Ferret Health

Just like a good marriage, please understand that if you get a ferret — or ferrets — they are with you for better and for worse!

They will shower you with love and affection but you, in return, must promise to look after them in the good times, and in the bad … which means your wallet might look pretty anorexic after a bout of “bad times”.

One thing you’ll discover if you have ferrets – when they get sick, it happens very quickly, and you have to be prepared to rush them to the vet immediately.

And it is VITAL that the vet is ferret knowledgeable, so please make sure you find one in your area whom you’re happy with. I’ve prepared a list of ferret savvy vets from around the world so if you need to find one, check them out HERE.

However, if you take the time to really get to know your ferret/s well, then you’ll be instantly aware of any change in their behavior or if they suddenly appear off-color, and be able to whisk them down to the vet for prompt treatment.


There are a lot of diseases which ferrets can suffer from, including a number of cancers and they have been listed in the Medical Information page. I’ve also linked the headings below which have more information in the Medical Information page for easy reference.

Things you don’t have to worry about ferrets doing are….

Shivering or trembling when waking up … that’s something they all do as they adjust their metabolic rate. Of course if you find your ferret shivering in other situations, it’s “hi ho, hi ho, off to the vet we go“!

Stretch, yawn ‘n’ slide … this is so cute. A ferret might decide it’s time for a stretch, so it’ll reach up to its full length, say, against your bed, yawn, then slide down, ending up flopped on the floor. Don’t worry – it didn’t suddenly collapse or faint – it’s just something ferrets do!

Sleeping like the dead … you can even hang some ferrets upside down when they’re asleep and they won’t wake up. Not every ferret has the dead sleep habit – some are fairly light sleepers and probably wouldn’t appreciate finding themselves hanging head down!

ferret health

Having said that, I must put a caveat on that statement. Sleeping like the dead is fine if you know your ferret is healthy.

HOWEVER … if you suspect your ferret has insulinoma and you find your ferret sleeping like the dead, then that is not good.

If that happens, get some karo syrup or honey and rub it on your ferret’s gums because if you don’t, your ferret could just slip away in its sleep.

Click here if you need to find out more about Insulinoma.

Scratching … some ferrets tend to scratch themselves quite often and it doesn’t mean they have a dreaded disease. Muis comes crashing out of the chest of drawers a couple of times a night and has a good old scratch, bell tinkling, then she gets back in. No disruption except to our sleep.





For those who live in countries where rabies is an issue, make sure your ferret has the vaccination at the necessary time. The first one should be given at 3 months and then your ferret needs a yearly booster.

In certain states in America, if a ferret just scratches someone with their tooth accidentally and the authorities confiscate the pet, they will euthanize it – regardless of the fact that the ferret has had all its rabies shots. Remember Kodo?

Canine Distemper

It’s important for all owners worldwide to make sure that their ferrets get their yearly canine distemper shots as this is a very unpleasant disease and is fatal.

In the US, they give kits shots at 6-8, 10-12 & 14-16 weeks and then at a year old. After that, they should have a booster annually.

Here in Perth (and I don’t speak for the rest of Australia), kits get 2 inoculations, a month apart, and then they must have their booster shots annually.

Check out the page on Canine Distemper for more information.

Some ferrets can get an allergic reaction so it might be wise not to rush away from the vet once your ferret has had an inoculation, just in case.

One thing I will mention was how Mash reacted with her first canine distemper shot. We took her to our vet and when he injected her, she gave the most angry, loud, penetrating scream I have ever heard in my life! It was so bad it hurt our ears.

No other ferret I’ve had ever made such a scream and after that one time, Mash didn’t do it again.

Quite extraordinary! I don’t know if the vet hurt her accidentially or she was so indignant about having a needle shoved into her. Poor little baby.



Spay / Neuter

Boys get really smelly when they’re about 6 months (sometimes even as young as 4 months) and start acting like absolute yobbos (Aussiespeak for unsociable hooligans), as described in the Breeding section..

