What are the main diseases of ferrets?

Some ferret diseases are more obvious to spot than others. Sometimes the symptoms are not immediately obvious and you may miss a health issue even though you are caring and caring for your pet. Ferrets are indeed hardy animals, but when they are sick they do not necessarily express it immediately. Here we show you the main diseases that ferrets encounter. This does not exempt you from taking your pet for a veterinary check-up once a year.

Ferret flu

Influenza is a virus that is easily transmitted either from humans to ferrets or the other way around, via respiratory secretions. The manifestations in ferrets will be the same as in humans: fever, cough, discharge from the eyes and nose. Diarrhea can also be observed.

As in humans, the animal will show fatigue. In healthy adults, the flu will go away within a few days. But in young people and in adults weakened, the flu can take a more severe form. The treatment is discussed: fever is a natural manifestation of the body aiming to eliminate the virus from the body by the rise in temperature.

Wanting to lower the fever does not help the animal fight the virus. It is therefore first necessary to monitor the temperature and ensure that the sick ferret hydrates and feeds properly so that the body does not weaken further. If the symptoms last too long and the animal does not regain its vitality, a superinfection may have set in. It is then necessary to consult the veterinarian, the only one capable of prescribing antibiotics and anti-inflammatories if this proves necessary.

If you are sick yourself, remember to stay away from your pet while you recover.

Ferret distemper

It is a very contagious, systematically fatal distemper. Since there is no treatment, the only possible action to protect the ferret from this disease is the vaccine.

The fever triggered is high, generally exceeding 40 ° C. The animal is, like the flu, tired and without appetite. It often starts with conjunctivitis and a runny nose filled with mucus and pus. Then the skin of the chin, lips, anal and inguinal area reddens and thickens, becomes covered with scabs. The foot pads harden. The diagnosis is made throughanalyzes blood or secretions from the animal.

Aleutian ferret disease

It is a viral disease that has circulated in mink farms for a long time. Despite everything, a lot of the unknown persists. The incubation period of the virus is not known. Symptoms may not appear for a year or two after infection. We do not know the periods of emission of the virus either. Very little is known about how the virus is transported. And an infected ferret will not necessarily express the disease (this is also the case for the majority of infected animals) but can transmit it. There is no cure and no vaccine. As the disease is fatal, the only care to be given to the ferret will be palliative care. The best way to fight this disease is to respect impeccable hygiene. Only virucidal disinfectants or water Bleach diluted to 10% can overcome it.

Epizootic catarrhal enteritis (ECE) in ferrets

This inflammation of the small intestine is due to a coronavirus. Most ferrets will recover from it, with the exception of elderly or debilitated individuals who are more severely affected. The symptoms are vomiting, green diarrhea, sometimes hemorrhagic. The ferret is very tired and no longer feeds. Some ferrets can carry the virus without showing any symptoms. Cured ferrets can also be carriers. Treatment will depend on the severity of the signs: intestinal dressings, anti-diarrhea, antibiotics, etc. This virus can mutate into a systemic ferret coronavirus, which is responsible for a condition that is generally fatal for the animal.

Ferret cancers

Insulinoma is a tumor in the pancreas that causes hormonal disease. In a ferret over 3 years of age, hypoglycaemia becomes frequent. This occurs especially in ferrets who have been fed too sweet a diet, even though the ferret is a carnivorous strict. Partial removal of the pancreas may help. But only a third of the animals thus operated on recover from their hypoglycemia.

Adrenal gland disease is caused by a tumor in the adrenal gland that causes excess sex hormones. It affects sterilized ferrets over 3 years of age, regardless of their sex. It is detected by a loss of hair that begins with the tail and progresses towards the front of the body. Removal of the involved adrenal gland is often suggested, especially in young ferrets. Oral or implant hormonal treatment may also be offered.

Cancer of the lymphatic tissues is common in ferrets. It then causes digestive diseases with rectal prolapse, chronic diarrhea and weight loss. The diagnosis is made after a complete blood test, combined with an intestinal biopsy.

Ferrets can also be prone to adenocarcinoma.

Aplastic anemia in female ferrets

If you adopt a female ferret, if you do not want her to reproduce, do so sterilize from the age of 6 months to avoid this painful disease. It occurs when an unsterilized female remains in heat without being covered. The estrogen level remains high and causes the body (blood cells) to malfunction. The animal quickly becomes anemic and dies.

Ferret kidney cysts

Kidney cysts are common in ferrets. The kidney is swollen without this being critical to the health of the animal. You simply have to monitor them to ensure that their evolution remains limited.

Ferret poisoning

You probably know that the ferret is a very curious animal: it explores its environment carefully and, like a toddler, consumes toxic products. As for the child, you must to secure environment and keep hazardous substances out of reach of the animal to protect them.

Ingestion of a foreign body, without being an illness in itself, is the cause of disorders which can be fatal. This is common in ferrets less than a year old. As these young animals like to chew soft materials like rubber, latex, or gum. Pieces can stagnate in the stomach for several weeks. If the foreign body passes into the intestines and is not evacuated, the animal should be taken for emergency consultation. It is not easy to make the diagnosis: loss of appetite, weight loss, occasional vomiting, abnormal stools and pain that can cause aggressive behavior (the animal can sense that something is wrong and becomes irritable). An X-ray can confirm the occlusion and surgery will be the only possible cure.

Beyond disease prevention

So that your ferret can live its life in the best conditions, do not forget the few basic care to be lavished on it regularly: cut its claws (only the white part of the claw, never the pink part), clean the ears, check its teething and maintaining its coat.

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