Negative Energy Balance in Late Pregnancy in Ferrets

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Pregnancy Toxemia in Ferrets


Toxemia is a life-threatening condition to both the mother and kits caused by a negative energy balance in late pregnancy. It usually develops in the last week of gestation and occurs during periods of inadvertent food deprivation or unusual loss of appetite (anorexia) or with large litter size. Moreover, toxemia typically occurs in first pregnancies.


Symptoms and Types


Other than a loss of appetite (anorexia), the pregnant mother may suddenly become lethargic or depressed.




Inadequate caloric intake during late gestation results may cause toxemia. This may due to a poor diet, inadequate access to food, diet changes, or anorexia. In fact, even short periods (as little as 24 hours) of anorexia or food deprivation may cause pregnancy toxemia. Excessive calorie demands caused by a large litter size (greater than 10 fetuses) is another common cause of this condition.




Your veterinarian will need to determine the exact cause of this condition in your pregnant ferret. To do so, he or she will order blood tests and a urinalysis. An ultrasound, meanwhile, may be recommended to determine the size of the litter.