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About Ferrets


My name is Snugglebum!The following list is not a comprehensive list; any time your ferret is behaving or appearing abnormally, go to the vet. Ferrets are small animals and sickness can overcome them and even kill them very quickly. The dollar you save by waiting a day to go to the vet may cost you your ferret's life. But we've compiled this list as a guideline of some of the more common symptoms ferrets present that require a vet visit.

  • If your ferret stops eating or drinking for more than a day.
  • If your ferret's stools are small, oddly-shaped, or have an unusual appearance. If your ferret has completely stopped passing stools (14-20 hours since last movement), or seems to be straining and unable to pass stools, see a vet immediately as this is a sign of an intestinal blockage.
  • If your ferret is lethargic, seems depressed, doesn't seem to be as active/playful as usual.
  • Hair loss should always be checked, but if your ferret is losing his or her hair in a pattern beginning from the base of the tail up over the hind end, or on the top of the head, or seems to be balding anywhere other than the tip of the tail, this is a very serious sign of adrenal disease. In female ferrets this may be accompanied by a swollen vulva, in which case surgery should be considered immediately.
  • Weakness in the hind legs, difficulty walking, or if your ferret is staring off into space frequently.
  • Any rapid weight loss or weight gain should be checked by a vet.
  • Vomiting that has been ongoing for more than a few hours, or any vomiting that seems to cause your ferret pain or discomfort.
  • If your ferret has diarrhea you should closely monitor his/her behavior for a day and check for improvement; during this time you must keep your ferret hydrated with lots of water and Pedialyte (the kind for children). If the diarrhea persists for more than a day or so it must be checked.
  • Dehydration is very serious in ferrets. If you suspect any kind of illness in your ferret, check for dehydration. Do so by pulling the skin on the back of the neck up, and then letting it go. If the skin quickly returns to its normal position, your ferret is not dehydrated. The longer it takes for your ferret's skin to return to place, the more dehydrated he is. Skin that stands taut and does not go down is extremely serious and must be addressed immediately.
  • Again, ANY other behavior that is uncommon or unusual for your ferret should be checked by your veterinarian. Period.

For more detailed medical information, please see the Ferret Health Care website.

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