Common questions

My ferret is losing hair all over his body. What could this be?
One possible reason is an improper diet but the most likely cause is Adrenal Disease. This disease is so common among ferrets. Adrenal Disease affects the ferret’s adrenal gland(s). One or both adrenal glands enlarge and overproduce hormones. This causes the ferret to lose his/her hair. Some fuzzies become aggressive towards their cagemates. Other symptoms are “spot” peeing, mounting behavior or excessive itchiness. A male ferret may experience difficulty peeing. This ‘straining to pee’ symptom requires immediate vet treatment. The resulting blockage will be fatal if not treated immediately. Female ferrets may display a swollen vulva. Your ferret may not display any of these telltale symptoms.  You may just notice a marked change in your ferret’s normal behaviour/activity level. He may want to sleep a lot and seem to have lost interest in his normal play interests. You just know that he isn’t his usual self. Don’t despair… treatment is available. The affected adrenal gland(s) can be removed surgically by a ferret knowledgeable vet. If only one gland is removed, the other may become affected at a later date. Ferrets with other health concerns that would not be good surgery candidates can be treated with Ferratonin Implants (Melatonin) and/or monthly injections of Lupron. A newer implant treatment which has longer lasting effects than the Lupron or Melatonin is Deslorelin  (Suprelorin). The Deslorelin Implants are currently imported from Australia which can mean a long wait for its availability unless your vet stocks it on a regular basis. Please discuss your treatment options with your vet. Surgery can be a cure while the implants and Lupron injections will alleviate your ferret’s symptoms and make him more comfortable but not eradicate the disease. Early treatment is always your best option.
My ferret has a broken tooth. Can this be harmful?
Absolutely! If the ferret’s tooth becomes green or discolored it could mean infection. The infection, if not treated could go to the ferret’s brain and kill him. Ask your veterinarian to have a look at it.
My ferret has stopped eating, has not gone to the bathroom and throws up when fed.
Intestinal blockages are also very common in ferrets. Usually surgery is the only option here or the ferret will die. Ferrets love to chew and will ingest anything from a door stopper to a sponge. This is a medical emergency and your ferret must be seen by a vet immediately!
My ferret has a very large belly and I can feel her Lymph nodes. She has also lost so much weight.
Sadly cancers in the ferret occur all too often. I lost my baby girl Akasha to this dreadful disease. In all cancers, Lymphosarcoma. (Lymphoma) is the most common.

Lymphoma is seen when the ferret’s spleen or Liver enlarges. The lymph nodes can also enlarge and the ferret looses weight. According to some vets, removal of the spleen is useful, but usually only prolongs life by a few short months. Cancers can be seen in any organ in the ferret. It is so important to have regular check ups done with your ferret.

Junior Lymphoma is heartbreaking and occurs in ferrets under 2. There is no cure or definite treatment for this.

My ferret has been coughing, has a pot belly and has been hard to wake up from sleep. What is this?
Cardiomyopathy is one of the most common heart conditions in a ferret. Cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscles to become weak and the heart must work harder to pump blood to the whole body.

CMP is sad and can happen at any age. Ferrets, like Dobermans are prone to this disease. I feel it’s very important to have x-rays done of your ferret every year after he/she reaches 3 years of age. Early detection is sometimes a life saver.

Sometimes my ferret paws at his mouth or stops playing and stares into space for no reason.
This is usually known as early signs of Insulinoma. At this time, there is no cure for this disease. Surgery and /or meds can prolong life for a few extra months, but sadly, death occurs.

Insulinoma is a cancer of the pancreas. Tiny growths of insulin grow inside the ferret’s pancreas and at times send out a burst of insulin into the ferret’s system. Signs include; pawing at the mouth (indicating nausea), starring into space as if dazed, seizures & coma. Some of our members have had luck with treating their ferrets the Naturopathic way. Please seek the advice of a qualified ferret veterinarian if you see any signs of Insulinoma.

My veterinarian has recommended supportive care. What is that?
Supportive care consists of Duck Soup, hand feedings, warmth and sometimes fluids need to be placed under your ferret’s skin. Please feel free to use the shelter’s Duck Soup Recipe.
My ferret has loose green poop and sometimes seedy poop. Could this be ECE?
You can read more on ECE at Ferret Central. Dr. Bruce William’s ECE page is unfortunately no longer online.