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Try to find a vet who specializes in ferrets, if hard
to find, look for one that deals with exotic
animals, and if need be, contact your areas college or
vet school. At time they give their services at reduced
or free rates at vet schools.  In the event of a
diagnosis you don't like always get a second opinion.
Kits (age 7-8 weeks) have usually had only one of a
series of three distemper vaccinations necessary to
protect them from this disease.  See a veterinarian
immediately if you have a new kit - distemper kills!
Every ferret should have a distemper booster
annually, without fail.  If this is neglected for
several years,  your pet's immunity may drop to such a
low level that it will be susceptible to this painful,
fatal disease.  If your pet has an alarming allergic
reaction,  remember that these reactions are not fatal
if treated,  and they are preventable.  If your ferret
has previously reacted to a vaccine,  ask your vet to
dispense a dose of pediatric antihistamine one or two
hours before the vaccine  This can help prevent
allergic reactions without interfering with the
desired immune response to the vaccine. Childrens
benadryl works well, I recommend it, its also good in
the spring,when allergies and change of weather can be

Ferrets usually do better on dry,  crunchy foods than
on moist diets.  Feeding a soft diet causes plaque to
build up on the teeth rapidly,  causing periodontal
disease.  A ferret that suddenly starts dropping food
out of its mouth,  shaking its head while eating or
chewing with its head in an unusual position probably
has bad teeth.  If you see brown material on the upper
molars,  your pet needs its teeth cleaned.  Delaying a
cleaning for months can lead to serious gum disease
and tooth loss.  Bacteria traveling through the
bloodstream from infected teeth can cause kidney
infections and eventually kidney failure.
Dental work requires and anesthetic.  Unless your
ferret has a serious heart condition,  this is safe.
Very hot weather is stressful for a normal ferret.
Such a ferret should have a fan or air conditioner in
its room.  If a ferret suddenly loses weight when the
housing area is comfortable and its diet hasn't
changed,  see a veterinarian as soon as
possible. Adrenal disease is a common problem in the
ferret.  An adrenal gland,  found at the tip of each
kidney,  normally produces hormones that keep the body
in homeostatic balance.  When an adrenal gland becomes
diseased,  it typically enlarges and produces hormones
in much larger quantities than normal.  Alopecia (hair
loss) is usually the first and sometimes the only sign
of adrenal gland disease.  Alopecia commonly affects
the tail,  rump,  belly and back.  The hair is easily
pulled out,  and the skin can appear flaky and red.
These ferrets may also experience severe itching.  More
than 90 percent of female ferrets with adrenal gland
disease develop an enlarged vulva,  which may be
accompanied by discharge.  Most ferrets develop signs
of this disease in young middle age (about 3 years

Your veterinarian can use many procedures to diagnose
this disease.  A patient history and physical
examination are the first important steps.  Your
veterinarian will ask questions about your ferret's
health and activities.  Basic blood tests can't
diagnose this disease but can help your vet assess the
ferrets general health.  A special blood test that
measures the hormones produced by the adrenal glands
will help diagnose this disease in ferrets.  An
abdominal sonogram can help,  too.

Presently,  surgery is the best treatment for adrenal
gland disease.  Before removing the adrenal gland,  your
vet will examine the entire abdomen. If both adrenal
glands are abnormal,  the vet will remove the larger
adrenal gland and will biopsy part of the other
adrenal gland.
Recovery from surgery is normally uncomplicated.  Many
times, surgery cures this disease,  and the ferret
lives the rest of its life free of adrenal gland
All ferret owners should be familiar with pancreatic
beta cell tumors,  also called insulinoma disease,
which are common in ferrets.  The earlier the disease
is diagnosed in a ferret,  the better the ferret's
chance of living longer.
The signs of an insulinoma are sometimes hard to
diagnose.  Many owners do not know the ferret is sick
until its blood sugar is so low that the ferret
becomes lethargic and listless.  At this point,  the
insulinoma has been present for months.  The low blood
sugar,  called hypoglycemia,  makes your ferret sick.
Hypoglycemia results from too much insulin,  which in
turn causes the sugar concentration in the blood to be
too low and important organs will begin to improperly
function.  When the brain's blood sugar gets
dangerously low,  ferrets may seizure or go into a

Owners commonly misinterpret lethargy as growing older
changes,  because older ferrets are usually more prone
to develop insulinomas.  The most common signs of an
insulinoma are lethargy,  depression,  rear leg
weakness,  hypersalivation and gagging or pawing at the
mouth.  Infrequently, ferrets have seizures or go into
a coma.  If you see the symptoms, call your vet right

Most ferrets develop insulinomas between the ages of 4
and 5 years old.  Commonly, the physical examination is
normal,  but if the blood sugar is very low at the time
of the visit,  the ferret will appear weak or
nonresponsive.  Your veterinarian will recommend blood
tests to examine the health of your ferret.  The vet
will also probably recommend radiographs or an
abdominal sonogram.  If the insulinoma has progressed
and spread to the liver,  it may be visible on the

If your ferret has an insulinoma,  your vet will give
you three treatment options Medical, surgical or both
used together as means of treatment
Blockages are common in ferrets as well. Laxatone is
rather cheap and may save th life of your ferret, and
is lubricates the intestinal tracts and stops
blockages similiar to hairballs



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