Health Library en Bacterial Diseases in Ferrets  
Ferrets can suffer from many infectious diseases. These diseases can be due to infection with bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites and many of them infect other animals and humans too.
Two common bacterial infections in ferrets are due to the bacteria Helicobactei mustelae and Lawsonia intracellularis -- the former being found in nearly all weaned ferrets.
Symptoms and Types
Helicobactei mustelae usually display signs of gastric ulcers and inflammation of more]]> Digestive Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:23:29 +0000 139 at
Abnormally Large Kidneys in Ferrets  
This is a condition where one or both kidneys become abnormally large, confirmed by abdominal palpation, ultrasounds, or X-rays. It can occur due to the presence of cysts, swelling due to kidney infection, inflammation, or urinary tract obstruction, among other other things. Renomegaly can affect all the ferret's body systems: respiratory, nervous, hormonal, urinary and digestive. Typically, it is seen in middle-aged to older ferrets.
Symptoms and Types
There are occasions when the ferret is asymptomatic, or does not display any signs whatsoever more]]> Urinary Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:46:10 +0000 10163 at
Accumulation of Fluid in the Abdomen of Ferrets  
Ascites, also known as abdominal effusion, is the medical term referring to the buildup of fluid in the abdomen. In ferrets, this may cause symptoms such as weight gain, abdominal discomfort, and loss of appetite. A wide variety of causes may be responsible for ascites, thus treatments vary accordingly.

The body systems usually affected by this disorder typically include the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, renal (including the kidneys and bladder), lymph and immune systems. The signs and symptoms may include the following:

Weight more]]> Digestive Mon, 29 Sep 2008 14:57:39 +0000 589 at
Adrenal Disease in Ferrets  
Adrenal disease is any disorder affecting the adrenal glands -- endocrine glands that are responsible for synthesizing certain hormones. It is a common and often systemic(Or far-reaching) disease affecting many animals; in this case, ferrets. Typically, adrenal disorders occur when a ferret produces too many hormones because of an underlying disease or condition.
Ferrets suffering from an adrenal disease display various signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms are most common among ferrets that hav more]]> Endocrine Fri, 26 Sep 2008 19:33:00 +0000 586 at
Bacterial Pneumonia in Ferrets Bacterial pneumonia is relatively uncommon in ferrets, but when present, should be considered a serious, life-threatening disease. Causing an inflammation of the lungs, it usually occurs secondary to viral infection or aspiration of foreign material. However, the development of the respiratory infection is depending on many factors, including size, inoculation site, number of organisms and their virulence, and resistance of the host.
Symptoms and Types

Loss of appetite (]]> Respiratory Mon, 14 Jun 2010 12:55:58 +0000 10111 at
Bleeding Under the Skin of Ferrets  
Petechia and ecchymosis refer to a disorder of primary hemostasis, the first step in the process by which blood loss from the body’s blood vessels is prevented. This results in uncharacteristic bleeding into the skin or mucous membranes, which causes bruising.
Petechia and ecchymosis are most commonly seen in female ferrets with hyperestrogenism, a condition characterized by a heightened level of estrogen hormone. Usually, they are caused by thrombocytopenia, a medical condition where blood platelets responsible for forming blood more]]> Skin Sun, 13 Jun 2010 19:16:31 +0000 10107 at
Bot Fly Infestation in Ferrets  
Cuterebriasis is a parasitic infection caused by the bot fly species Cuterebra. Also called myiasis, this type of infection affects mammals including ferrets. The female Cuterebra lays her eggs either in the grass (to be brushed by the fur of any outdoor animals walking by) or directly on the ferret. The warmth of the mammal’s body causes the eggs to hatch; the tiny maggots then burrow downward, headfirst, into the mammal’s skin, creating a hole.
Over time, the maggot will grow, causing a lump that can become as large as more]]> Skin Fri, 04 Jun 2010 21:29:20 +0000 10061 at
Cancer of Plasma Cells in Ferrets  
Multiple myeloma is a rare form of cancer that is derived from a clonal population of cancerous (malignant) plasma cells. Although the cancerous cells typically concentrate in the bone marrow, they may also present themselves in the liver, spleen, kidney, pharynx, lung, gastrointestinal tract or lymph nodes. There have been only three reported cases of multiple myeloma disease in ferrets, but many others may go unreported.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms depend on location and extent of disease. Some of the more common ones include:
< more]]> Cancer Sun, 13 Jun 2010 17:52:46 +0000 10100 at
Congestive Heart Failure in Ferrets  
Left- and right-sided congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when the heart fails to pump blood at the rate required to meet the basic needs of the body. Either disorder can lead to various heart or vascular problems, including lack of proper circulation of oxygen, blood clotting problems, stroke, pulmonary edema, or swelling of fluid in the body. In fact, all organ systems in the body can be affected negatively by congestive heart failure.
Symptoms and Types
There are many signs and symptoms associated with congestive hea more]]> Cardiovascular Fri, 04 Jun 2010 21:51:41 +0000 10063 at
Constipation and Blood in Stool in Ferrets  
Dyschezia and hematochezia are diseases of the digestive and intestinal system that may result in inflammation and/or irritation of the rectum and anus, which in turn results in painful or difficult defecation. Ferrets with hematochezia can sometimes display bright red blood in the fecal matter, while those with dyschezia can also be affected by a concurrent disease affecting the color or gastrointestinal tract.
Symptoms and Types
The signs and symptoms of dyschezia and hematochezia in ferrets are not hard to spot and typically i more]]> Digestive Sat, 05 Jun 2010 20:08:36 +0000 10067 at
Cough in Ferrets Coughing is fairly common among ferrets, or at least as much as it is in other animals. Formally defined as forceful exhalations of air through the glottis or mouth and throat, a cough may be brought on by a variety of factors, either automatic or inspired.
Symptoms and Types

