F errets are no different to human beings when it comes to illnesses, except in one major area. Although they are normally healthy enough, a major disease can be fatal in a very short period of time; so they need watching over.
Good ferrets care practices require you to check regularly for fleas and ticks and ask your vet for suitable remedies if needed.
The litter tray is a good place to go to next. Check to see that their stools are normal and not ‘pencil’ thin, if they are, this could suggest some kind of intestinal blockage. Any unusual bowel movement, affecting color and texture, should heighten the alert status; if there is no change in 24 hours gets in touch with the Vet.
Loose skin generally suggests dehydration and dehydration is dangerous, especially in small animals. Make sure that your ferrets pet care has access to an adequate supply of water and try to get it to drink more. Failing that, it’s another trip to the Vet’s where they will be able provide subcutaneous fluids and can take a closer look at the cause.
Another sign of dehydration is diarrhea; this can be caused by milk products. Ferrets are not lactose tolerant so if you have fed it a milk base product within the previous 24 hours, you can probably put down the diarrhea to that, but as usual, keep a close eye on your pet and monitor its condition – the 24 hour rule will apply here as well.
A swollen and painful stomach can also suggest a problem. This could be due to an intestinal blockage or something more serious such as heart or major organ disease.
Tumors are quite common in Ferrets. The signs of tumors will be swellings, usually on the feet, but of course, they can be anywhere on the body. A tumor isn’t necessarily life threatening; if it is benign (non-cancerous), you have the choice of having it removed, however, any unusual lumps that appear on your pet should be investigated by the Vet, he will be able to take a tissue sample and perform a biopsy to determine whether it is malignant (cancerous) or benign.
Something to be aware of, especially in older Ferrets care, is the sudden loss of active use of their hindquarters. This can be nothing more than Rheumatism setting in, or a reaction to a back or spinal injury, usually caused by aggressive and active play, but this can also be a major sign of something more serious.
Adrenal or insulinoma are potential killers if not caught and dealt with early enough. They have very similar symptoms to many other ailments, both major and minor, such has difficulty in using the hind legs, pawing at the mouth, staring out into space etc., So if your pet starts to show any of these symptoms get it to the Vet.
Ferrets also have seizures or fits. This can be brought on my low sugar levels in the blood and if you Ferret does have one, you can try rubbing Honey or Syrup on its gums, in order to help it come out of a seizure and then get it to the Vet as quickly as you can.
There are a couple of other important things you should look for which will quickly cover ferrets care.
Ferrets do not like to be hot; overheating can lead to a loss of life from relatively low temperatures. Therefore, like a dog, you should never leave a Ferret in a car and if you do leave it outside on a hot day, ensure that it has shade and a cool place to lie with plenty of water.
Internally, you shouldn’t put its bed or cage right next to radiators and you shouldn’t allow it to ‘nest and rest’ under radiators either.
Hair loss is also something to be aware of. Twice a year a Ferret will molt i.e. Shed its existing fur for a new growth and this is normal. What is not normal is if the Ferret starts to shed huge lumps of fur from the tail forward and there is no re-growth of new fur. This can be an indication that there is a tumor of the Adrenal gland and that it has Adrenal disease.
And of course, Ferrets do vomit! This could be for a number of simple, straightforward reasons such spitting up a hair ball during molting or a reaction to over excitement. The next action as usual, is to carefully observe your pet to ensure that the vomit does not contain blood and is not continuous.
Ferrets can catch colds and flu and their symptoms are very similar to our own. Sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes and lethargy. The Ferret will normally slow down and drink a lot, but if it persists, get to the vet.
The list and advice you can see from the information above, Ferrets are prone to all sorts of illnesses and ailments – some minor, others more serious.
Make sure you find a veterinarian knowledgeable about ferrets care to give your pet ferrets, their vaccinations and provide other ferret care treatments and advice.
The ferrets care recommended action, as always, is to observe your pet if it starts to show signs of unfamiliar behavior and a physical change in its body, if you are concerned get the animal to the Vet straightaway.