Unless you want a stud for breeding purposes, you should get your boy sterilized once the smell starts getting pretty pungent and after about a week, once all the hormones have settled down, he will go from a brute with attitude to a sweet and gentle metrosexual fellah

The girls also smell slightly stronger if they’re not spayed but they certainly don’t have the disgusting habits that unsterilized boys do. However they do have the threat of aplastic anemia hanging over their heads in that state, so why risk anything?!

Of course some people like to take their jills to vasectomized hobs to bring them out of season but since the girls get dragged around the arena and come back smelling really bad after being with the boy, which in turn causes the girl to get beaten up by the other ferrets in your house, it hardly seems fair.

A quick visit to the vet and hallelujah, everyone is happy!



Ear Mites

Check your ferret’s ears if you see it scratching them excessively as it could mean ear mites.

Get a cotton bud (Q-tip) and gently clean inside the ear cavity. If the tip is covered with a black or orange goop and smelly, then treat the ferret with a suitable product recommended by your vet.

If you use Revolution regularly on your ferrets, it’d prevent ear mites from happening.



Fleas / Ticks

If you see movement on your ferret’s coat, or find little black flecks in the fur, then you can bet you have a flea problem. Don’t leave it as it will only get worse and could cause your ferret to develop anemia, in the worse case scenario.

Fleas will also happily take over your house, which really isn’t much fun!

When Revolution first came out, our vet recommended that we treated all our animals with it and told us it was safe to use 10 drops of the large dog solution for each of our ferrets.

WAFFS now have specially prepared tubes of a single dose of Revolution to use on each ferret. The dosage for girls is 0.2 ml, while the boys get 0.25 ml.

I have since heard other vets recommend using a tube of the 5-15lb cat dose of Revolution per ferret per month. Apparently Pfizer did a small trial with the 0-5lb kitten size tube and found it was not 100% effective in preventing heartworm in ferrets, whereas the 5-15lb cat size tube was.

Check with your vet to find out the best product to use to use on your ferret.

Flea collars are NOT to be used on ferrets. They (or their mates) could easily lick the substance off and poison themselves

If you find the fleas have infested your house, buy the necessary amount of flea bombs, get your pets out, follow the instructions on the can and make sure you kill the problem. Make sure you vacuum the floor/carpets extremely well afterwards so that no residue is left which could harm your pets.

There is a homeopathic recipe for the treatment of fleas which you can make yourself by mixing 1 oz of lavender oil diluted into 4 oz of water. Put it into a spray bottle for easy use.

Another recipe is mixing one bottle of Halo’s Cloud Nine herbal dip with 1 gallon of water. The dip contains many natural oils which repel and kill fleas.

I confess that haven’t tried either of those out myself.

Ticks, which look like black moles on the skin, have to be removed carefully so that you don’t leave any part of the tick still attached to your ferret. Frontline’s Top Spot is good for getting rid of fleas and ticks.

Remember that ticks can cause Lyme disease, so make sure you check your ferret carefully if you live anywhere where ticks could be a problem.

There’s a detailed article about flea control for ferrets written by Dr Susan Brown on the VIN website.



Various ‘Worms’ to Worry About



You would probably notice if your ferret had worms when checking through the litter tray. If you have your ferret dosed with Revolution regularly, you shouldn’t have any problems with worms.

Check the Internal Parasites page for detailed information on what kind of worms ferrets can get.



Ringworm is caused by a fungus and can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected animal or contact with a brush, bedding, etc. Humans can also get ringworm from an infected animal so it’s not a parasite you’d want to ignore!

If you find your ferret has a bald, round lesion which is scaly in the center and the skin appears thick, red and crusty, you had better take your ferret to the vet to have it treated.



Unfortunately ferrets can get heartworm and it’d only take one wretched worm in their hearts to kill them.

If you are already using a monthly dose of Revolution, then that should take care of any heartworm worries. If not and you live in an area with a lot of mosquitoes, then check with your vet for a suitable heartworm product.

There’s more information about heartworm here.




Ferrets DO NOT have sweat glands and really suffer in high temperatures.

