By Matthew Humphries
Upper Respiratory Infections and Influenza
Ferrets are very susceptible to problems that are related to stress and introduction to a new environment. They are prone to upper respiratory infections and influenza and can catch these diseases through human contact. If your ferret is sneezing, pay close attention to the color of mucus and check to see if it’s eyes are clear because certain types of litter can cause sneezing. We recommend using a Ferret Specific Litter which are generally made from recycled paper and is available in pellet form and is dust free. If the discharge is yellow or green, treat with an antibiotic for the infection (we recommend Clavamox, Cefa-Drops or Baytril).
When ferrets experience a prolapsed rectum, one or two things generally cause it. There may not be enough water in their diet – the food should really be wet down (one part food to four parts water). We do not recommend feeding any cat food or canned diet. Another reason is a bacterial or viral infection that will cause the ferret to have a runny stool and cause them to strain. Besides wetting down the food, we recommend using an antibiotic (Clavamox, Cefa-Drops or Baytril). This will prevent any infection to the exposed area. Dosage should be .25 cc every 12 hours. You will also want to keep the area clean and apply Preparation H to soothe it.
Ear Mites in ferrets are treatable. You will need some Tresaderm. Before using the Tresaderm you will need to apply an Ear Cleaner for Ferrets to get rid of the wax. Put some of the cleaner in the ear and massage. Let it sit for a minute. The ferret will probably shake his head and the wax will come out. Use a Q-tip to gently clean the rest of the wax out. A ferret’s ear canal is L-shaped so you don’t have to worry about hitting the eardrum, just the vertical part of the canal. After the wax is cleaned out put the eardrops in. Clean every day for a week to 10 days.
Green slime, or ECE as it is sometimes referred to, is still somewhat of a mystery. Much is still unknown about how the virus is spread. Any situation that brings ferrets together seems to have the potential for spread of the disease. It may also be transmitted by clothing or human contact. Aggressive treatment should begin at the first signs of green diarrhea.Treat with Pedialyte and an antibiotic (we recommend Clavamox, Cefa-Drops or Baytril) to fight off any secondary infection. Feed a soft diet of moistened Ferret Food with chicken baby food since sometimes they have difficulty swallowing due to the formation of ulcers. A high-calorie vitamin supplement such as Marshall Furo-Vite, 8 in 1 Vita-Sol or Ensure is recommended. For persistent diarrhea, keeping the ferret hydrated, feeding a soft food diet, and a high-calorie supplement are all very important.
Diarrhea is hard to treat because it is a symptom of many different illnesses. Something as simple as indulging in too many treats can cause diarrhea. Left untreated, diarrhea can become life-threatening if your ferret loses fluids, becomes dehydrated and is not absorbing food.
Changes in the environment, stress, diet or water supply can cause diarrhea. Make sure to have your ferret on a high-quality diet, such as Marshall Premium Ferret Diet, and stick with it. Don’t switch brands. Some ferrets have a hard time adjusting to a change in water. If you are traveling, take a supply of water from home with you.
Treatment for diarrhea can vary. For internal parasites, treatment can be as easy as taking a stool sample to your vet and getting an antibiotic prescribed. We recommend Clavamox, Cefa-Drops or Baytril. Treat with Pedialyte to keep your ferret from becoming dehydrated. If your ferret’s appetite decreases or stops, feed a soft diet of moistened Ferret Food with chicken baby food since sometimes they have difficulty swallowing. A high-calorie vitamin supplement such as Marshall Furo-Vite, 8 in 1 Vita-Sol or Ensure is recommended. For persistent diarrhea, keeping the ferret hydrated, feeding a soft food diet, and a high-calorie supplement are all very important.
If diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours, take the ferret and a sample of the poop to the vet. The vet can determine the problem or at least rule out diseases your ferret doesn’t have. Treatment can be as simple as a dose of Pepto Bismol, Kaopectate or Pepcid AC, an antibiotic and/or something to help replace the lost electrolytes. Keeping the ferret hydrated, feeding a soft food diet, and a high-calorie supplement are all very important. Your vet will prescribe a treatment plan right for your ferret.
Examining your ferret’s poop can be a great way to monitor the health of your ferret. The color and texture of your ferret’s poop can give you an indication of what is going on with your ferret. Green poop usually means the food is passing through the digestive tract too fast. It does not have enough time to break down. You see this with illnesses such as ECE. Black-tarry poop usually means gastric bleeding and is associated with gastric ulcers. The black color is from digestion of blood. Ribbon-like poop usually is a sign of an obstruction. Seedy poop is usually a sign of malaborsorption or maldigestion. The seeds are undigested fat and starch. Bloody poop is a big warning sign that there is blood in the bowel, rectum or GI tract.
Matthew Humphries – http://www.ferret.com