What Makes a Ferret Sick?

Is your ferret sick? While some illnesses are common to ferrets, and are fatal, not all illnesses that your ferret may get are fatal. He may have even caught something from you!

Yes, it’s true; ferrets are subject to our germs, unlike dogs and cats. If you are down with the flu, it is perfectly acceptable for your dog or cat to lie in bed with you and help comfort you – but if you have a ferret, you need to either quarantine yourself – or quarantine the ferret! If you don’t, not only will he be suffering with the flu, but he will also spread the flu bug back to you while you are caring for him! The same is true with the common cold – your ferret can catch it, and give the germs back to you as well.

Sometimes, a ferret may get a parasite that will cause diarrhea or vomiting. While anytime your ferret shows signs of diarrhea or vomiting, he should be checked out by the veterinarian, most illnesses that cause this will pass with time. The important thing is that you keep a close eye on him and make sure that he is getting plenty of fluids.

Aside from getting an illness from you or other humans that your ferret is at a high risk for intestinal obstruction. This is the most common killer of ferrets. They simply swallow an object that is not digestible, and it becomes lodged in their intestine.

Ferrets are like small children. Everything they come into contact with goes directly in their mouths. If an item is small, it can be swallowed. Common items that you should keep out of the reach of your ferret include nuts, marbles, buttons, coins, small erasers, and anything that can be chewed up, such as rubber sink stoppers or Styrofoam.

When your ferret is sick, you should keep him separated from other animals and children. Keep him warm, unless the vet instructs you otherwise. Again, ferrets are like small children – they will want to know that you are there with them. They are comforted by your presence. Dogs and cats may want to be left alone when they don’t feel well – but your ferret doesn’t.

Remember that you need to get a grasp on what is and is not normal for your ferret. If your ferret is behaving in a way that is not normal for him, it really is important that he be seen by the vet. Ferrets are very small, and have a very fast metabolism. These two things combined mean one thing – when your ferret is sick, it can quickly become very serious, or even deadly. Never put off taking a ferret that ‘doesn’t seem right’ to the veterinarian.

Finally, never administer over-the-counter medications or home remedies to your ferret without checking with your veterinarian first. Some medications can be toxic to ferrets, or may make the problem worse than it is. Call the veterinarian, and if he suggests an over-the-counter medication, make sure that he tells you the dosage as well.

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