Posted: December 1, 2011, 2:20 p.m. EST
Q: My daughter’s ferret went from plump to skinny, and he eats all the time. He seems to stumble when he walks. We don’t know what’s wrong; if he is grieving for his old owner or what.
A: The condition you describe is unusual for a ferret. Our pet ferrets rarely get too fat or too thin. When any pet is reported to be losing weight while eating well, that usually sets off alarm bells. This means that for some reason, the pet is not able, no matter how much it eats, to keep up with its metabolic needs.
To help diagnose this, it also helps to know what the stools look like. Conditions veterinarians worry about, in general, when a pet is eating more than normal but losing weight include internal parasites, intestinal inflammation, different types of cancer, metabolic diseases and hormonal diseases.
On a hopeful note, it could be that the simplistic explanation is that the food is not nutritious and despite how much the ferret eats, he/she is still not keeping up with its metabolic needs.
To help your ferret, visit your veterinarian so your ferret can have a thorough physical. Bring along a stool sample from your ferret and the food that you are currently feeding so your veterinarian can evaluate these samples.
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