Scratchy and/or irritable esophagus
Clearing of breathing passage (sometimes with mucous or blood, which may indicate a coexisting condition that requires immediate attention)

The causes for cough in ferret more]]> Respiratory Fri, 04 Jun 2010 21:59:05 +0000 10064 at
Cysts in the Urethra in Ferrets  
Ferrets with this disease have cysts form on the upper portion of the bladder, surrounding the urinary passage. These cysts, which may arise from ducts in the prostate, are typically large. There may be just one cyst or many, and often they cause partial or complete obstruction of the urethra.
Due to the obstruction, the cysts may not only cause compression on the urethra and pain while urinating, but may lead to bacterial infection. Urogenital cystic disease is more common in males than females, and often occur in the spring.
Sym more]]> Urinary Tue, 22 Jun 2010 02:12:06 +0000 10167 at
Diabetes in Ferrets  
This form of diabetes causes the ferret's body to suffer from either an absolute shortage of insulin (Type I), or from an incorrect response from the cells to the insulin that is being produced, a condition termed insulin resistance (Type II). Both of these conditions will prevent the muscles and organs from converting glucose to energy, and will result in excessive amounts of glucose in the blood, which is also referred to as hyperglycemia. The deficiency in insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, will also affect the body's ability to properly metab more]]> Endocrine Sat, 05 Jun 2010 19:59:11 +0000 10066 at
Diarrhea in Ferrets There are many different types and causes of diarrhea in ferrets. Relatively common among animals, it can cause loose stool, stomach pains and other gastrointestinal problems in ferrets. Diarrhea can also be a secondary symptom to another (sometimes more serious) condition. 
Symptoms and Types
The symptoms of diarrhea will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the illness, but most often include watery or loose stools, abdominal swelling or distension, and lethargy. If it persists for long periods of time, it can even cause the ferret to become dehydrate more]]> Digestive Wed, 01 Oct 2008 16:36:47 +0000 595 at
Difficult, Painful And Frequent Urination 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 symptom more]]> Urinary Sun, 06 Jun 2010 13:42:09 +0000 10072 at
Difficulty and/or Rapid Breathing in Ferrets  
Dyspnea, tachypnea, and hyperpnea are all terms that describe disturbed breathing patterns in ferrets. Dyspnea refers to the distress often associated with difficulty breathing or labored breathing; tachypnea, meanwhile, is rapid or fast breathing; and hyperpnea is deep breathing. Typically these breathing difficulties are associated with some ailment or stressful situation.
Symptoms and Types
The type of breathing difficulty (dyspnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea) experienced by the ferret will typically determine what type of sy more]]> Respiratory Sun, 06 Jun 2010 13:13:15 +0000 10070 at
Difficulty Swallowing in Ferrets  

