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New Study Released About Mycoplasmosis In Ferrets

Researchers link a new respiratory disease in ferrets to a novel Mycoplasma species in a study funded by donations to the Ferret Health Advancement Fund at Michigan State University.

BY Marylou Zarbock
Posted: October 5, 2012, 4:35 p.m. EDT

ferret portrait
© Gina Cioli/BowTie Studio
Ferrets can develop mycoplasmosis.

Ferret owners, like most pet owners, really care about their pet’s health. Finding causes and cures for ferret ailments are a major concern, especially because most research dollars for pet ailments go toward illnesses of dogs and cats. But some ferret owners donate funds directly to researchers who work on ferret health issues.

Michigan State University is one of the places investigating ferret health. It has three sections that collaborate on ferret health — the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. To further its mission, MSU launched the Ferret Health Advancement website in 2009 to detail the efforts to understand and improve ferret health.

Thanks to researchers and the donations made to MSU for ferret health, a new study about an emerging ferret disease was posted this week on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. It’s titled Mycoplasmosis In Ferrets. Its authors are Matti Kiupel, Danielle R. Desjardins, Ailam Lim, Carole Bolin, Cathy A. Johnson-Delaney, James H. Resau, Michael M. Garner and Steven R. Bolin. The study includes photos and video. [Note: The URL for the study could change. If the direct link doesn’t work, search the CDC website for “ferret mycoplasma”]

The study traces the details of a new ferret respiratory disease first seen in 2007, the main characteristic of which was a dry, nonproductive cough. Since then, the study states that about 8,000 ferrets at 6 to 8 weeks of age have developed this disease. All originated from a commercial breeding facility in Canada and passed through the same U.S. distribution center. The treatments and testing done are also included in the study. The conclusion is that the respiratory disease is linked to a novel Mycoplasma. This is significant, but that’s not the end of the story. The study also states: “To more fully elucidate pathogenicity and disease dynamics in this species, experimental reproduction of the respiratory disease in ferrets is necessary.”

Like this article? Then check out the following.
How MSU Is Helping Ferrets, click here>>
Michigan State University Launches Website For Ferret Health Advancement, click here>>
The International Ferret Congress Ferret Symposium, click here>>

See all news, click here>>

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New Study Released About Mycoplasmosis In Ferrets

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Reader Comments
I love how more research is being done about the diseases of ferrets. As a ferret owner I love to hear about studies like this.
Karly, Carson, NV
Posted: 2/4/2013 12:18:22 AM
I have a ferret with micoplasma and I know of quite a few that do here in Seattle. They are all canadians. The cough is loud and seems to be seasonal. It will wake you up at night. Other than that there are no physical side affects. My ferret Tacoma eats and drinks and plays with reckless abandon. There's just a loud cough coming out of her twice a year. I would not want her tested on but she will be necropsied when she passes and I hope we can learn something by doing that. I do not like the idea of infecting healthy ferrets cause I also see that they would probably euthanize otherwise healthy ferrets just to get a look inside.
Kristina, Seattle, WA
Posted: 10/11/2012 10:38:47 AM
I am really glad to find out that some attention is being paid to ferret diseases because ferrets are very popular pets and are susceptible to a number of diseases, some of which are zoonotic. However, I dislike the fact that in order to study this disease further, ferrets have to be intentionally infected with it.
Lisa, East Hampton, CT
Posted: 10/5/2012 9:20:35 PM
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