How to Know If your Ferret is Sick

Although considered a healthy animal, ferrets are still susceptible to a number of health issues. Without proper care and diet, your fury friend can develop an illness. One of the most common sicknesses in ferrets is colds, which can be easily treated if proper medication and care are given. So how do you know if your ferret is sick or has a cold?

Ferret is Sick

Photo: Alison | Flickr

Ferret Behavior

Unlike humans who can easily talk whenever something is wrong, ferrets will need you to be more attentive to spot an existing health issue. One way to determine a sickness is by observing its actions and reactions. Ferrets are naturally active and playful, they have loads of energy for interacting and will easily respond when prompted. If you see that your pet is low in energy and does not interact or respond as usual, this is the first sign that it might be sick.

Checking Vitals if Ferret is Sick

Next thing to inspect are its eyes, which must be clear and bright.  A ferret is sick when it has cloudy and dull eyes. There are also times that parts of the eyes become red. When you see these symptoms, there is a high chance that your pet is suffering from colds or other sickness. Fortunately, this issue can be prevented from further developing by seeking proper medical attention.

Another symptom of colds is when your ferret is dehydrated. Dehydration often results to skin issues such as allergies, flaking and severe dryness. Another sign if dehydration is falling hair especially in the head, body and neck area.  Due to these skin issues, your ferret may become uneasy and often scratch its body. To prevent further development of these conditions, it is recommended to immediately take your pet to a reputable veterinarian. In addition, make sure that it is able to drink enough clean water daily. To minimize the effects of skin allergies and dryness, clean its body with a clean damped cloth.

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Similar to humans, a ferret suffering from colds will likely sneeze and cough from time to time. Furthermore, runny nose or formation of a liquid substance in the nose area are also possible. When these symptoms are observed, proper medicines must be given by your veterinarian. Do not self-medicate because more of often than not, self-medication does more harm than good.

A ferret with colds usually develops diarrhea or irregular bowel movement. In most cases, the poop is dark in color than usual and has an almost liquid form. The occurrence of poop is also more than normal. During this period, you must immediately clean its cage to prevent further contamination. Remove all poop and take out leftover foods. It is also recommended to use an effective but mild antibacterial spray to kill bacteria and germs that may cause other health issues.

Appetite Loss

Lastly, a ferret is sick and experiencing colds will lose its appetite. Ferrets are good eaters and often finish food items in a few minutes. If you observe decrease in food consumption and an obvious decline in appetite, your pet is probably suffering from colds and other issues. To prevent excessive loss of energy due to lack of food intake, try to offer its favorite meals. Although doing this would not bring back normal appetite, serving its favorite food items might entice better eating. In addition, it is vital to avoid foods that contain excessive levels of sugar and acids. These foods might worsen the condition and may also develop other health issues.

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To provide immediate relief from these symptoms, there are a few effective steps you can easily do at home. First is to immediately give fresh and clean water. Entice your pet to drink more than usual especially if its suffering from colds and fever. You must also change the water every now and then to prevent bacterial infestation. Furthermore, using hydrating tablets, which are available at pet stores, to further increase hydration level, is also a good option. These tablets provide instant energy and restore lost vitamins and minerals that are need to maintain the ferret’s health.

Clearly, the best thing to do during this time is to have your pet ferret checked by a veterinarian. If the doctor prescribes medicines to kill bacteria or eliminate cold symptoms, you must follow vigorously.

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