Cardiomyopathy & Heart Disease in Ferrets

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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.



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 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

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

Congestive Heart Failure in Ferrets (PetMD)



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.

(Last updated September 2015)

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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