Dysphagia is a condition that makes it difficult for the ferret to swallow or move food through the esophagus. This often occurs because of structural problems in the oral cavity or throat, weak and uncoordinated swallowing movements, and/or pain involved in the chewing and swallowing process.
Symptoms and Types
The most common sign of dysphagia in ferrets is an inability to (or difficulty when) swallowing, chewing, and moving food through the back of the throat and esophagus into the stomach; some coughing or choking may also occur. Other ferr more]]> Mouth Sat, 05 Jun 2010 20:21:10 +0000 10068 at
Ear Mites in Ferrets Ear mites are quite uncommon among ferrets and usually occur when the animal's ears are cleaned too much, thus removing natural protective oils. The Otodectes cynotis mite is the cause for the infection and it acts much like a parasite, seeking out a host -- in this case, the ferret -- and feeding on the tissue debris and secretions from the ear canal lining. Fortunately, this is an infection that is relatively easy to clear up once proper veterinary treatment is sought.
Symptoms and Types
The color and odor of a ferret's earwax is the most recognizable sign of an ear more]]> Ears Thu, 14 Aug 2008 15:06:29 +0000 389 at
Enlarged Heart in Ferrets  
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a rare condition that causes a ferret's heart to enlarge or become weak. Often, the animal's heart experiences increasing thickness, especially in the left ventricular. High blood pressure and other side effects can also occur because of this disorder.
Many times there are no overt or outward symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in ferrets, at least not initially. There are many ferrets that simply die suddenly and are diagnosed only during a post-mortem autopsy. Some ferrets experience lethargy a more]]> Cardiovascular Wed, 01 Oct 2008 21:28:51 +0000 612 at
Enlarged Liver in Ferrets  
Hepatomegaly is the medical term used to describe an abnormally enlarged liver. Often occurring due to certain diseases and conditions that can either directly or indirectly affect the liver's ability to function, the liver may increase in size, taking on a diseased condition of its own. Hepatomegaly usually occurs in middle-aged to older ferrets.
Symptoms and Types
Depending on the underlying cause, the enlargement may involve the whole liver or only part of it. For example, infections and/or inflammation may lead to generalized symmetrical e more]]> Endocrine Mon, 07 Jun 2010 13:37:00 +0000 10080 at
Enlarged Lymph Nodes in Ferrets  
Lymphadenopathy is a medical term meaning “disease of the lymph nodes.” However, it most frequently associated with swollen or enlarged lymph nodes, which can occur due to infection or cancer. Small masses of tissue that are found throughout the body, lymph nodes play an integral part in the functioning of the ferrets' immune system, acting as filters for the blood, and as sentinels of disease in the issues they drain. Consequently, they are often the first indicators of disease in the tissues.
Symptoms and Types
Lymph nodes can more]]> Endocrine Sat, 12 Jun 2010 21:17:03 +0000 10095 at
Enlarged Prostrate in Ferrets  
In ferrets, the prostate is a spindle-shaped structure surrounding the back side of the urethra. Prostatomegaly is a medical condition in which the prostate gland is abnormally large. This is usually due to cystic structures found on the back portion of the urinary bladder or surrounding the part of the urethra near to the prostate in male and (rarely) female ferrets. Cysts can become very large, may be single or multiple, and often cause partial or complete obstruction of the urethra.
Focal or generalized peritonitis (inflammation of the limiting of more]]> Reproductive Tue, 15 Jun 2010 13:50:34 +0000 10118 at
Enlarged Spleen in Ferrets  
Splenomegaly is a medical condition in which a ferret's spleen is enlarged. The spleen is an organ that produces the immune system's B and T cells, and where old blood cells, bacteria, and other infectious agents are filtered and destroyed.
Additionally, the spleen stores viable blood cells, so that in the case of an emergency (e.g., an injury causing the ferret to bleed extensively) the organ can distribute blood to the rest of the body.
Splenomegaly is reported to be extremely common in ferrets. Often, ferrets live most of their lives normal more]]> Cardiovascular Fri, 09 Jan 2009 21:17:47 +0000 3737 at
Enlargement of Esophagus in Ferrets  
Rather than a single disease entity, megaesophagus refers to dilation and slow movement of the esophagus, a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. This may be a primary disorder or secondary to esophageal obstruction or neuromuscular dysfunction. If esophageal motility is decreased or absent, it can result in severe complications, including starvation and aspiration pneumonia. Megaesophagus is usually seen in adult ferrets (3-7 years old), implying that the disease is acquired.
Symptoms and Types
Regurgitation is considered the h more]]> Digestive Sun, 13 Jun 2010 17:30:48 +0000 10098 at
Enlargement of the Spleen in Ferrets  
This is a condition where the spleen becomes enlarged. However, this is not typically directly related to the spleen, but rather a symptom of another disease or condition. Because the spleen produces and regulates blood cells (red, white, platelets, etc.), it should be taken seriously. Splenomegaly commonly affects older ferrets, though it isn't quite sure why.
Symptoms and Types
There are two main types of splenomegaly: diffuse and nodular. Their signs are often generalized; that is, the signs will reflect the underlying disease rather than s more]]> Cardiovascular Mon, 21 Jun 2010 21:19:26 +0000 10165 at
Excessive Production of Saliva in Ferrets  
Ptyalism is the excessive production of saliva. Pseudoptyalism, meanwhile, is the excessive release of saliva that has accumulated in the oral cavity. It is an extremely common complaint in ferrets and is usually associated with nausea.
Although saliva is constantly produced and secreted into the oral cavity from the salivary glands, salivation increases because of excitation of the salivary nuclei in the brain stem. Stimuli that lead to this are taste and tactile sensations involving the mouth and tongue. Higher centers in the central nervous system can a more]]> Mouth Tue, 15 Jun 2010 17:41:55 +0000 10120 at
Excessive Weight in Ferrets  
Obesity is defined as the accumulation of an excessive amount of body fat to the extent that normal bodily movements and activities are compromised. Obesity may increase a ferret’s odds of developing other health problems, such as metabolic disorders, and has become an extremely common and often debilitating problem in pet ferrets.
Obesity is defined as excess amounts of body fat relative to body size; this is also the primary symptom. Other secondary symptoms may include sluggishness, weakness in the rear limbs, and an inability or more]]> Digestive Sun, 13 Jun 2010 18:39:24 +0000 10103 at
Ferrets with Black, Tarry Feces due to Presence of Blood  
If you ferret's stool appears green, black, or tarry, it may have melena, which typically occurs due to the presence of digested blood in the intestines. It has also been seen in ferrets after they have ingested a sufficient amount of blood from the oral cavity or respiratory tract.
Melena is not a disease in itself but a symptom of some other underlying disease. The dark color of the blood is due to the oxidation of iron in the hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying pigment of red blood cells) as it passes through the small intestine and colon.
Symptoms a more]]> Digestive Sun, 13 Jun 2010 17:40:07 +0000 10099 at
Fluid Buildup in the Kidney Due to Kidney or Ureter Obstruction in Ferret  
Usually one-sided and occurring secondary to complete or partial obstruction of the kidney or ureter by kidney stones, tumor, trauma or disease, hydronephrosis causes fluid buildup in the ferret's kidney. It can be seen in either gender, though it is more common in young females, especially those that have been spayed, which may cause inadvertent cuts on the ureter during the procedure.
Symptoms and Types
Some ferrets may be without overt symptoms, while others may display one or many of the following:

Vomiting more]]> Urinary Mon, 07 Jun 2010 13:44:13 +0000 10081 at
Fluid in the Chest Cavity of Ferrets  
Pleural effusion refers to an abnormal accumulation of fluid within the chest cavity. Typically, this is due to an increased fluid production or insufficient re-absorption of fluid in the body -- both of which may occur for a number of reasons, including an alteration in the lymphatic function, which is responsible for collecting and transporting tissue fluids throughout the body.
Symptoms and Types
The symptoms of pleural effusion vary greatly depending on the underlying cause of the condition, and also depend on the volume of fluid and r more]]> Respiratory Sun, 13 Jun 2010 19:24:03 +0000 10108 at
Foot and Toenail Disorders in Ferrets  
Inflammation of the feet, including foot pads, nail beds, and between the toes, is referred to as pododermatitis. Causes for these type of disorders include infectious, allergic, cancerous, and environmental diseases, though it's uncommon in pet ferrets. Nails and nailfolds are also subject to trauma and degeneration.
Symptoms and Types
The following symptoms are commonly seen:

Reddened/swollen paws
Painful and itchy paws
Fluid buildup in the paw more]]> Skin Mon, 14 Jun 2010 13:11:28 +0000 10113 at
Foreign Objects In Stomach in Ferrets  
Like any other animal, the inquisitive ferret also chews up, eats and can accidentally swallow various kinds foreign objects. These foreign objects usually lodge themselves in the stomach and may even block the ferret's intestines.
Symptoms and Types
 The most common signs seen in ferrets with foreign objects in the stomach are vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty passing stool.
Other symptoms may include:

Loss of appetite
Teeth clenching
Teeth grinding
Excessive more]]> Digestive Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:33:35 +0000 142 at
Fungal Infection (Dermatophytosis) of the Skin, Hair And Nails in Ferrets  
Dermatophytosis is a rare form of fungal infection in ferrets affecting primarily the hair, nails (claws), and sometimes the uppermost parts of the skin. It can affect both males and females regardless of their age. Moreover, an infected ferret can spread the infection to other animals.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms of dermatophytosis include accumulations of surface skin cells, such as seen in dandruff (scales); poor hair coat; reddened skin (erythema); darkened skin (hyperpigmentation); itchiness (pruritus); and hair loss (]]> Skin Sat, 05 Jun 2010 19:47:05 +0000 10065 at
Fungal Infection (Ringworm) in Ferrets  
Ringworms is a typical fungal disease which affects ferrets, regardless of age and gender; however, it is more common in young and infant ferrets. Ringworm infection in ferrets is due to two types of fungi: Micwspomm canis and Trichophyton mentagmphytes.
Other fungal diseases like fungal pneumonia (blastomycosis) or fungal infections of the central nervous system (cryptococcal meningitis), are uncommon in ferrets, but can occur when its immunity is low.
Symptoms and Types
Common symptoms for ringworms include hair loss, itching, a more]]> Skin Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:36:36 +0000 143 at
Fungal Pneumonia in Ferrets  
Fungal pneumonia is rarely diagnosed in ferrets, and those rarely housed outside are less likely to be exposed to fungal elements, which are typically inhaled from contaminated soil and then colonize in the ferret's lungs.
Symptoms and Types
Dimorphic fungi is seen in two forms -- mold and yeast -- is sometimes attributed to fungal pneumonia. Blastomycosis is another form of this pneumonia. It is found in the southeastern U.S. and Midwest, along the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee rivers and southern Great Lakes; also in southe more]]> Respiratory Mon, 14 Jun 2010 13:05:05 +0000 10112 at
Gastrointestinal Disease (Helicobacter Mustelae) in Ferrets  
Under normal conditions, the Helicobacter bacteria are benign inhabitants of the intestinal tract, being found in several species, including domestic animals such as dogs, cats, ferrets and pigs, and in humans. The most common organism affecting ferrets is the Helicobacter mustelae, which is most often acquired through the weaning process. However, only a small percentage of these ferrets will develop clinically significant Helicobacter-associated disease, especially those that are stressed or are suffering from another concu more]]> Digestive Mon, 07 Jun 2010 13:31:36 +0000 10079 at
Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease in Ferrets  
Gingivitis is a reversible inflammation of the gums and is considered the earliest stage of periodontal disease, whereby inflammation occurs in some or all of the teeth's support structures. Caused by bacteria located in the gingival crevice, pellicles (thin spot or scum) form on the enamel surface of a clean tooth, eventually leading to plaque. As the plaque thickens, it becomes mineralized and hardens, which is rough and irritating to the gums.
The severity of gingivitis is likely determined by the strength of the animal’s immune syste more]]> Mouth Sun, 06 Jun 2010 22:29:56 +0000 10078 at
Hair Loss in Ferrets  
Alopecia is the complete or partial loss of hair in areas where it is normally present. This is a common disorder in ferrets and, depending on the underlying cause, it can be treated. Middle-aged ferrets (between the ages of three and seven), or ferrets which are neutered (males) or spayed (females) are most prone to hair loss.
Symptoms and Types
The primary sign of alopecia is unusual hair loss. Symptoms may progress suddenly or slowly. But the exact pattern and degree of hair loss may help determine the cause of alopecia and identify the condition as prima more]]> Skin Mon, 29 Sep 2008 14:16:13 +0000 587 at
Hairballs in Ferrets  
Ferrets require very little grooming from owners because they prefer to groom themselves.
Symptoms and Types
Ingested hairballs may cause vomiting, decreased appetite or intestinal obstruction.
Not all ferrets vomit when they ingest hairballs. Some will stop eating or eat less – at least compared to their regular diet – while others will pass thin stool with hair in it, appearing like small amounts of ribbon.
Ferrets shed twice each year: fall and spring. Because of their preference to self-groom, these are the more]]> Skin Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:39:24 +0000 144 at
Hormone Overproduction in Ferrets  
Ferrets suffer from various hormonal disorders. And since ferrets mature sexually quickly -- as young as four months of age -- these disorders tend to show early in life.
In hyperadrenocorticism, the adrenal cortex overproduces the ferret's sex hormones -- progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. This occurs in ferrets not yet spayed (or neutered) and at any age.
Symptoms and Types
The most common sight seen in ferrets affected by hyperadrenocorticism is hair loss, which begins on the tail and rump and progresses up the body, towa more]]> Endocrine Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:45:54 +0000 146 at
Human Influenza Virus in Ferrets  
The influenza virus is quite contagious and can be passed on from humans to ferrets, and vice versa. However, it is far more likely a ferret contracts the human influenza virus from a person, than a human catching the flu from a ferret. And much like humans, the ferret flu is caused by the influenza virus.

Unlike humans, the flu found in ferrets can sometimes prove to be fatal, especially old and young ferrets with weak immunities. The common flu can also complicate the health of ferrets with secondary bacterial infections and pneumonia.
Symptoms an more]]> Respiratory Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:43:28 +0000 145 at
Increased Thirst and Urination in Ferrets  
Polyuria refers to an greater than normal urine production, while polydipsia refers to an increased level of thirst. Assessing these two conditions in ferrets, however, may be more subjective since an extremely wide range of urine production has been reported, ranging from 8 to 140 mL/24 hours. (Conversely, normal water consumption volumes is generally considered to be 75-100 mL/kg/24 hours.) In fact, ferrets are rarely diagnosed with these two conditions.
Urine production and water consumption (thirst) are controlled by interactions betwee more]]> Urinary Mon, 14 Jun 2010 13:17:18 +0000 10114 at
Inflammation of the Middle and Outer Ear Canal in Ferrets  
Otitis media refers to an inflammation of the middle ear, while otitis externa refers to an inflammation of the external ear canal. Both of these terms are used to describe clinical symptoms and are not diseases in themselves. Otitis media and externa are rarely seen in ferrets, but typically occur in relation to ear mites or excessive ear cleaning.
Symptoms and Types
The most common symptoms of otitis externa and otitis media are pain, head shaking, scratching at the external ear flaps, and bad-smelling crust emanating from more]]> Ears Sun, 13 Jun 2010 18:44:14 +0000 10104 at
Inflammation of the Prostate and Prostate Abscesses in Ferrets  
The prostate is a spindle-shaped structure surrounding the back side of the urethra. Bacterial prostatitis and prostatic abscesses are usually secondary to cysts in the urogenital area. Accumulation of prostatic secretions within these cysts can become secondarily infected, resulting in chronic bacterial prostatitis or prostatic abscess.
Bacteria usually gain access to the prostate gland and prostatic cysts by ascending the urethra and overcoming the lower urinary tract host defense mecha­nisms. Frequently, abscesses or cysts more]]> Reproductive Tue, 15 Jun 2010 13:35:38 +0000 10117 at
Inflammation of the Stomach and Intestine 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) more]]> Digestive Sun, 06 Jun 2010 13:52:28 +0000 10073 at
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Due to Lymphocytes and Plasma in Ferrets  
This is a form of inflammatory bowel disease characterized by lymphocyte and/or plasma cell infiltration into the lamina propria (a layer of connective tissue) underlying the lining of the stomach, intestine, or both. It is thought to be caused by an abnormal immune response to environmental stimuli due to loss of normal immune regulation, in which bacteria in the intestine may be a trigger. Continued antigen exposure and unregulated inflammation may also be underlying factors for the disease.
Symptoms and Types
&nbs more]]> Digestive Sun, 13 Jun 2010 17:11:11 +0000 10097 at
Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Ferrets Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of gastrointestinal diseases that result in the inflammation of the intestines and chronic symptoms related to gastrointestinal system. Though the exact cause of IBD is not known, abnormal immune system response thought to be initiated by normal inhabitant bacteria of the intestine is suspected to be the cause of inflammation. There is no sex or age predilection for IBD.
Symptoms and Types
The inflammatory response is usually lymphocytic (white blood cells found in bone marrow), lymphoplasmacytic (The fluid portion of the ly more]]> Digestive Sat, 12 Jun 2010 20:40:58 +0000 10093 at
Itchiness, Desire to Scratch, Chew or Lick Causing Inflamed Skin in Ferrets  
Pruritis is defined as the sensation to itch, or the sensation that provokes the desire to scratch, rub, chew, or lick. It’s often an indicator of inflamed skin, but the underlying cause has not been confirmed. In other mammalian species, histamines and proteolytic (decomposition of protein) enzymes are believed to be the primary mediators. Released by bacteria, fungi, and mast cells, proteolytic can damage epidermal cells.
Symptoms and Types
Some of the most common symptoms seen in ferrets include:

Scratching more]]> Skin Tue, 15 Jun 2010 14:00:45 +0000 10119 at
Kidney Disease in Ferrets 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. more]]> Urinary Wed, 02 Jul 2008 16:00:39 +0000 147 at
Kidney Failure in Ferrets  
Failure of the kidney -- which among other things regulates blood pressure, blood sugar, blood volume, water composition in the blood, and pH levels, and produces red blood cells and certain hormones -- can take so place so slowly, that by the time the symptoms have become obvious, it may be too late to treat the condition effectively. As a result, kidney failure is a condition that should be taken seriously by pet owners.
As a result of renal failure, there is decreased ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine, leading to accumulation of toxic che more]]> Urinary Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:23:04 +0000 10162 at
Lack of Coordination and Sensory Dysfunction in Ferrets  
Ataxia is a condition relating to sensory dysfunction, which mainly affects the neurological and motor systems, particularly movements of the limbs, head, and neck among ferrets.
Symptoms and Types
The signs and symptoms associated with ataxia are dependent on the underlying cause. Some of the more common ones include:

Weakness of the limbs (one, two, or all four limbs)
Head tilting
Stumbling, tipping over, swaying
Abnormal eye movements

Often, pro more]]> Neurological Fri, 04 Jun 2010 21:21:45 +0000 10060 at
Large Bowel Diarrhea in Ferrets  
Abnormally high levels of the Clostridium perfringens, a bacteria commonly found inhabiting decaying vegetation and marine sediment, can bring on the intestinal syndrome Clostridial enterotoxicosis, sometimes referred to as large bowel diarrhea in ferrets. It can also be acquired from raw or improperly cooked meats and poultry, and meats that have been left out in the open. Typically, the syndrome and its associated symptoms, such as diarrhea, resolve within a week, but it may also become more severe or lead to other gastrointestinal dis more]]> Digestive Fri, 04 Jun 2010 21:41:29 +0000 10062 at
Loss of Appetite in Ferrets  
Anorexia is a very serious condition which causes a ferret to lose its appetite, refuse to eat, and thus lose a dangerous amount of weight. Typically, ferrets lose their desire to eat due to systemic or total body diseases, however, psychological causes are another factor; this is referred to pseudoanorexia.
Regardless of the causes for loss of appetite, the signs and symptoms of ferret anorexia are fairly standard,; they include:

Weight loss
Inab more]]> Digestive Mon, 29 Sep 2008 14:33:35 +0000 588 at
Low Blood Sugar in Ferrets  
Hypoglycemia is an abnormally low blood concentration of glucose, or sugar—basically, the opposite of diabetes. It’s caused by excess insulin or insulin-like factors (e.g., insulinoma or an overdose of insulin administered medically). Because glucose is a main energy of source in an animal's body, a low amount will result in a severe decrease in energy levels, possibly to the point of loss of consciousness.
Symptoms and Types
Some ferrets appear normal aside from findings associated with the underlying disease, while most have epis more]]> Endocrine Mon, 07 Jun 2010 14:18:53 +0000 10083 at
Lower Bowel Disease in Ferrets  
Proliferative bowel disease (PBD) is an infection of the ferret's lower colon caused by the spiral bacteria Lawsonia intracellularis (an organism which is also closely related to the bacterium causing proliferative enteritis in hamsters and swine). A relatively uncommon disease, it is seen primarily in ferrets 12 weeks to 6 months of age and in older ferrets with compromised immune systems. It is also thought that male ferrets are more susceptible to PBD.
Symptoms and Types
Diarrhea originating from the colon or large intestine is the most more]]> Digestive Thu, 11 Sep 2008 16:47:17 +0000 464 at
Lower Urinary Tract Infection in Ferrets  
Bacteria invade and colonize in the urinary bladder and/or the upper portion of the urethra when the local defense system, which helps protect against infection, is impaired. Symptoms related to this type of bacterial infection include inflammation of the affected tissue and urinary difficulties.
Ferrets of all ages can be affected, but vulnerability increases as the animal gets older. In such cases, stone formation, prostate disease, and tumors are frequently seen. Additionally, females are more susceptible to bacterial infections of the lower u more]]> Urinary Sat, 12 Jun 2010 20:56:32 +0000 10094 at
Masses in the Stomach, Esophagus, and Intestines of Ferrets  
Because ferrets often chew nonfood items, discovering foreign bodies or objects lodged in the gastrointestinal region (i.e., esophagus, stomach, and intestine) is not uncommon. This can especially be a serious issue if the foreign object contains heavy metals. At the very least, a blockage of the gastrointestinal region can irritate the intestinal mucous, which leads to various health problems such as an infection.
Symptoms and Types
The types of signs and symptoms your ferret displays will depend on the type more]]> Digestive Sun, 06 Jun 2010 21:50:31 +0000 10076 at
Negative Energy Balance in Late Pregnancy 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 bec more]]> Reproductive Mon, 14 Jun 2010 13:38:29 +0000 10115 at
Overproduction of Estrogen in Ferrets  
Produced by the ovary, testes, and adrenal cortex (endocrine gland at the top end of the kidneys) for the purpose of regulating the menstrual cycle (estrus), estrogen is vital. However, an overproduction of estrogen can result in estrogen toxicity, or what is known as hyperestrogenism. This can happen without any outside interference or it can occur when estrogens are being introduced artificially, but typically occurs in sexually mature females (greater than 8 to 12 months of age).
Severe aplastic anemia (bone-marrow disease) and blood loss due t more]]> Reproductive Mon, 21 Jun 2010 01:50:21 +0000 10157 at
Pancreatic Tumor in Ferrets  
Insulinoma is a tumor in the pancreas that secretes an excess quantity of insulin. It is one of the most common diseases in pet ferrets, and is usually seen in ferrets older than two years of age. The tumor causes the body to absorb an excessive amount of glucose and reduces the liver's ability to produce this type of sugar. This, in turn, can cause hypoglycemia or affect the nervous system, bringing on such symptoms as seizures, disorientation, collapse, and partial paralysis of the back legs. It may also affect the gastrointestinal system and bring on nausea an more]]> Cancer Fri, 01 Aug 2008 19:44:40 +0000 329 at
Paralysis and Paresis in Ferrets Paresis is the medical term for a weakness of voluntary movement, while paralysis is the term for a complete lack of voluntary movement.
Symptoms and Types
There are various types of paresis and paralysis, each of which affect different parts of the body. Quadriparesis, also known as tetraparesis, refers to a weakness of voluntary movement in all limbs. Quadriplegia, or tetraplegia, refers to an absence of all voluntary limb movement. Paraparesis, meanwhile, refers to a weakness of voluntary movements in pelvic limbs (the back legs). And paraplegia refers to an absenc more]]> Neurological Sun, 13 Jun 2010 18:50:42 +0000 10105 at
Parasitic (Giardiasis) Diarrhea in Ferrets  
An intestinal infection, giardiasis is caused by the protozoan parasite Giardia. Contamination can occur from direct or indirect contact with the infected cysts, which are shed in another animal's feces. This can cause the ferret to have difficulty absorbing nutrients from food or lead to diarrhea. In addition to affecting ferrets, giardiasis is seen in dogs, cats, and humans.
Symptoms and Types
The signs and symptoms of giardiasis will vary. Some ferrets will not have any outward signs (especially if the infection is mild), others will more]]> Digestive Sun, 06 Jun 2010 22:23:32 +0000 10077 at
Pneumonia from Inhalation of Foreign Matter in Ferrets  
Aspiration (or inhalation) pneumonia is a medical condition in which the ferret's lungs become inflamed due to the inhalation of foreign matter, or from vomiting or the regurgitation of gastric acid contents. Aspiration pneumonia can also be a direct result of a neuromuscular disorder, which would cause difficulty with swallowing, as well as problems associated with the esophagus, with possible paralysis of the esophagus.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia in ferrets may be immediately apparent (acute), or may develop more]]> Respiratory Sun, 13 Jun 2010 19:35:14 +0000 10109 at
Pregnancy Complications and Labor Difficulty in Ferrets  
A difficult birthing experience is medically referred to as dystocia. This condition may occur as a result of maternal or fetal factors, and can occur during any stage of the labor. Abnormalities of presentation, posture, and the position of the fetus within the uterus can negatively affect the temporal relationship between the birthing offspring and the maternal birth canal, thus causing serious problems.
Symptoms and Types
There are many signs and symptoms of dystocia among ferrets, including:

Crying or ot more]]> Reproductive Sun, 06 Jun 2010 13:23:50 +0000 10071 at
Protrusion of the Rectum and Anus in Ferrets  
Anal or rectal prolapse is a condition in which one or more layers of the rectum are displaced through the anus, the opening which allows digestive waste to leave the body. More specifically, anal prolapse is when only the lining of the rectum protrudes through the opening, and rectal prolapse is when all the layers of the anal tissue, along with the lining, protrude.
It can be caused by a variety of factors, including disorders of the digestive, urinary, or genital systems, and typically occurs in young ferrets, ages 2 to 6 months. In fac more]]> Digestive Tue, 15 Jun 2010 18:05:26 +0000 10122 at
Regurgitation in Ferrets When a ferret's stomach contents (i.e., food) move backwards up the esophageal track and into the mouth, it is referred to as regurgitation. This may not only affect the digestive system, but the respiratory system, too. The displaced contents may be inhaled, causing aspiration pneumonia. 
This medical condition can be congenital (inherited) or acquired from a variety of causes, though it is relatively rare in ferrets. Fortunately, modifications to the animal's diet, in conjunction with medication, will often correct the condition.
Symptoms and Types
Com more]]> Digestive Tue, 15 Jun 2010 18:11:24 +0000 10123 at
Removal of Red or White Blood Cells by the Spleen in Ferrets  
Hypersplenism is a syndrome in which red or white blood cells are removed at an abnormally high rate by the spleen, resulting in one or more cytopenias (insufficient cells in the blood stream). On rare occasions, this cause the ferret's spleen to enlarge. There are no breed, sex, or age predilections for hypersplenism.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms are those that are caused by anemia, leucopenia (a type of cell), and thrombocytopenia (a small number of cells are circulating in the blood stream), including:

Weakness more]]> Cardiovascular Mon, 07 Jun 2010 13:54:00 +0000 10082 at
Runny Nose, Sneezing, Gagging in Ferrets  
If your ferret has a runny nose, it is actually referred to as nasal discharge. This discharge may be clear, mucoid, pustulant, or even contain blood or food debris. The source of nasal discharge is typically the upper respiratory organs, such as nasal cavities, sinuses, and the postnasal area. However, if the ferret has a swallowing disorder or a digestive tract disease, secretions may be forced into the postnasal area. Irritation of the mucosa (the pink tissue covering of the nasal passages) by mechanical, chemical, or inflammatory stimulation can also inc more]]> Respiratory Sun, 13 Jun 2010 18:05:12 +0000 10101 at
Salmonella Infection in Ferrets  
This disease is caused by Salmonella, a strain of bacteria which infects the stomach and intestines. The affectation of this disease may be mild or moderate. If the infection spreads to the blood, however, there is high risk for septicemia to set in.
Most reports of samonellosis are of outbreaks occurring in breeding or research colonies, or in ferrets eating undercooked meats or poultry products. Young ferrets with poor immune systems and other diseases are also at risk of sustaining Salmonella infection.
Symptoms and Types more]]> Digestive Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:52:01 +0000 10164 at
Skin Tumor in Ferrets  
Ferrets, like their human owners, can suffer from various types of tumors. A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells or tissues in any organ or system in the body. And while most tumors are benign and do not spread to other organs of the body, there are some tumors which can become cancerous and begin spreading, threatening the life of the sick ferret.
A common skin tumor in ferrets is the mast cell tumor. These mast cells are present all over the animal's body, but when it begins to form a growth it can become a problem. The tumors are most prevalent more]]> Skin Mon, 11 Aug 2008 15:24:21 +0000 354 at
Stomach Inflammation in Ferrets  
Gastritis refers to inflammation of the “gastric mucosa” or the membrane that lines the stomach in ferrets. This inflammation can lead to erosions of the stomach lining that can cause pain and and irritation. In addition to the stomach, the esophagus and other parts of the gastrointestinal system may be affected by this disease
Symptoms and Types
Depending on the type and severity of the gastritis (acute or chronic), there are various symptoms that may occur. Some of the most common ones include:

