Viral Infection (ECE) in Ferrets

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Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis in Ferrets


Epizootic catarrhal enteritis (ECE) is a highly contagious viral infection in ferrets. It often recognized by the inflammation it causes in the ferret's intestines. Older ferrets develop the severest form of the viral infection, and also take the most time to recover -- about a month.


Symptoms and Types


The viral infection causes damage to the villi -- hair like projections in the lining of the intestines. Due to the damage, the intestine looses its ability to properly digest and absorb food.


ECE display symptoms in the ferret about two to fourteen days after the infection, including:


  • Loss of appetite
  • Greenish, watery or slimy diarrhea (green poop)
  • Stools stained black with blood
  • Dehydration
  • Sluggishness (lethargy)
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness




Ferrets frequently contract this viral infection from other infected ferrets. Your ferret may also become infected if it is exposed with diseased objects like utensils, bedding and clothing.




This infection is generally diagnosed with an intestinal biopsy.