Anesthesia for Ferrets


When it comes to anesthesia for ferrets, Isoflurane is the safest anesthetic to use and the post-operational recovery time is short. I’ve been told that you shouldn’t use a vet who suggests using ketamine, an injectable anesthetic, for any operations as the procedure is extremely unpredictable.[wp_ad_camp_2]

Most ferrets bounce back after operations without any after-effects. However I’ve heard of at least 3 ferrets, here in Western Australia, which died after having anesthesia for cleaning their teeth! It could be that they had undiagnosed problems, which the anesthesia aggravated – we don’t know.

It’s best for you to speak to your vet and make sure you’re happy with the whole procedure if your ferret needs anesthesia.

If you happen to find yourself with a not-so-ferret-knowledgeable vet, please click here to get a pdf called “Anesthesia and Surgery in Ferrets” which you could give to the vet to help them to get the correct type of anesthetic and how to use it.


Although technical, there are a couple of interesting sites which talk about anesthetics for ferrets, and would be good to print out for your vet, if he’s not particularly knowledgeable …

Small Mammal Anesthesia by Margaret A Wissman, DVM, DABVP

Ferret anesthesia and analgesia (Proceedings) by Jennifer Dupre, CVT, VTS

Practical Analgesia and Anesthesia of Exotic Pets by James K Morrisey, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian Practice)

Anesthesia for Ferrets (Centre for Veterinary Education, University of Sydney)

Ferret Formulary (Boston University)

Guidelines on Anesthesia and Analgesia in Ferrets (Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine – University of Michigan)



(Last updated November 2019)


DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is not meant to replace seeing a veterinarian if you think your ferret is ill. It’s only meant to supply general information on a particular illness which was obtained either from personal experience with my sick ferrets, or from books and/or the Internet.

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