Ferret Illness & Disease
There are a number of general diseases that affect ferrets that are common to any species – like cancer, heart disease, tumors of all types and obviously the common ailments like poisoning and accidents. But the ones there are several diseases very specific to ferrets that owners need to understand to better care for their pets.
A good place to start is to check the symptom chart. By no means all-inclusive – it can guide new and even experienced owners. From that base, the other articles can help give further guidance.
None of the information contained here can replace the advice of a veterinarian – particularly one with ferret experience! While not all vets know everything about ferrets, they do have the diagnostic skills. equipment and tools we lack. WORK WITH THEM and USE THEM but do not expect miracles! Just like in human medicine, you and your veterinarian should work together as partners and have a relationship that has developed over time.
Ferret Symptoms Chart – Check this list of health symptoms and their possible effects on your ferret.
Poop Chart – Yes, ferret owners are feces examiners. An occasional bout of diarrhea or a bit of green, or mucousy poop is usually nothing for concern. As the adage goes, “what goes in is what comes out.” The issue is one of does it persist beyond a day or so and what else is happening? How is your ferret acting? Is it behaving normally? Did you change her diet? Even humans have an “off” day in bowel movements. So do our companions. A watchful eye on the litter habits can help clue us in to impending issues. Seek treatment before problems escalate. Early intervention saves both lives and money.
An excellent description and images of different types of poop can be seen here – courtesy of All About Ferrets and Ferret Harmony.
Major Preventable Illness
CDV – Canine Distemper – this is an almost 100% fatal virus that affects ferrets. However, it is nearly 100% preventable through proper vaccination.
Rabies – no, ferrets are not a risk for rabies. However, it is still wise, and in many areas required by law, to vaccinate your ferret against this disease.
The most common major illnesses that ferret owners will most likely meet are adrenal gland disease, insulinoma, and lymphosarcoma. These diseases and their complications are by far the most health common affecting ferrets in the United States today. Another illness, while no less threatening, is epizootic catarrhal enteritis commonly called ECE. While highly contagious and treatable, yet, it can quickly turn deadly if an owner is caught unaware.