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Diarrhea In Young Ferrets Is An Emergency

What can be done to help a young ferret with diarrhea?

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

Q: I have a 9-week-old ferret. He was fine for a couple of days, and now he has diarrhea. I’m hoping it’s because of the food. Is there anything I can give him that will clear him up?
A: A 9-week-old ferret with diarrhea is in extremely serious condition. Ferrets that young do not have any nutritional or fluid reserves and can die within a few days due to diarrhea.

The causes for diarrhea in a ferret this young may be different than in an older ferret. A 9-week-old ferret with diarrhea should be considered an emergency and be seen by a veterinarian right away.

At the veterinary hospital, fluids and nutrients can be replaced. Fluids will be given by the intravenous route, and nutrients may be given that way too.

In a ferret this young, I would be concerned about infectious diseases, including canine distemper virus infection. Other possible causes I would be worried about are viruses that attack young ferrets, a severe bacterial overgrowth and parasites.

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