Ferrets are animals that require special care. Before starting such a pet’s house, it’s worth knowing what diseases they are susceptible to, how to treat them and protect them from illnesses by providing timely vaccination.
Common Ferret Diseases
Most diseases of ferrets are viral, infectious in nature, arise due to improper nutrition. With inappropriate treatment, the risk of a pet's death is high.
Rabies is a viral disease that disrupts the central nervous system. The causative agent is transmitted from a sick animal to a healthy one, through bites, with saliva or blood.
The incubation period can last up to a year. As symptoms of the initial stage of rabies, there are:
- increased salivation;
- increase in body temperature by 1-3 degrees;
Ferrets have a fear of water, they begin to swallow objects. At the last stage, drawing of the hind limbs and tail of the animal develops, cramps, due to which the animal dies. A disease such as rabies is not amenable to medical treatment.
When the first signs of deterioration in the health status of the pet appear, you should immediately show the veterinarian.
To prevent the disease, ferrets are vaccinated with vaccines for dogs - “Nobivak”, “Trivirovak”, starting from 2.5-3 months of age. The dosage is 1/3 of the dose for dogs.
Plasmacytosis is a contagious ferret disease caused by parvovirus. The disease is transmitted by sick carrier ferrets, the virus is excreted in the feces, urine, saliva, and is transmitted during mating, in utero. The animal dies from cachexia - exhaustion.
During the acute course of the disease, the death of the animal occurs suddenly. The chronic form is characterized by the following symptoms:
- temperature 41-42 ° C;
- growth lag;
- the presence of bleeding ulcers on the mucous membranes of the mouth.
For treatment, ferrets are given immunosuppressants, antibacterial drugs, vitamins and probiotics, a glucose solution is administered, and a diet is prescribed. Prevention of the disease includes compliance with sanitary standards and disinfection of the room with 1% iodine solution or 4% hot formalin solution. Be sure to process the dishes for the feed, isolation of sick individuals.
Influenza is one of the most common viral diseases that is easily transmitted from person to ferret by airborne droplets. With timely treatment, complete recovery occurs.
A week after infection, the pet has the following symptoms:
- chills, fever;
- increase in body temperature;
- lack of appetite;
- discharge from the nose.
A sick animal is isolated in a warm room, treated with antiviral drugs, instilled baby decongestant drops in the nose, and vitamin therapy is carried out. In the most severe cases when a bacterial infection has joined, antibiotic treatment is possible.
Lack of proper treatment for influenza leads to bronchitis and pneumonia.
Prevention of the disease consists in good nutrition and good conditions for keeping ferrets. This is very important for building strong immunity.
Infectious diseases: tracheitis, bronchitis, adenovirus
Pathogens - viruses that penetrate the ferret's trachea and bronchi. Tracheitis and bronchitis are accompanied by a cough (similar to vomiting), the ferret’s breathing becomes harsh. With adenovirus for 2-10 days, a runny nose, wheezing in the sternum, redness of the throat, as well as diarrhea, loss of appetite are observed. The temperature of the ferret can rise with any of these diseases.
Antiviral therapy is carried out, temperatures above 39.4 ° C are confused. It is important to constantly ferret the ferret with water at room temperature.
Effective prevention is the periodic deworming, routine vaccinations and proper nutrition.
Inflammation of the paraanal glands
Only ferrets are exposed to this disease, in which the glands are not emptied. This occurs normally on their own during games or the act of defecation. But if there are frequent digestive disorders, then the exit of a thick secret from the paraanal glands does not occur. It is important that the stool is normal in hardness, there should be no constipation or diarrhea. In the absence of treatment for the disease, an abscess and ulcers form.
Ferrets notice such signs as:
- itching in the anus;
- fever as a sign of inflammation;
- swelling in the anal area;
- discharge with pus.
Treatment will be effective only in the initial stages of the disease. Manually clean the paraanal glands. Ferrets are given anti-inflammatory, antibiotics are given if necessary. With the advanced form of the disease, the paraanal glands must be removed - this is an emergency measure, which you should not bring to. Prevention - good nutrition. Emptying should be regular.
How the veterinarian cleanses the paraanal glands can be seen in this video:
This procedure is painful for the animal, therefore it is better to prevent the occurrence of inflammation of the paraanal glands or its exacerbation.
Salmonellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Salmonella. Basically, two-month-old ferrets are affected. The causative agents of infection are found in infected meat, milk and raw eggs. Ill ferrets become bacterial carriers, and can infect others.
In the acute form of the disease, up to 60% of the animals die in two weeks. The deaths of ferrets are preceded by the following symptoms:
- decreased appetite;
- depressed state;
- increased body temperature (up to 41-42 ° C);
- lacrimation of the eyes;
- frequent diarrhea.
The atypical form of salmonellosis is characteristic of adult animals; they lag behind in growth and lose their appetite. The chronic form of the disease leads to the death of ferrets after 4 weeks. They have anemia, purulent conjunctivitis, weakness, diarrhea, fur falls off and loses its luster.
