Ingestion of Foreign Object
Like any other animal, the inquisitive ferret also chews up, eats and can accidentally swallow various kinds foreign objects. These foreign objects usually lodge themselves in the stomach and may even block the ferret's intestines.
Symptoms and Types
The most common signs seen in ferrets with foreign objects in the stomach are vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty passing stool.
Other symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Teeth clenching
- Teeth grinding
- Excessive salivation
- Sharp abdominal pain
- Bloody stool
- Inflammation of the mucous membrane in the stomach (gastritis)
Foreign objects eaten by ferrets are often various things lying around the home; among them:
- Hairballs (common during shedding periods)
- Soft rubber
- Plastic items
- Baby bottle nipples
Recently weaned ferrets are known for chewing their bedding, while baby ferrets (kits) love to chew the bottle nipples and any pacifiers lying around.
X-rays are usually sufficient in diagnosing the foreign object(s) in the ferret's stomach. Although there are times an endoscopy may be needed.
Soft foreign objects in the stomach, and foreign objects that are not blocking the intestine, can be passed through the ferret's stool using laxatives. Surgery may be required if the digestive tract is blocked. However, ferrets usually recover well from this type of surgery.