Posted: April 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: I just got my two little ferrets a week ago, and they seem to be having problems with their stool. It is runny and smelly, and the poor little rectums are protruding a bit with a tinge of blood. I’ve had ferrets in the past, and they were never this stinky. I want to love and cuddle my babies, but their stinkiness is making it difficult to snuggle, and I’m super worried about their poop. Please help.
A: The first thing to do is to visit your veterinarian. Intestinal disease is very common in ferrets, and most conditions can be successfully treated with medications supplied by your veterinarian.
You do not say how old your ferrets are, but what you are describing is a common problem in young ferrets. This is most common when new kits are brought into the household. The kits, although they seem very happy, may be a bit stressed with the new environment. When this happens, they can get an overgrowth of an organism in the intestines called coccidia. Coccidia is not a serious disease but left unchecked, the resulting loose stools can lead to dehydration and loss of important electrolytes.
We also see a “prolapse” of rectal tissue with a coccidial infection. If left untreated, the rectal tissue becomes very inflamed and can cause some distress to your ferrets.
The good news is that this disease is easily diagnosed, easily treated and is usually cured with a short course of medication. There will be no permanent damage due to this infection, but it is important to get it diagnosed and treated as soon as you can.
See all Ask The Doc questions and answers»