Kidney Disease in Ferrets

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 2, 2008

Kidney or renal diseases in ferrets are uncommon, but not rare.

Symptoms and Types

Renal diseases can come on suddenly (acute) for ferrets, or can occur over a period of more than three months (chronic). During its early stages, renal disease displays little or no symptoms; although the ferret can show vague symptoms like lethargy and changes in behavior.

The common symptoms of kidney disease are lethargy, increased thirst, lack of appetite, loss of weight, increase in urination (polyuria), dehydration, weakness, ulcers in the mouth, and depression.

In medical cases of stones and cysts, the ferret may have pain and problem in urinating. If the stone is in the urethra, it may also have bloody urine.


The most common causes of kidney disease in ferrets are:

  • Infection (Aleutian disease)
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Side effects from medication
  • Cancer or tumor
  • Kidney cysts
  • Stones in the kidney, urinary bladder or urinary tract
  • Toxicity


The veterinarian will perform a physical examination and conduct a full medical history. This will include a complete blood count, urine tests, X-rays, blood chemistry test, an Ultrasound, and an endoscopy and biopsy, if required.


Depending on the underlying reason for the renal disease, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, or treat for toxins and autoimmune disease. If the ferret has stones, it may need surgery or laser surgery to remove them. It is also important that the ferret be given plenty of fluids, a well-balanced diet, and heat therapy during this time.

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