Ferret health & illnesses

The first and most important thing you can do for your ferret is to ensure you have a "ferret knowledgeable" vet, and seek their help if you are at all concerned about the health of your ferret.

For after hours emergencies, you should find out where they refer their clients to and that the referal vet has ferret-savy veterinarians present.

It is important to keep a close eye on your ferret even when it is not ill, so as to ensure they are eating and drinking normally and haven’t had any accidents in your absence (ferrets can be accident prone due to their inquisitive playful nature). Check your ferret regularly (as a minimum twice a day) to make sure it is ok, this can be achieved during feeding, grooming and playtime.

What you feed your ferret is very important as poor diet can lead to a multitude of healt problems for ferrets, so make sure you feed your ferret a diet that is suitable.

The following are useful resources for checking symptoms:

  Symptom Chart - A lengthy list of symptoms and POSSIBLE causes.
  Poo Chart - Poo, poop, faeces, stool, dung, mess. Whatever you call it, it can be an indicator of your ferret's health.
  Poo Guide - with photos
  Hair loss/Shedding - Whats normal and should I be concerned?

Symptoms

The most common health problems of domestic ferrets

The following pages are provided to help understand some of the health problems a ferret may suffer. This information was initially based on a leaflet produced by the Ferret Advice and Information Resource, F.A.I.R., which was a ferret shelter that found homes for 1000’s of homeless ferrets in Illinois, USA, but has since closed, and from information in books, on the Internet and discussion with vets.

The following health problems are ones that many vets have dealt with on a regular basis. We hope that, with good care and caution, your ferret will never experience any of these situations, but if your ferret does, your knowing what to look for and what to do may help prolong – or even save – your ferret’s life.

This is provided for information only and whilst we have tried to make sure these statements are accurate no responsibility can be taken by the author for the interpretation of the points made or success of the procedures/ treatments mentioned.

Hand rearing ferrets and surrogate mums

Each year Sue Lloyd, NFWS, puts together a list of foster jills. She can be contacted on 07817 415645.

There are some useful guides to feeding ferrets online including
http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00Man/MammalHusbandryTechniques/Indiv_Techniques/hand-rearingferrets.htm

Feeding sick ferrets

Occassionally a ferret may become sick and refuse to eat his/her normal food, when this happens seek advice of your vet to find out why this has occurred, as such problems can arise due to blockages in the stomach, kidney problems etc not just stomach upsets.

There are many commercially available foods now available to help feed poorly ferrets, you can also make your own Duk Soup.

More information can be found on our Feeding Sick Ferrets page >

Useful books ...

Travelling abroad?

Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
Is the system that allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules. 

NB. Ferrets entering the UK from non-qualifying countries or that have been in non-qualifying countries within the preceding 6 months WILL BE SUBJECT to 6 months quarantine. More information >

Remember - Always seek the advice of a good ferret vet if your ferret appears poorly, ferrets hide illness well so by the time they show something is wrong by not eating, appearing lethargic etc it can be very serious and need urgent attention.