Renal Failure in Ferrets


There are two types of renal failure … Acute Renal Failure (ARF), which comes on suddenly, and Chronic Renal Failure (CRF), a condition which can occur over a period of months.

During its early stages, renal disease shows little or no symptoms ?

Acute Renal Failure (ARF)

Several things can cause acute renal failure – rupture of the bladder; obstruction of the urethra; disruption of blood flow to the kidneys; and toxic substances.
Signs to watch for are:

Loss of appetite
Changes in drinking habits and urination

If you notice your ferret straining in the litter box, or if you see that your ferret is producing less urine than normal, as well as any of the signs listed above, take it to the vet immediately as acute renal failure is a life-threatening condition.



I lost my albino boy, Angus, due to this and it happened so quickly ?

I had got him a Suprelorin implant a year ago as he developed adrenal gland disease – the first ever of my ferrets to get that dreaded disease in my 17 years of ferret ownership.

He was doing fine with the implant – his fur grew back, he was his usual wacky self and I was looking forward to having many years with my lanky boy.

I had made an appointment to get Angus his 2nd implant as it was obvious that he was losing his hair after the year was up.  He was seeing my vet on the Friday but on the Wednesday, I noticed he was drinking a lot of water when by the dog’s water dish.

I kept an eye on him and by Thursday I knew he had to see the vet as he really wasn’t well. I couldn’t drive as I’d just come out of hospital after a knee replacement so my vet, being the angel that she is, got her vet tech to come to my house to collect Angus so that she could check him out

She decided he needed an ultrasound so Shannon, the tech, took him to the specialist clinic to get it done on the Friday.  There they found his kidney was damaged and my vet diagnosed acute renal failure and told me there was nothing that could be done for him.

Angus left us for the Rainbow Bridge the next day, Saturday, May 10, 2012, aged just 5 years old ?



Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)

Signs to look for are:

Loss of appetite
Excessive salivation
Weight loss
A smell of ammonia on its breath

Sadly there is no cure for chronic renal failure


More information about Renal Failure can be found on the following sites …

Cystic Renal Disease in the Domestic Ferret (NCBI)

Kidney Failure in Ferrets by PetMD

Acute Renal Failure in Ferrets by PetPlace

Kidney Failure in Ferrets (

 Renal Disease in Ferrets (

Kidney Disease/Renal Failure in Ferrets (Ferret Info UK)



(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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