If you have your ferret housed outside in a cage, please make sure there’s enough ventilation and shade to protect the ferret.

During the hottest days, make sure you spray your ferret and also leave a wrapped up bottle of water which has been frozen to help cool the cage down.

Also never leave a ferret, or any other animal for that matter, in a locked car with the windows up during hot days.

You can read more about heatstroke in ferrets here.



Declawing / Defanging

My personal opinion is that both are barbaric practices and should not be contemplated by a ferret owner unless a veterinarian declares it necessary, although why a vet would I don’t know.

Declawing involves the surgical removal of the claw and the bone it is attached to. Amongst other things, the procedure would mean that your ferret couldn’t grasp anything and certainly couldn’t climb up anywhere.

Defanging is just plain awful. I saw a defanged ferret once – some drongo (Aussiespeak for an absolute dimwit) had broken its canines with pliers because it had bitten him!




When a ferret gets scared or angry, it lets off what I term a “stink bomb” or “poof” like most members of the mustelid family do.

Unlike a skunk, the smell doesn’t take long to dissipate but like with all things, different people have different smell thresholds.

Descenting is the removal of the anal sacs and therefore eliminates the “stink bomb” from going off.

The vets I have dealt with in Western Australia think descenting is unnecessary and wouldn’t do it unless it was necessary for health reasons.


Shedding and Hair Loss

Spring and fall are the seasons when ferrets tend to lose hair, shedding their winter coats for summer ones, and vice versa.

If you have an older ferret, their coats can often look all moth-eaten and thin, and their tails can lose hair from the tip up so that it resembles a rat’s tail.

Hair loss on a ferret can be a worry and if it comes at a different time to the change in seasons, and you have a young ferret, then it would be a good idea to take it to the vet to make sure there’s nothing sinister happening.

If during the molt you notice blackheads on your ferret’s tail, or that it’s looking pretty grotty, just get some gentle ferret shampoo and give your little friend a bath. That should clear up the problem … but don’t wash your ferret often, as that will cause the skin to dry out and go itchy.



General Health Tips

Bumps and Lumps

Scruff your ferret and gently run your hand down the length of its body. If you feel any suspicious lumps or bumps, take it to the vet for a check up.


Yes, ferrets can get warts and they are easily treated by the vet. However if you find a wart-like lump, please take your ferret to the vet to check out as it might be a mast cell tumor. They are usually benign and can be removed easily.

And, never, ever treat the wart with wart ointment for humans. The son of friends of ours did just that and his ferret died a painful death after licking the ointment off.

Coat and Skin

Check the condition of your ferret’s coat and skin. Coats should be glossy and shiny, while skin should be pink and healthy looking.

Teeth and Gums

Check your ferret’s teeth just to see that they’re okay. A yellow tooth could mean it’s broken and that might cause problems. Brown scum at the top of the tooth by the gums is tartar build-up and might warrant a trip to the vet for a scale job.

Make sure the gums are pink and healthy-looking. White gums are a sign of anemia.

If your ferret has bad breath, it might be something more than gum or tooth problems, so it deserves a visit to the vet.

You could give your ferret the tips of fresh chicken wings to munch on as a flossing alternative. However I found that my lot wouldn’t eat them, they just stashed them away in my chest of drawers! As I got pretty sick of finding wings in my underwear, I stopped giving them out.

Check the section on Dental Problems for more information.


Your ferret’s eyes should be bright and clear. Cloudy eyes mean cataracts, which is not a big deal in itself, as ferrets can scoot around the house quite happily if they’re blind.

There’s more about cataracts on the Cataracts & Blindness in Ferrets page.


I wonder if any other pet owners are as anally fixated like us ferret ones! We all seem to get neurotic about the shape and color of poop, seriously!

If your ferret’s poop looks like brown toothpaste which has just been squeezed out, then everything is cool.

If it’s any other color or texture, take your ferret to the vet.

Click here for more information about ferret poop.



Poisons / Toxins

I don’t know why they say curiosity killed the cat because that expression should apply to ferrets first and foremost!

