Ferret Health: Zoonotic Diseases

Owning a ferret comes with great responsibilities. Aside from maintaining proper ferret health through perfect diet and hygiene, another very important factor to handle with caution are the zoonotic diseases, which are the diseases that an animal can spread to humans. Like dogs and cats, there are a number of diseases and health risks that ferrets can give their owner. Fortunately, these diseases can be easily prevented and cured.

Ferret Health

Photo:  Hans Splinter | Flickr


The most common disease that people think about when dealing with various animals is rabies. It is a viral infection that affects both animals and humans. Most mammals including ferrets are susceptible to contracting rabies. This condition usually occurs when an animal such as a ferret is exposed to rabid animals such as a fox or raccoon.

Most mammals like cats and dogs spread rabies virus through their saliva. Through the years, there have been thousands of reported deaths due to rabies infection, especially during the early times when the anti-rabies vaccine was not yet available. Fortunately, the possibility of a ferret spreading rabies virus through its saliva is very rare compared to other mammals. Still, proper care and caution must be practiced when dealing with ferrets to avoid the risks of contracting this deadly virus.

As stated earlier, most of these zoonotic diseases can be easily avoided. The basic and most effective way to prevent rabies infection is to vaccinate your pet with approved anti-rabies ferret injection which is called Imrab-3. Doing this will certainly give peace of mind to every member of your household especially the children, which have the highest risk of contracting the virus.

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In addition to vaccination, another effective way to prevent rabies to is to keep your pet indoors. Placing its cage or enclosure inside your home will minimize its exposure to other rabid animals. Furthermore, an indoor environment will minimize the possibility of contracting other bacterial infections. The most important thing when keeping an indoor cage is to always practice proper hygiene even inside your home. Regularly clean the cage and its surroundings. Remove leftover food and always replace the water supply with a fresh batch. Some owners also use antibacterial sprays that help eliminate airborne viruses that can carry infections and other diseases.

Avoiding Bacterial Infections for Ferret Health

This ferret health risk is extremely rare because of the fact that ferrets almost never bite people. Bacterial infection in ferrets can be spread through biting. Fortunately, bacterial infections can be easily treated with antibiotics. When you have been bitten by your pet and suspect any symptoms, immediately seek professional care and get proper antibiotics to prevent further complications.


Anytime you associate worms with humans, it is a bad sign. Most ringworm infections happen in mammals such as cats and dogs, but ferrets are also susceptible. Ringworm infection ferrets commonly develop in pet stores where these mammals share a common cage or living environment. When regularly exposed to animals infected with ringworms, a ferret can easily acquire the infection.

Another common reason for the bacterial spread is caring for two kinds of animals simultaneously. Most of the time, the owner is unaware that his original pet is already suffering from ringworm. It only takes a few days or weeks after bringing his new pet home to acquire the infection.

To prevent these issues, have all your pets checked for any infection before bringing them home. Also, make sure to regularly replace the bedding, hammocks and sleeping materials of your pets due to the fact that these things are also possible infection carriers. When you notice symptoms of ringworm infection, immediately go to a doctor for proper treatment. Ringworm can bring extreme itchiness and discomfort but is easily treated with proper medication.

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Fleas and Ticks

Another common ferret health hazard in ferrets is parasitic infestations such as fleas and ticks. These annoying creatures can easily make their way to the human body. Aside from inflicting itchiness, fleas and ticks can also inflict bites that can lead to skin allergies and other health issues.

To prevent this annoying event, regularly check your pets for parasitic infestation. This creates like to burrow in the body, behind the ears and between fingers and toes. Use antiparasitic shampoos, soaps, and sprays to eliminate these creepy creatures effectively.

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