For treatment, probiotics, antibacterial drugs are given to ferrets, they treat the eyes with a weak solution of antiseptics.
Hyperimmune serum against paratyphoid piglets and calves is used for prophylaxis (1 ml of serum is injected subcutaneously at first, and only after half an hour everything else). Females are vaccinated on day 20-30 of pregnancy. For monthly puppies, 3-5 ml of the vaccine is injected subcutaneously 2 times at weekly intervals.
Ferret jaundice is an infectious disease. Infection is possible through the gastrointestinal tract, damaged areas of the skin, rodents. With this disease, the mucous membranes of ferrets acquire an icteric color, animals refuse to feed, rarely get on their feet, appetite worsens and lymph nodes increase.
The acute form of the disease is rare, during which the temperature of the ferrets rises to 41.5 ° C, vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions begin.
Treatment is carried out by a veterinarian in a hospital (they put droppers). For prophylaxis, a multivalent vaccine is administered, regular inspection is carried out.
Rickets is a non-communicable disease caused by a lack of vitamin D. May be accompanied by symptoms such as:
- growth lag;
- unhealthy appearance;
- bloating and diarrhea;
- deformation of the limbs and spine.
For treatment, 3-4 drops of fish oil are added to ferrets for treatment on the tongue, cottage cheese, vitamin premixes are given in a small amount, and they are taken for a walk in the summer. An effective prevention is a balanced diet of puppies and females during lactation.
An acute viral disease with a different clinical picture is called plague. The carriers of the plague are sick and sick animals.
Depending on the form of the disease, various symptoms appear:
- The pulmonary form of the disease is similar in symptoms to pneumonia. The animal has wheezing when breathing, dry, turning into a wet cough, vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite, ruffled coat.
- In the catarrhal form, the ferret suffers from rhinitis, conjunctivitis, serous and purulent discharge from the nose appears, the hair around drops out, breathing sniffles.
- The nervous form is characterized by the manifestation of seizures, cuts, dermatitis. During a seizure, the animal squeals, whirls, and dies.
For treatment, immunostimulants and vitamin pastes are prescribed, solutions are introduced to restore the ferret's water-salt balance. As a preventive measure, protection of ferret sites from stray animals is carried out, vaccination is carried out and sanitary standards are observed.
Prolonged estrus leads to an increase in the level of leukocytes and a decrease in red blood cells, as a result, aplastic anemia occurs in ferrets. With this disease, metabolic processes in the body slow down and oxygen supply to all organs decreases, which negatively affects the heart and brain. In advanced cases, a fatal outcome is possible.
Ferrets are treated with antibiotics, a blood transfusion is performed, and preparations containing iron are given. Animals not intended for breeding are castrated or sterilized as prophylaxis of anemia. Otherwise, an injection of Gonadotropin, 50 IU is administered to lower hormone levels.
This disease is an inflammation of the gastric mucosa. Pathogens are parasites, bacteria, viruses, poor nutrition. With gastroenteritis, the formation of mucus increases, bleeding begins, which leads to digestion, nutrients and water are absorbed heavily.
For treatment, glucose and saline are administered to ferrets, kept on a diet for a day. To carry out prophylaxis, animals are vaccinated, given anthelmintic drugs, properly fed.
Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that occurs in hypertrophic and restrictive form in ferrets older than 4 years. With a hypertrophic form, the animal’s heart is enlarged, there is shortness of breath and fluid accumulation in the lungs. The restrictive form is characterized by a thickening of the walls of the ventricle, there are no symptoms, the disease almost immediately goes into crisis.
The ferret is treated with vasodilator drugs, medications that normalize blood pressure, give a diuretic - Furosemide 2 mg every 8-12 hours. Prevention is a balanced diet.
Malnutrition and a genetic predisposition can lead to urolithiasis. Sand forms in the kidneys, which are then converted to stones. When they move, stones can linger in the urethra, blocking the outflow of urine. When the stone moves, the ferret experiences pain along the entire course of the calculus along the urinary ducts.
The disease does not always have external symptoms. Nevertheless, after 1.5 years, the following symptoms appear:
- frequent or difficult urination;
- urine with blood.
For treatment, ferrets are given pain medication, antispasmodics, plenty of fluids. After the stone comes out, the pain will stop. In severe cases, the stones are removed by surgery.
An excellent prevention is a balanced diet and proper drinking regimen, male castrates are given food for neutered cats. It is also important that the animal is mobile and receives adequate regular physical activity.
Diarrhea of varying severity
Diarrhea is a symptom of various kinds of diseases or a violation of the diet. An ailment manifests itself in the form of a loose stool with an unpleasant odor. Change of food, cold food, meat with tubular bones lead to weak diarrhea, lasting 7-10 days. Chronic diarrhea lasts more than 10 days, the feces of ferrets become green, with an admixture of blood.