They are incredibly curious and that in itself could cause them harm.

Treat your ferret like you would a wilful toddler and make sure all dangerous things are kept out of their reach.

For instance, there have been cases of ferrets dying after they’d got hold of a blister pack of aspirins, scratched the foil and licked the pills. The owners were unaware of what happened so didn’t rush the ferret to the vet for immediate treatment.

I have to have 2 Panadeine Forte four times a day and need to have them on my bedside table at night. To make sure the ferrets can’t get to them, I have them in a tight-closing, very secure case for glasses. However when our little granddaughter visits, I move everything up out of reach so that there aren’t any accidents.

There are also a number of plants and household goods which are dangerous to pets so please make sure your pet can’t get to them.

Having said that, I wonder how many ferret owners still keep house plants in their houses – hmmm!

More information on both subjects here.



Here are some articles about ferret health which are worth reading …

All About Ferret Pain And Distress by Bob Church (Ferret Magazine)

An Owner’s Guide to Ferret Health Care by Mary Van Dahm

Ferret Health (Wikipedia)


Ferret Health — 57 Comments

  1. My ferret has some thing in his face but i have no idea what it except flys or magots can u help thanks

  2. Tristan, I think this is something for a (ferret) vet to check out. I can’t help you, I’m afraid, as if it’s something which needs to be removed, only a vet can do that.
    Whatever you do, do NOT use any medication for humans on your ferret as if he licks it, it could kill him.
    If you need a ferret vet, please check out my Vets pages to see if there’s one near to where you live. I’m slowly going through all those pages to update them but hopefully the information won’t be too outdated!
    Good luck and big hugs to your boy from his new friends down under 🙂

  3. My ferret has been chewing /itching on his back these are my first ferrets and I’m not sure what it’s from he has some hair Loss in between his shoulders ?????

  4. Tiffany, I’m not sure what is causing the hair loss on your ferret so would suggest you take him to a (ferret) vet to be checked out.
    It could be that it’s caused by flea bites, or maybe his skin is too dry (have you been washing him often?), or it might be a sign of adrenal gland disease 🙁
    Only a vet will be able to tell you definitely what’s wrong. I hope it’s nothing serious!
    Hugs to you guy from his new friends down under 🙂

  5. Well the people before me had them on junk food so they refuse ferret food but they will eat cat food do you might think it’s their diet ?

    I know cat foods not good for them but I don’t want them to starve :/

  6. Hi we are having an issue with fleas on our ferret, he was treated with advantage as recommended by the vet 2 weeks ago and is covered in them again…. is there a better product to be using?

  7. Hi Brenda
    When I had a flea problem I found Revolution to be the best product. Got rid of fleas on my ferrets, dog, & cats and I didn’t have any trouble afterwards.
    Just scroll up here to “Fleas / Ticks” and you can see what kind of Revolution you should get for your ferret 🙂
    If you think the fleas have got into the carpet/furnishings, please think about getting a pack of “flea bombs” and place them in the rooms of your place. Once it’s safe to go inside again, you can vacuum the floor and then get your ferret back inside.
    If you have other animals, make sure you put Revolution on them too before “bombing” your house.
    I’m pretty sure that will clear up the fleas in no time 🙂

  8. Well I got home from work and let my ferret out to play on my bed. I noticed his eyes seemed glued shut even when moving a bit. So I applied very slight pressure by the eye and what looked to be mucus came out in a decent load. I’m not sure what to think or if I should be worried.

  9. Oh William, please take your little guy to a vet as soon as possible!

    I think he might have an eye infection and if he gets put on antibiotics, it’ll clear up and both you and he can breathe a sigh of relief and not worry yourself sick 😐

    I do know that sticky eyes is also a sign of canine distemper but, God willing, that isn’t the problem 🙁 However take a look at the symptoms and if you think your little guy has this disease, you MUST take him to the vet ASAP!


  10. Um my ferrets right eye doesn’t want to stay open. And i don’t know what it is or what to do. It just started today HELP!

