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.
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.
More information about Cardiomyopathy and Heart Disease can be found on the following sites …
Heart Disease in Ferrets (Pet Care Veterinary Hospital)
Cardiac Disease in the Ferret by Katrina D. Ramsell, PhD, DVM (AFA)
The Ferret Heart Disease FAQ Ferret Central
Cardiomyopathy – The 5-minute veterinary consult: ferret and rabbit by Barbara L. Oglesbee
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (PetPlace)
Cardiomyopathy in Ferrets (Heart Failure) by Ron Hines, DVM
Cardiomyopathy in the Ferret by Bruce Williams, DVM
The Ferret Circulatory System by Jerry Murray, DVM
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)
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.
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.