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Avoiding Ferret Ailments

Is there any way to avoid some of the common ferret ailments?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: January 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EST

Q: Is there a chance of a ferret not getting any of those terrible diseases that I read so much about? My precious little ferret girl is 4 years old, and I worry so much about her.

A: Oh, how we all wish this was true! It would be wonderful if there was something we could do to ward off all of these horrible diseases in ferrets! But, as far as we know with diseases such as adrenal gland disease, insulinoma, lymphoma and heart disease, there is little we can do to prevent these from occurring.

Little by little we are learning more about these diseases. And with research moving at a snail’s pace, it is taking an excruciatingly long time to better understand what causes these problems and if there is anything we can do for prevention.

It could be that if you write back in a year, maybe we may know more about one or more of these diseases. But as of now, the best I can say is to visit your veterinarian at least once a year. With any of these diseases, the sooner they are found, the better the chance for a positive outcome.

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Reader Comments
I'm starting to wonder if a regular vet exam should be every 6 months for these short-lived friends. My precious Baby Bear just got very sick and died in just over week (after a month or so of gradual weigh loss - she had always been overweight). Last summer she had had bloodwork, ultrasound and xrays (all clear) b/c I was worried about her. I wish I could have been more prepared to find her already gone..
Stephanie, Thetford, VT
Posted: 2/12/2011 5:14:41 PM
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can avoid with adrenal disease. Poor Spencer (3) has it and he's almost bald except for his head. Its so very cold and he shivers all the time. He's on Lupron and melatonin, but we're not seeing any immediate hair growth. Avoiding sweet foods or treats is absolutely important. Spencer has Nbones and that's it! Poor little ones that bring so much joy to us!
Cheryl, Jacksonvillel, FL
Posted: 1/14/2011 6:50:41 AM
the less you feed your ferret anykind of fruits, tablefood or even the treats that have any sugar in there the better. The best treats are those with no sugar or extra ingredients, sugar is a big triggar for insulinomas and the less the better, sticking to a ferret friendly diet and a ferret friendly vet and doing your research is a good start.
lindalee, tonawanda, NY
Posted: 1/11/2011 12:20:38 PM
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