  11. Antashia, is your ferret’s eye still shut? If so, please take it to a vet to get checked out.
    It could be that the eyeball got scratched somehow and *might* get better by itself but if the scratch becomes infected, your ferret will need antibiotics and if you leave it, it could make things worse 🙁
    If you need a ferret vet, please check my pages re vets. Hopefully you’ll find one near to you!

  12. We just got a pair of lovable varmints and one of them seems to be a lot mellowed than the other and tires out faster. I am chalking it up to personality differences, but my wife is getting worried. Should I be?

  13. Hi David
    Are both your babies the same age? Young ferrets’ “on” switch goes for far longer than an older ferret’s so if there’s a difference in age, that could be the reason.
    However it’s hard for me to say definitely if you should be worried. The best thing is to take your little one to a (ferret) vet to get checked out – ferrets do hide their illnesses so by the time you notice something’s wrong, it could be too late. Better safe than sorry 😉
    Hope that’s not the case with your friend!
    Hugs to your dynamic duo from their new friends down under 😀

  14. Yeah, they’re from the same litter (do they call them litters? So much to learn!) mid August birthday. I’ll look at him tonight, if he’s still acting different we’ll take him in. Time to get a vet anyway

  15. Yes, litters are litters in ferret-speak too 😀
    Good idea to keep an eye on him … I’ve recently updated all my US ferret vet pages so hopefully you’ll find a good one near to where you live 🙂

  16. Got home from work and he had diarrhea (or at least it looked different) took him in this morning and he had a respiratory infection. Getting treatment right now. Thanks for the help and cool sight.

  17. So glad to hear that you got the vet to check your boy out, David!
    Hopefully the antibiotics will kick in quickly and you’ll have a pair of zany little critters racing around, causing much laughter and – of course – much love 😀
    Am always glad to be of help – feel free to ask away if you need advice 🙂

  18. Hey, Nona

    My ferrets like to throw food around their cage before eating it off of the floor, or if the one is in a huff! Occasionally their water bottle will leak and mix with the food, creating a gross paste at the bottom. This can usually be cleared up in a matter of seconds, however, just a few minutes ago I went to clean some paste that had been left for only one day, just to find it had little white worms in it! Should I be more worried about my ferrets or the few flies that come in through my windows? Will the insects harm them? Will my ferrets eat them? I’ve watched ferrets for almost four years now and this has NEVER happened!

  19. Hi my little guy bandit is 8 years old. Some days he acts like he can’t walk and just lays in my arms and I just baby him. But then the next day he seems fine. This has happened several times. I have also noticed his claws on the hind legs have become very thick. I don’t know what’s up, because he always jumps back to normal self.

  20. Eeeuww! It really sounds gross to see maggots wriggling around in that paste as you described, Michelle!
    I really don’t think it’d be good for your ferrets to have them in the cage – bleh 😮
    Is there any way you can change the water bottle around so that it didn’t drip on the food? Have you tried using a heavy ceramic bowl instead of a water bottle? I guess the ferrets would use it as a bath and the water would splash about and make things worse 🙁
    Not sure what else to suggest other than putting flywire on your windows, if that’s possible.
    I’ve heard that Revolution kills internal parasites in ferrets, as well as fleas and mites, so it might be an idea to use that on your gang as worms can make an animal sick.
    I do hope you manage to stop this from happening and am sorry I can’t give you any concrete suggestions!
    Hugs to your gang from their friends down under 🙂

  21. Hi Tanya
    I do know that insulinoma can affect a ferret’s hind legs so am wondering if that’s what’s wrong with Bandit. Maybe he has a drop in his sugar levels which make him feel so bad he can’t walk, then the levels stabilise and that’s why he bounces back.
    Normally if a ferret has a insulinoma “event” the owner has to rub honey or karo syrup on its gums to get them back to normal so the fact that you don’t have to do that makes me wonder if it *is* insulinoma or something else totally different.
    I don’t know why his nails on his back feet would be thick though 🙁
    You can check out my page about this wretched disease and see if Bandit has any other symptoms …


    I would strongly suggest you take Bandit to the vet to be checked out. If it is insulinoma, the vet will put him on Pred and that should regulate his sugar levels and hopefully he won’t have days when he feels so bad that he can’t move.
    Big hugs for Bandit – I hope he gets better soon!

