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Ferret Exhibits Hair Loss, Energy Loss, Distended Abdomen And Bumps

What would cause hair loss, energy loss, distended abdomen and bumps in a ferret?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: November 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

Q: Alex, my 5-year-old, male ferret, has rear hair loss, lack of energy, distended abdomen and what appears to be small bumps on his hind area. Could you tell me what could be done?
 
A: This is most likely a combination of different diseases, but until you visit your veterinarian and have him or her examine your ferret, it is impossible to know. Based on the age of your ferret, the signs you are describing, and the most common causes of these changes, your ferret likely has several diseases.

Adrenal gland disease is the most likely cause for the hair loss and possibly the small bumps on the skin that you are seeing. The lack of energy could be adrenal gland disease or insulinoma disease of the pancreas. Insulinoma causes a very low blood sugar and your ferret acts lethargic. As to the distended abdomen, your ferret could have an enlarged spleen, which is common in ferrets and, most of the time, not a severe problem.

These are the most likely causes, but many other, less common diseases, could cause some or all of these changes you are observing. The best course of action would be to take your ferret to the veterinarian as soon as you can. The sooner these causes are diagnosed, the sooner you can start treatment and improve the quality of life of your ferret.

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