Ferrets can make wonderful, playful, mischievous family members.  These active little animals are in the weasel family and are related to skunks, otters, and badgers.  At CAWC we love our ferret patients! These pets are true carnivores and as such need to eat a predominately meat based diet with little to no carbohydrates.  Due to their playful nature, ferrets need plenty of environmental enrichment to keep them stimulated.

Ferrets are one of the few domestic animals that can catch the flu from humans, so we need to be careful with them around cold and flu season.  If you ferret develops flus like symptoms, bring them in immediately for treatment.  Ferrets are also one of the few exotic species that require vaccinations to keep them healthy.  Ferrets are frequently vaccinated against rabies and distemper virus.

Husbandry issues such as poor or inappropriate diet, poor socialization, poor hygiene, lack of sleep, inappropriate toys, toxins and other factors can cause illness in ferrets.  It is important that food and water are changed daily, and that stool production is monitored daily, as subtle changes in appetite and stool production can be a sign of illness.  Ferrets hide signs of illness, so by keeping up good husbandry practices, you will be the first to notice if your companion is not feeling well.

Common signs of illness in ferrets include:

  • increased lethargy
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • not eating
  • obesity
  • hair loss
  • difficulty urinating
  • swollen vulva
  • nasal discharge
  • difficulty breathing
  • sneezing
  • seizures

If your ferret has any of these signs please bring them in to be evaluated.

Some common ferret disease conditions include:

  • adrenal gland disease
  • ear mites
  • stomach ulcers
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • lymphoma
  • insulinomas (low blood sugar)
  • upper respiratory infections
  • vomiting due to foreign body ingestions
  • heart disease
  • dental disease

Please enjoy these links to learn more about your ferret friends: