Ferrets are adorable and affectionate pets. Also, they are healthy but can be vulnerable to several illnesses. Therefore, you must regularly check on your ferret’s health. In this article, I am going to look at how to tell if your ferret is healthy.
Also, I will include some of the common signs that your ferret is ill. If you are a new ferret owner, you will need to watch out for any changes in your ferret’s body. Well, before we look at the symptoms of a sick ferret, let us discuss what to expect from a healthy ferret.
Signs that your ferret is healthy
It is every pet owner’s dream to have a healthy pet. Ferrets are generally healthy even though they fall ill sometimes. Well then, the following signs will indicate that your ferret is perfectly fine.
A healthy ferret should have a thick coat. I mean, these pets are naturally adapted for cold weather and thus the thick fur. I must also mention that your ferret will shed his coat according to different seasons. He will grow a thicker fur just before winter while shedding the thinner summer coat.
Well, this is normal. Should you notice bald patches on your ferret’s body, you probably should be alarmed.
Also, understand that ferrets have different colors and patterns. So it is normal for them to have masks on the face and it makes them adorable.
Your ferret will shed hair twice a year. However, should your ferret start losing hair all of a sudden, you should check him out with your vet just to ensure that he is okay.
You can observe your ferret’s coat during the weekly grooming sessions. Brush your ferret’s coat as you examine the health of his coat.
Observing the ferret coat is an easy task. I mean, you can notice any visible changes. However, you must not forget to check on your ferret’s skin health. It is important to note that ferrets lack sweat glands, which makes them vulnerable to overheating.
That’s not all, your ferret also has scent glands on their skin. These glands secrete a musky odor which is natural for ferrets. It is why you should give your ferret at most one bathe per month.
While inspecting your ferret’s skin, you should check for fleas or ticks. These could present danger to your ferret. You can always follow up with your vet if your ferret has any fleas or ticks for treatment.
Ferrets have an almost perfect sense of hearing. They can hear strange noises from down the street when you cannot hear a thing. Well, it is only fair to make sure that your ferret has healthy ears. They should be clean and free of discharge.
If you do not know how to clean ferret ears, you can ask your vet to do it as you learn. However, refrain from cleaning his ears too often. It can dry out his ears which often results in ear infections.
Observe your ferret’s nose
Now, ferrets are tiny but adorable creatures. However, any visible physical changes in his body could mean that your ferret is not all healthy. For instance, if your ferret’s nose is moist and pink, he is perfectly healthy. Sometimes the nose can appear dry, especially when your ferret wakes up from deep sleep.
Should you notice any nasal discharge in your ferret’s nose, then he could be ill. In this case, check with your vet immediately.
When checking whether your ferret is healthy or not, we cannot fail to check the nature of the ferret’s eyes. There is not much to say about ferret eyes other that they should be clear and very bright. There should not be any discharge coming from your furry friend’s eyes.
However, do not be shocked if your ferret does not seem to see clearly under so much light. In fact, ferrets are unable to differentiate color during daylight. However, at night, these creatures have perfect vision.
Eyes with discharge or crusts could indicate that your ferret has canine distemper. Well, you must ensure that your ferret receives the annual vaccine against canine distemper. If your ferret has this illness. It is unlikely that he will be cured.
dental health is also important for ferrets. After all, these creatures are obligate carnivores. They feed on meat which will require chewing. Even dry ferret food will also need chewing. Therefore, ensure that your furry friend has healthy teeth.
Unfortunately, ferrets like to chew just about anything. Some ferrets might break or chip their teeth in the process. You must report this to your vet immediately.
At the same time, you must brush your ferret’s teeth as part of dental care. During your annual visit to your vet, you could probably have your ferret checked to see whether he needs dental scaling.
Also, it is normal for kits to lose teeth during teething. They later grow their tooth. If your ferret has bad breath, he could have gum or teeth infections. Visit your vet for a consultation and maybe check-up.
How To Tell If Your Ferret Is Healthy. Observe your ferret’s genitals
Well, when it comes to the health of your pet, you must not take any chances. If you notice any changes in your ferret’s genitals or even anus, he could be ill. For instance, a swollen vulva or discharge from your ferret’s genitals could indicate an illness.
Once again, it is important that you follow up with your vet to rule out serious medical illnesses.
Well, now that I have described what a healthy ferret should look like, let us look at the signs to look out for if you suspect that your ferret is sick.
Signs of a sick ferret
Just as you should be aware of your ferret’s health, it is important to learn the common signs of illness. Below, I am going to describe the signs to watch out for if you think your ferret is ill.
In almost all cases of a sick ferret, lethargy appears to be a leading symptom. Does your ferret appear to have reduced activity? Well, lethargy and collapsing indicate that your ferret is in serious trouble.
You should examine your ferret immediately you see him collapse. This could be an indication that your ferret is seriously sick. For instance, it could be that he suffers from dilated cardiomyopathy. However, the best thing to do is rush your ferret to the vet.
After a medical exam, your vet will be able to diagnose and treat your fuzzy buddy.
Another common symptom of a sick ferret is a seizure or shivering violently. A ferret having seizures could be an indication of insulinoma, which is low blood sugar in the blood.
Once again, do not ignore seizures. Speak to your vet as soon as you notice your ferret having seizures. Insulinoma is rather a common illness in ferrets, especially adult and older ferrets.
Difficulty in peeing
Peeing should happen naturally to every creature. However, if your ferret is having difficulties eliminating, it could be that he is sick.
Male ferrets can have an enlarged prostate which presses against the urethra. As a result, it becomes difficult for him to pee.
At the same time, it could be that your ferret has a bladder infection. Now if your ferret has trouble pooping, you could have a greater problem at hand. Ferrets love to swallow items that could cause intestinal blockage.
Sometimes swallowing hairballs could also be the reason why your ferret is not pooping properly.
Loss of weight preceded by lack of appetite
If your ferret refuses to eat food, it could be because he is not feeling too well. Well, this can go on for days and your ferret will not show any interest in food, it could be that he is feeling ill. Within a few days, your ferret will start losing weight.
Well, once again, you must take him to the vet for a medical exam. Lack of appetite can be a result of various illnesses.
Well, limping indicates that your ferret is in pain. You should examine him for injuries or swelling. Lumps and swellings should be examined by your vet.
This is likely to happen when your ferret is overheating. It is summertime and you find your ferret panting heavily, you must administer first aid immediately. I always urge ferret owners to follow up with their vet if a ferret has had heatstroke.
To ensure that your ferret is healthy, always take him for the annual check-up and vaccination. However, well-taken care of ferret will rarely fall ill. Do not ignore any signs of ferret illness as listed above.
If you suspect that your ferret is not healthy, you should check with your vet immediately. Otherwise, you will have a healthy pet for a couple of years.
Our Ferret Care Guide
As can be seen in the About Us page my son Bobby and I have been lifelong ferret owners and breeders and have experienced every problem and question that may come up.
As ferrets are our passion we have compiled our very own ferret care guide which took us 6 months to complete. It is perfect for new and seasoned owners alike and should be by your side.
To also help other ferret owners select the correct items then we have the hand-picked items that we indeed use and are all available from Amazon. See them here.