Cardiomyopathy & Heart Disease in Ferrets


Quite often, heart disease is diagnosed in ferrets that are 3 years old and over.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy causes thinning of the heart walls and the heart will then overflow with blood. The thin walls are therefore not strong enough to pump the blood out to the rest of the body.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy causes thickening of the heart walls, thereby reducing the space in the middle of the heart. Due to the decreased space available, less blood is able to enter the heart so as the muscle contracts, only a small amount of blood is pumped out.[wp_ad_camp_2]

Some of the symptoms of cardiac disease are

Weight loss
Swollen abdomen
Breathing problems
Tired after playing
Increased respiratory rate
Weakness, especially in the rear legs

Your vet will most probably give your ferret a diuretic to get rid of the fluid which has built up in its body, and probably other medication to help the heart.

In July 2007, my oldest ferret, Kaos, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.

Unfortunately my brave little girl lost her fight on January 28, 2008.

You can read all about Kaos’s Story here.


More information about Cardiomyopathy & Heart Disease in Ferrets can be found on the following sites …

Heart Disease in Ferrets (Pet Care Veterinary Hospital)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Ferrets (Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Disease) by Dr Heidi Hoefer (Pet Place)

​Heart Disease in Ferrets (Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital)

Cardiomyopathy And Other Heart Disease In Your Ferret by Ron Hines, DVM (includes advice about medication)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) by Kristin Claricoates, DVM (Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital)

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) by Kristin Claricoates, DVM (Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital)

Cardiac Disease in Ferrets by Heidi Hoefer, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice)

Weakening of the Heart in Ferrets (PetMD)

Congestive Heart Failure in Ferrets (PetMD)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Ferrets (PetCoach)

Ferret Heart Disease FAQ (Ferret Central)


Articles about medication & supplements to give to a ferret with heart problems …

Heart Medications by Katt (Holistic Ferret Forum)

​Heart Supplement Formula (Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital)

Hearty-Heart for cats (NHV) — Although the supplements on this site are for cats, it’d be worth contacting them to see if they could be used on ferrets and what dose would be recommended.

Here’s a pdf from the American Ferret Association about heart disease so please feel free to download it if you’re interested…

Cardiac Disease in the Ferret by Katrina D Ramsell, PhD DVM (AFA)

Click HERE to download this PDF.


This pdf is good to give to a non-ferret-savvy vet if your ferret has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy …

Ferret Cardiomyopathy by J Jill Heatley, DVM, MS, DABVP (Avian)

Click HERE to download this PDF.



(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.

2 thoughts on “Cardiomyopathy & Heart Disease in Ferrets”

  1. I had a question? I recently adopted 2 ferrets. Not sure about there age or health.the people who I adopted them from didn’t take very good care of them. One of them was balding in one spot on his lower back and the other one had a scab on his ear and looks deformed a bit. But my question is, I’ve found blood on my walls in my room where they run around. It looks like as if something had sneezed blood on my wall. Could this be the ferrets? Is it possible that they could sneeze or get blood on my walls or do you know of any diseases that would cause that to happen? I’m wanting to take them to get vetted but I am saving money for that. I just thought I would ask and see what could be happening and if my ferrets are okay? Thanks (:

  2. Hi Natasha
    Oh gosh, your poor little adoptees πŸ™ So glad you rescued them but it does make me angry to hear about how previous owners mistreated their animals
    You said one ferret had a bald spot on his lower back … that *could* be due to adrenal problems or the hair loss *could* be because of stress caused by what happened with his past life. Only a vet can tell you what the problem is πŸ™
    Re the scab … that could be because your ferret has ear mites and, if the poor thing was neglected, his nails might have been long and when he scratched his ear, he might have caused the scab. I also have heard that bored ferrets will scratch themselves more so that might be the cause too! I honestly don’t know πŸ™
    Re the spray of blood on your walls … oh Natasha, I also have no idea what could be the cause of that. I googled the question and found this information on PetMD …

    I hope you’ll be able to figure out what the problem is for your ferret and I really, really hope your vet will be able to help them if they’re sick! I trust you have a ferret vet?
    Is it not possible for you to get something like CareCredit where you can take your ferret/s to the vet and pay the bill off in instalments?
    I do worry about the fact that IF it is one of your ferrets sneezing blood then he really needs to see a vet ASAP!
    I really wish I could give you some idea of what *might* be wrong with your little friends but unfortunately I can’t offer any suggestions! I would just urge you to see a (ferret) vet and get both your guys checked out.
    I really hope that the diagnosis will be due to stress rather than illness and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, from rescuing your ferrets from a horrible life with their previous owners
    If you remember, please let me know what the vet says?
    Big hugs to your two babies from their new friends down under πŸ™‚

Leave a Comment