]]> Digestive Sun, 06 Jun 2010 14:03:36 +0000 10074 at
Stomach Ulcers in Ferrets  
Gastroduodenal ulcers are a type of lesion that form in the mucosa or stomach lining in ferrets. This can lead to problems such as anemia and vomiting. There are many different factors that can alter and damage the stomach lining or intestinal lumen (which comes in direct contact with food and is responsible for nutrient absorption), including bacterial infections and overuse of medications.
Symptoms and Types
The symptoms associated with gastroduodenal ulcers are also varied; symptoms may even remain undetected until the ferret's con more]]> Digestive Sun, 06 Jun 2010 14:13:04 +0000 10075 at
Tumor of the Spine (or Tail) and Cancer of the Cartilage in Ferrets  
A chordoma is a slow-growing tumor on a ferret's spine or tail which arises from remnants of notochords -- flexible, rod-shaped bodies that are located directly beneath the animal's nerve cord.
Chordomas do not metastasize (spread throughout the body), although they are locally invasive in the spinal cord. This compression of the spinal cord can cause ferrets to become paralyzed or show loss of some pain perception. Surgery can relieve the compressed spinal cord and usually return the ferret to normal.
Chondrosarcomas, meanwhi more]]> Musculoskeletal Fri, 09 Jan 2009 20:19:06 +0000 3736 at
Tumors of the Digestive System in Ferrets  
Neoplasia is the medical term for the development of a neoplasm, an abnormal cluster of cell growth that is more commonly known as a tumor. Ferrets may be more susceptible to some types of tumors at certain ages and are most likely to develop such tumors between ages four and seven. However, because the number of reports of digestive system neoplasia in ferrets is so low, information about the condition is limited.
Symptoms and Types
There are two common types of tumor growth in the digestive system. The first is insulinoma, more]]> Digestive Sun, 13 Jun 2010 18:20:58 +0000 10102 at
Tumors of the Musculoskeletal and Nervous Systems in Ferrets  
More commonly referred to as a tumor, a neoplasm is an abnormal cluster of cell growth. There is no known age or sex that is more susceptible to neoplasms in the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. In addition, due to the relatively uncommon nature of these types of neoplasia in ferrets, there is little known about them.
Symptoms and Types
The symptoms of neoplasia vary depending upon the exact location, size, and amount of tumor growth. The most common type of musculoskeletal tumor, chordoma, typically more]]> Musculoskeletal Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:10:07 +0000 10160 at
Tumors of the Skin, Hair, Nails, Sweat Glands in Ferrets  
More commonly referred to as a tumor, a neoplasm is an abnormal cluster of cell growth. They can affect various parts of the body, including the integumentary system, which is comprised of the skin, hair, nails, and sweat gland. Integumentary neoplasms are relatively common in ferrets and because the organ system protects the body from damage, they can causes serious health concerns.
Symptoms and Types
A number of tumor types fall into the category of integumentary neoplasms, including mast cell tumors (originating in the mast cells more]]> Skin Mon, 21 Jun 2010 02:00:38 +0000 10158 at
Urinary Tract 'Stones' in Ferrets  
Urolithiasis is a condition where certain compounds called uroliths form in the urinary tract. Made of stones, crystals, or calculi, the uroliths are caused by metabolic and dietary factors that affect the acidity of the ferret's blood. Ferrets with this condition suffer from secondary bacterial infections and pain due to the rubbing of the uroliths against the urinary tract.
Symptoms and Types
Uroliths are rough in nature, causing the ferret's urethra, urinary bladder, or kidneys to become inflamed. Kidneys can also become inflamed due to sec more]]> Urinary Tue, 22 Jun 2010 02:17:42 +0000 10168 at
Urinary Tract Obstruction in Ferrets A urinary tract obstruction causes the ferret to strain while urinating, producing little or no urine each time. This may occur due to inflammation or compression on the urethra, or simply a blockage. If left untreated, it may also affect the renal, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, nervous, and respiratory systems as uremia and acute renal failure develop. Urinary tract obstructions are more common in males than females.
Symptoms and Types
The first sign of a urinary obstruction is straining to urinate. This may actually look like constipation since the ferret may hu more]]> Urinary Tue, 22 Jun 2010 01:53:11 +0000 10166 at
Uterine Infection and Pus in Ferrets  
Pyometra is a life-threatening uterine infection that develops when bacterial invasion of the endometrium (wall of the uterus) leads to an accumulation of pus. Pyometra is seen most commonly in breeding females. However, since most ferrets are spayed at a very young age prior to sale, the overall incidence of pyometra in ferrets is low.
Spayed ferrets, conversely, may suffer from a condition called stump pyometra. This uterine infection occurs when remnants of the uterine or ovarian tissue remain. It typically only affects sexually matur more]]> Reproductive Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:16:17 +0000 10161 at
Vaginal Discharge in Ferrets Vaginal discharge refers to any unusual substance coming from the animal's vagina such as mucus, blood, or pus. Depending in part on the age and reproductive status of the ferret (blood discharge is normal in young intact females, but is of concern in older spayed females) or presence of underlying diseases, the discharge may originate from various sources, including the urinary tract, uterus, vagina, or surrounding skin. In fact, because there are so many causes for vaginal discharge, consulting with a veterinarian is highly recommended.
Symptoms and Types
Vaginal di more]]> Reproductive Tue, 22 Jun 2010 02:23:08 +0000 10169 at
Viral Infection (ECE) in Ferrets  
Epizootic catarrhal enteritis (ECE) is a highly contagious viral infection in ferrets. It often recognized by the inflammation it causes in the ferret's intestines. Older ferrets develop the severest form of the viral infection, and also take the most time to recover -- about a month.
Symptoms and Types
The viral infection causes damage to the villi -- hair like projections in the lining of the intestines. Due to the damage, the intestine looses its ability to properly digest and absorb food.
ECE display symptoms in t more]]> Digestive Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:31:06 +0000 141 at
Vomiting in Ferrets  
Much like in humans, the ejection of a ferret's stomach contents through the mouth is known as vomiting. It occurs less frequently in ferrets when compared to dogs and cats, but you should be aware of it nonetheless.
Vomiting may be brought on by neurological issues, adverse drug reactions, or motion sickness. Various metabolic or bacterial toxins or inner ear imbalance will also trigger vomiting.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms of vomiting include heaving, retching, and partially digested food coming up, along with a yellow fluid calle more]]> Digestive Tue, 22 Jun 2010 02:27:21 +0000 10170 at
Weakening of the Heart in Ferrets  
Any disease in ferrets not caused by a viral, fungal, parasitic or bacterial infection is referred to as a non-infectious disease. One serious non-infectious disease in ferrets is dilated cardiomyopathy.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a heart disease which causes some of the heart wall cells to die. Over time, the muscles in the walls of the ferret's heart thin out, and every time the heart pumps blood, some blood remains. This enlarges the heart and affects its normal functions. Finally as the ferret's heart weakens, less blood is pumped through more]]> Cardiovascular Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:27:31 +0000 140 at
Weight Loss in Ferrets  
When a ferret loses more than 10 percent of what is considered normal body weight for an animal its size, it is referred to as weight loss. This can result from a variety of mechanisms, but they often share a common feature: insufficient calorie intake and high-energy demand.
Cachexia, meanwhile, is defined as the state of extreme poor health. It is associated with loss of appetite (anorexia), weight loss, weakness, and mental depression.
< more]]> Digestive Tue, 22 Jun 2010 02:33:43 +0000 10171 at