Difficult, Painful And Frequent Urination In Ferrets

By PetMD Editorial on Jun. 6, 2010

Dysuria and Pollakiuria in Ferrets

Pollakiuria refers to abnormally frequent urination, and dysuria is a condition that leads to painful urination. While the urinary bladder and urethra normally serve to store and release the urine, these two disorders affect the lower urinary tract by damaging the bladder wall or stimulating the nerve endings in the bladder or urethra. In other words, you'll have a ferret that goes to the bathroom often and in small amounts, and it may even have pain or discomfort when it urinates.

Symptoms and Types

There are many signs and symptoms of dysuria and pollakiuria, including the increased need to urinate, pain and urgency when urinating, and the inability to urinate in regular amounts. Physical examination findings may depend on the causes and severity of the condition, or type of issues experienced by the animal, but often include:

  • Dehydration (due to frequent trips to the litter box)
  • Existence of an abdominal mass or tumor
  • Pain when palpating the bladder or touching the abdomen
  • Thickened bladder wall
  • Inability to pass urine or hold urine properly


There are many causes for dysuria and pollakiuria in ferrets, including urinary tract infections, inflammation of the lower urinary tract, lesions of the urinary bladder and urethra or structures of the urinary tract and cysts. Other causes may include:

  • Kidney stones
  • Adrenal disease
  • Damage to the urinary tract and/or bladder
  • Plugs in the ureters, structures of the urogenital system
  • Distension or swelling to the tissues and structures of the system


Laboratory findings may include low blood sugar and elevated levels of certain hormones and/or steroids (including estradiol, androstenedione and 17-hydroxyprogesterone) -- all of which are indicative of adrenal disease. Meanwhile, X-rays and other imaging exams may show cysts or other masses in the abdomen or the urogenital tract.


Ferrets with less serious, nonobstructive lower urinary tract diseases are typically seen on an outpatient basis, while others requires hospitalization (especially those with bladder or abdominal masses).

Treatment mainly depends on the underlying cause of the condition(s). But if an illness has led to dysuria and/or pollakiuria, it will include supportive therapies, along with any medication to help with the symptoms.

Living and Management

Follow-up care will include monitoring of chronic disease states associated with dysuria and pollakiuria, such as urinary tract obstructions or kidney and adrenal diseases.

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