With mild diarrhea for treatment, ferrets are given food with a low protein and moisture content, probiotics. Chronic diarrhea is dangerous for the life of the pet, as it causes dehydration. Ferrets are injected with saline solution for oral rehydration, probiotics, special food are prescribed, antibiotic therapy is carried out (if bacterial infection is suspected).
Ensuring a calm, stress-free lifestyle and proper nutrition are the best prevention of diarrhea.
Gastric ulcer occurs due to stress and malnutrition, the cause is the growth of the bacterium Helicobacter mustelae. The main sign of the development of the disease is black feces. The animal becomes lethargic, with poor appetite, losing weight.
For treatment, a diet is prescribed, often fed, but in small portions, while antibiotics are given, for example, Amoxicillin. Ensuring a calm lifestyle and a balanced diet is the most effective prevention of the development of stomach ulcers.
A disease such as cataract begins with clouding of the lens and ends with blindness. In ferrets, cataracts often appear due to a genetic predisposition (one of the ancestors had this disease), which does not appear immediately. A lack of vitamin E, A and protein in the diet can lead to cataracts. A characteristic feature of the disease is a change in the color of the lens to light blue.
Ferrets have poor eyesight and cataracts do not cause them any particular inconvenience. They only treat cataracts surgically, but ferrets don’t have this kind of surgery. They only monitor the condition of the eye so that complications in the form of uveitis, dislocation of the lens, glaucoma do not develop. For the treatment of uveitis, prednisone acetate 1% locally 2 times a day is used. Lens dislocation is treated surgically.
Prevention is to ensure proper care for the health of the ferret, the exclusion of prolonged use of steroid drugs.
Pathologies of the endocrine system
This category includes hyperadrenocorticism - excessive secretion of sex hormones and their imbalance. The reasons for the development of pathology are a violation of photoperiodism and early castration. In ferrets, sexual behavior changes, comedones and itching appear.
For treatment, Melatonin, analogues of gonadotropin, estrogen and androgen receptor blockers are prescribed. As prophylaxis, synthetic analogues of gonadotropin from 3 years are used.
Ferrets over 3 years old are predisposed to tumors that are poorly treatable and require surgical intervention. Only a veterinarian can determine the ailment, so you should regularly bring your pet for preventive examinations.
Lymphoma is an oncological disease of ferrets, proceeding in a juvenile and classic form.
In the classical form, the symptoms are not specific, they include:
- poor appetite;
- weight loss.
The disease slowly progresses, with palpation, the lymph nodes are enlarged. Juvenile lymphoma occurs in young individuals, progresses rapidly. Ferrets are difficult to breathe, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea appear.
Animals are treated with corticosteroids - prednisolone. Chemotherapy is carried out with drugs - Asparaginase, Cyclophosphamide, Vincristine.
Young individuals are difficult to treat, a high probability of death.
Due to the production of a large number of hormones, benign and malignant tumors of the adrenal glands appear.
Of the signs of the disease, the following are distinguished:
- difficulty urinating in males;
- the skeleton and bones of the ferret stand out;
- baldness of body parts except the muzzle and paws.
The use of Lizodren temporarily reduces symptoms, so it is recommended to remove the adenoma by surgical intervention. For prophylaxis, ferrets under 6 months of age should not be castrated; daylight hours should be increased due to artificial lighting.
Hypoglycemia - a disease of adult ferrets with low blood sugar, begins with subtle signs and ends with an incurable form. At the beginning of the development of the disease, ferrets feel weak, look at one point, drag their hind legs. With the progression of the disease, profuse salivation, chewing reflex, a ferret rubs its muzzle with its paws. Death occurs as a result of increased seizures and coma.
Drug treatment consists in the use of prednisolone, diazoxide. A strict diet is followed, sometimes surgical intervention is required. To prevent the development of this disease, the animal is provided with proper nutrition, low in simple sugar.
Vaccinations will protect pets from infectious diseases, but they will not give a 100% guarantee that the ferret will not get sick. Starting from 2 months, healthy individuals are vaccinated. A week before vaccination, ferrets are mantled. After 2 weeks, the vaccine is repeated, later the ferret is vaccinated once a year.
Vaccination is carried out under the supervision of a veterinarian. During quarantine, after vaccination, an allergic reaction and the manifestation of a disease that occurred before the vaccination in latent form are possible.
Following the advice of professionals, the breeder can extend the life of the pet. It is worth paying attention to the following recommendations:
- Find contact with animals, often play active games.
- Choose the right and balanced diet for your pet.
- Provide ferrets with dark shelter and do not leave them alone.
- To identify a sick animal, pay attention to external and behavioral signs - hair loss, altered feces and urine, impaired appetite and dental condition, depression, cough, and other atypical symptoms indicate that something is wrong with the pet.
Remember that you should not choose the drugs yourself, it is better to isolate the animal and provide him with peace before the arrival of the veterinarian. Follow sanitary standards, feed correctly and you will keep your pet healthy.