Accumulation of Fluid in the Abdomen of Ferrets


Treatment is largely dependent on the underlying cause of the case of ascites. If symptoms are severe and the ferret is having great discomfort, the abdomen may be tapped to remove fluid and make the animal more comfortable. Corrective surgery may be necessary in some cases; e.g., if a tumor is present or to control abdominal bleeding.


Medications are determined according to the underlying cause. For instance, fluid buildup due to bacterial infection (known as septic ascites) requires antibiotic therapy. It is important to note that aggressive medication treatment with diuretics, which are used to remove excess body fluid, may cause low levels of potassium in the blood, a condition known as hypokalemia. This can worsen symptoms and lead to further complications.


Living and Management

Follow-up care will include nutritional support and proper care for any wounds associated with surgery, as well as any care involved with addressing the underlying cause for ascites. Your veterinarian may follow up by checking electrolytes and liver panels to help maintain the ferret's health. Diuretic or fluid balance medications may be necessary over the long term to control edema or fluid retention in the ferret.



Because there are many different causes of ascites, there is no surefire prevention method that can be recommended. To avoid abdominal fluid buildup due to trauma, however, keep the ferret in a confined location or on a leash to prevent access to roads and other dangerous areas where traumatic incidents may occur.