Covid 19 and Ferrets
Because ferrets have lungs similar to that of humans and can catch & transmit the influenza (flu) virus, they have long been the research animal of choice for respiratory illnesses.
Around the world, ferrets are being used extensively to study how covid 19 is transmit, as well as in pre-human vaccine testing.
After some months of uncertainty, the latest consensus is that ferrets CAN catch Covid 19 and pass it to each other, though there is NO evidence they can pass it to people.
Symptoms may Include:
- Coughing/Shortness of breath
- Anorexia (not wanting to eat) and associated weight loss
Caught early and treated, ferrets can recover quickly from Covid 19. You may never know your ferret contracted it, as most cases are reported to be mild.
If you suspect your ferret has Covid
Talk to your vet. If he/she suspects Covid, according to the CDC they should first contact the state public health veterinarian or state veterinarian, who can order a test.
Is there a vaccine?
Zoetis, Inc. has developed an experimental Covid vaccine for animals. It’s has been authorized for use on a case-by-case basis for facilities such as zoos. Currently there is no approved vaccine for pet owners.
The Ferret Association Position Paper on ferrets and Covid can be downloaded here. covid position paper