Inflammation of the Stomach and Intestine in Ferrets

By PetMD Editorial on Jun. 6, 2010

Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis in Ferrets

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis in ferrets is one of the many gastrointestinal diseases that can cause inflammation and irritation of the intestinal and stomach mucous lining. If left untreated, it can lead to changes in the structure of the mucous lining, causing further distress to the ferret.

Symptoms and Types

  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea (with or without mucous or blood)
  • Thickened or puffy lymph nodes
  • Changes in liver enzymes
  • Swollen or enlarged spleen


Although no causes for eosinophilic gastroenteritis have been confirmed, some experts theorize that parasitic infections may be a factor, as well as immune-related issues or allergies.


To confirm the diagnosis, a veterinarian will employ various tests involving the ferret's stomach and intestinal lining to determine its thickness or identify erosions in the lining, often associated with this type of gastroenteritis. In addition, a biopsy of the affected area may be taken.


In most cases, ferrets recover and respond well once their diet is adjusted and medication, including corticosteroids, is prescribed. Your veterinarian will recommend easily digestible foods that are high in protein. Typically, feeding is a trial and error process. Sometimes the food will need to be canned or pureed to assist with the digestion; other times ferrets do not respond at all because of their pain or discomfort.

Living and Management

Regular follow-up examinations are important to assess the long-term outcome for ferrets. Though most respond well to therapy, some ferrets will have a poor prognosis, especially those suffering from severe loss of appetite (anorexia). Therapeutic response, meanwhile, is on a case-by-case basis.

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