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Parasites And Ferrets

Here's the lowdown on intestinal parasites, skin parasites and ferrets.

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: May 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: Do ferrets get worms and other parasites?

A: Yes they do. Ferrets can get the exact same intestinal worms that dogs and cats get. Ferrets can also get the same parasites on their skin that dogs and cats get. But intestinal worms or skin parasites are uncommon in ferrets. The most common parasite veterinarians see with ferrets are ear mites.

Why are intestinal worms rare in ferrets? There are a couple of reasons. First, most ferrets live indoors or are in a cage outside and are not exposed to the feces of dogs or cats. Dogs and cats can pick up worms from the feces of other dogs and cats. Also, worms can be passed from the mother to her puppies or kittens. Most ferret mothers do not have worms, so intestinal worms are rare in pet ferrets. This is why deworming is not part of the typical initial visit to the veterinarian for a ferret, whereas deworming is almost always performed in the first puppy or kitten veterinary visit.

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