Hypocalcemia in ferrets – also known as eclampsia or milk fever – is caused by a lack of calcium in a jill’s blood.
The body adds calcium to the bones and takes it away as and when needed so when a jill is pregnant or nursing, she needs extra calcium to help the developing kits grow and to add to her milk.
If the jill is lacking in calcium, her body will take the calcium from her bones to put into her milk, at the expense of the jill herself. This is what causes hypocalcemia and it usually happens 3-4 weeks after the jill has given birth.
Another reason for this condition according to James McKay in his book “Complete Guide to Ferrets”, feeding the jill “a diet heavily dependent on day-old chicks will almost certainly lead to this complaint“.
- Hind end paralysis
- No interest in food
- Weight loss
- Muscular incoordination
See your vet immediately so that he can give the ferret an interperitoneal injection of calcium borogluconate.
After receiving that, you’ll have to make sure your ferret is fed a calcium-rich diet for complete recovery.
If you’re planning to breed, make sure you give your jill a balanced diet, with added calcium, so that she doesn’t get this condition.
You can read more on Hypocalcemia in Ferrets here …
Pregnancy Toxemia in Ferrets (PetMD)
Pregnancy toxemia in a ferret by Dr Erica F Dalrymple (The Canadian Veterinary Journal)
(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.