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Baby Ferret Loses Its Fur

Why would a 10-week-old ferret suddenly lose its fur?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: September 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Click image to enlarge
This baby ferret had all its fur but then the fur fell out.
Baby ferrets shouldn't get adrenal gland disease, so the cause of fur loss is likely something else.

Q: I have a 10-week-old ferret that in all aspect is acting fine and had all its fur three weeks ago. She is putting on weight; she’s a great eater. For some reason, though, all of her fur fell out except for on her head, and even that has thinned out greatly. The baby looks like an adult ferret with a full-blown case of adrenal gland disease. Is it possible at such a young age for a ferret to have adrenal problems? What else could cause this?

A: Thank you for sending the photos. That is very helpful. I am not sure exactly what is wrong, but I think I can say with good certainty it is not adrenal gland disease. This ferret is too young for adrenal gland disease.

The photos you included are interesting in that they show a ferret that does not look to me like a 10-week-old ferret but more like one half that age.

If this is a ferret that you purchased, I would be very concerned about the true age of the ferret. If this is a ferret from a breeding female that you have, I would be concerned that possibly this is the runt of the litter. If this is the runt of a litter, likely there is a genetic disorder that is causing the ferret to not thrive and hair follicles to die; therefore causing the fur to fall out.

If this were from a litter your ferret had, I would wonder what the other kits look like. If this is a ferret you purchased, obviously, it could be much younger than you think. In that case, I would want to make sure the ferret received appropriate nutrition for a ferret kit that young.

If you did purchase this kit and have had it for a number of weeks, then I would consider this, again, a runt and would be concerned about its future and ability to thrive.

Of course, your best answer is to find a ferret-friendly veterinarian in your area and get his or her opinion on this problem.

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