diarrhea Dairy products; food allergies; stress; coccidia; camphobacter
Green diarrhea Upset stomach; stress; ECE
Dark, tarry stool Too many raisins; internal bleeding
Blood in stool Internal hemorrhage, cancer
Fabric or odd objects in stool Eating fabric or toys
Frequent, small stool Poor rectal muscles
Protrusion from anus Rectal prolapse
Draining area near anus Anal gland impaction
Reproductive Organs
Bleeding penis Caught on something
Growth on penis Tumor
"Dragging" penis across things Territorial marking; adrenal disease
Swollen vulva In heat; leftover ovarian tissue; adrenal disease
Pus or discharge from vulva Infection; adrenal disease
Overall Body
Temperature over 103 Fever
Temperature under 95 Hypothermia; serious illness
Severe anemia Lengthy heat cycle; internal tumor; severely enlarged spleen
Limp upon awakening Baby sleep; low blood sugar; insulinoma
Comatose Insulinoma; stroke
Uncontrollable shivers/tremors Shock; poison
Convulsions Insulinoma seizure; epilepsy; poison; shock
Wasting Cancer; age; internal blockage; internal parasite
Enlarged lymph nodes Infection; cold/flu; lymphosarcoma
Blood sugar level under 80 Anorexia; insulinoma
Behavior
Fainting Insulinoma
Lethargy Anemia; low glucose; age; heart disease; illness
"Listing " to one side Ear infection; mites; stroke
Walking in circles Stroke
Excessive grooming Stress; adrenal disease
Biting when startled Blind; deaf
Biting other ferrets Blind; dominance issues
Hopping & leaping PLAYING!

Selected sources:
Pamela T. Grant, Diagnosing Problems with Ferrets, STAR* Newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 2
Susan A. Brown, D.V.M., Most Common Health Problems of the Ferret, published various places
Matt Jones, D.V.M., Before You Make that Emergency Call, Weasel Help Monthly, Volume 4, Numbers 3 & 4
Elizabeth Hillyer, DVM & Katherine Queensbury, DVM, Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents, W.B. Saunders, 1997