What Are Some Of The Most Common Ferret Diseases?

Published on Dec 23, 2022 12:00 AM
What Are Some Of The Most Common Ferret Diseases?

Ferrets make entertaining, energetic, and intelligent pets. They are, however, susceptible to various diseases and require regular veterinary care. In fact, ferret diseases can strike quickly, so keeping an eye on your pet's health becomes inevitable.

Some of the most common diseases that ferrets are prone to are treatable with early detection. Besides, ferret diseases are preventable if your pet is seen regularly and diagnosed early by a veterinarian.

You'll be better prepared to recognize the signs and symptoms of common diseases in your ferret if you learn about them. So continue reading to learn about ferret diseases and symptoms and how to keep your ferret healthy.

Ferret Diseases and Symptoms

Healthy ferrets have soft and shiny fur with bright, clear eyes. The ferret's underside is clean and healthy, with no signs of diarrhea or bloating. As a result, if you notice any deviations from these, the ferret may have a health problem. In addition, ferrets are frequently afflicted with diseases that alter their naturally healthy appearance.

The following are some of the most common ferret diseases and symptoms.


A ferret could catch a cold. You should take your ferret to the vet at the first sign of illness to determine whether he has a common cold or a more serious disease. If it is determined that your ferret is suffering from a simple, common cold, you can help him recover by giving him plenty of fluids. If your ferret's symptoms persist, it could signify a serious illness, requiring immediate vet monitoring.


The symptoms of the ferret cold are: 

•    Runny nose
•    Coughing
•    Sneezing
•    Fever
•    Diarrhea
•    Lack of Appetite

Heart Disease

Cardiac diseases are relatively common in ferrets. Cardiomyopathy, or improper heart muscle function, can cause congestive heart failure in ferrets. It can happen as soon as they are three years old. An infection with the heartworm parasite can also cause heart failure. Your veterinarian may detect a heart murmur or heart rhythm changes. A thorough history, physical examination, blood tests, X-rays, and an ECG are used to diagnose.


Clinical signs of heart disease include:

•    Weakness (in the hind legs)
•    Wobbliness or loss of body coordination
•    Lack of appetite
•    Trouble breathing
•    Coughing
•    Abdominal distension

Dental Issues

Ferrets explore their surroundings primarily through touch, particularly with their mouth and teeth. Even when ferrets are young, their teeth are unusually sharp. A veterinarian should examine your ferret's teeth and gums routinely. The buildup of dental calculus causes periodontal disease in ferrets.

Therefore, preventive dental care is advised regularly. Teeth damaged by various factors, such as chewing on cages or bones, may require root canal treatment or extraction. Plaque buildup can be reduced by brushing your ferret's teeth and feeding him dry ferret food.


The symptoms of dental issues in ferrets are: 

•    Redness and swelling in gums
•    Bleeding gums
•    Inability to eat
•    Swelling of the face
•    Nasal discharge
•    Halitosis (bad breath)
•    Weight loss

Foreign Body Ingestion

Foreign body obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract is a common cause of disease in young and occasionally older ferrets. Ferrets enjoy chewing, so keep all foam, plastic, and rubber objects out of their reach. Remove shoe inserts, ear plugs, toys, erasers, rubber bands, balloons, foam, and other such items from their reach. Abdominal palpation or radiography is frequently used to identify foreign bodies. In addition, endoscopy is sometimes used to retrieve objects found in the stomach. However, most foreign objects ingested by ferrets must be removed surgically from ferrets. It can be fatal if complicated surgery is required to remove the object.


Common signs of foreign object ingestion generally include:

•    Hyporexia to anorexia
•    Progressive weight loss
•    Lack of appetite
•    Vomiting
•    Lethargy
•    Diarrhea


Ferrets can become infected with both internal and external parasites. Protozoan parasites in the intestine can cause intestinal disease in ferrets. Annual microscopic fecal examinations will make diagnosis and treatment more accessible. External parasites that can infect ferrets include fleas, ticks, mange, and ear mites, which can be treated with topical and injectable medications. The severity of the parasitic infestation, whether internal or external, determines how it is treated. Infestations of parasites can be treated with a simple application of medication. However, if the parasites have infested the body in large numbers, surgery may be required.


The symptoms of parasitic infestation in ferrets are: 

•    Diarrhea (with or without blood)
•    Weight loss
•    Dehydration
•    Decreased activity
•    Dull hair coat
•    Straining to defecate
•    Prolapse of the ferret’s rectum
•    Red patches of skin
•    Scabs
•    Hair loss


It takes some effort on your part to keep your ferret healthy. Take your ferret to the vet as soon as possible if it is acting strangely, losing weight, having unusual feces color or texture, or exhibiting any other unusual behavior. Furthermore, it is best to keep your knowledge updated to be aware of your pet's well-being.

You may reach out to our veterinary resources if you need information regarding ferret diseases. Vet and Tech contain information on animal diseases that can broaden your knowledge. Learn about diseases and how to keep yourself and your ferrets healthy through our resource on common diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a sick ferret appear?

If your pet appears listless, tired, or withdrawn, he may be unwell. When ferrets are sick, they may appear dazed and grind their teeth. Another red flag is pawing at the mouth, as is excessive drooling.

What causes ferret parasites?

Ferrets typically contract this infection after coming into contact with parasite-infested animal feces. These intestinal parasites can also be contracted by inhaling contaminated airborne particles.

What foods shouldn't be given to ferrets?

Ferrets enjoy sweets, dairy products, raisins, fruits, and vegetables, but these foods should be avoided because they can cause diarrhea and blood sugar swings. A piece of cooked meat is a rare treat.