  22. Thank you for your help, nonetheless. I have taken to vacuuming or sweeping underneath the bowl before the paste forms instead of wiping it up afterwards. They don’t seem to be any different and I am hoping it was just a one-time thing!
    Your site is a big help, thank you!

  23. That’s great news, Michelle 😀
    So glad you find the site helpful – you’re most welcome and thanks so much for telling me! It means a lot 🙂

  24. HI Nona,
    I have a ferret named Cinder Ella.She is about four years old. I (or should I say she)have also had issues with fleas.I took her to All Pets Hospital for this and to just get her checked out.She has always been very small compared to other ferrets I’ve seen. The vet told me that she was great. Very healthy and well behaved. Lol! Anyway,her weight in March was 1.78lbs. The vet recommended revolution, and since I was worried about using to much and making her sick,by the vet had it measured for her weight. It seemed to work for a couple to three weeks only,so I called the vet and she said I could go ahead and put another dose on Cinder.It seemed to work for less time each time. Well,I have now run out and am wondering what I should do, cause the fleas are back and she’s itching like crazy. I try not to bathe her more than once a month cause that’s what I was told is best. I use a natural non-soap shampoo and yes most of the fleas seem to die or at least she gets some relief, but it’s not enough. Do you think I should use the Dawn or Frontline, or should I go back to the vet? Just need an opinion from someone who seems to know about this situation.
    Thank you for taking the time to help all of us dummies! I have enjoyed reading your posts.

  25. My clock obviously is not set right cause it’s 4:42pm.At least here in Louisiana that is. Lol.

  26. Hi Keri
    It’s really good to know your little girl has been given a clean bill of health by her vote but troubling to hear that the Revolution hasn’t really fixed her flea problem 🙁
    Do you know where the fleas are coming from? Did you flea bomb your house at all to kill the eggs that might have been laid?
    When we had that horrible flea infestation in our house years ago, I took all our animals out and flea bombed the whole house. Then I put the Revolution on the dog, cats and ferrets but didn’t let the animals back in until I vacuumed the place thoroughly. After that we had no problems with fleas!
    To be honest, I don’t know what the other products are like, never having used them.
    Did you read that article about flea control by Dr Brown on this page? It talks about the different products so might be helpful 🙂
    Another thing which I thought of is a post which a reader named Lucia put on my Natural Remedies page, talking about a certain type of shampoo which helped her itchy ferret …
    “I then thought to try some colloidal oatmeal instead of her ferret shampoo and it has been amazing! It completely cleared her skin irritation, and on top of that it left her feeling much softer after bath times.”


    Maybe if you got that to wash your girl it’d help?
    I really think you should try and find the source of the flea problem and once you get rid of that, then the Revolution should work fine!
    I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed my site and I appreciate you telling me that!
    Hope my suggestions help and please give your girl a big hug from her new pals down under 😀

  27. Hi, my new ferrets are both infected with giardia, they are marshells kits, I got them a week ago, we informed the petco, and they got them two weeks ago. If anyone else has any new kits from marshells, mine are 2 months old, and not showing symptoms. We took them in for a checkup and found out, the meds are only like $40, getting them checked is a bit more, but it can be deadly to ferrets, so be sure to get your kits checked!

    Attached image:

  28. Rain, I’m really sorry to hear that your two babies had giardia but wonderful that you took them to a vet and got them fixed up! I’m so surprised that pet stores are allowed to sell kits that aren’t healthy 🙁
    Thanks so much for posting that photo of them – they are absolutely gorgeous DesiSmileys.com

  29. The pet store didn’t know, they tracked down the third ferret who was with Koda and Koby, and got him fixed up aswell. There still might be more sick babies though, so hopeful they can all be tracked down!

  30. My ferret has a flat black thing as long as her toe. I don’t know if it’s attached to the skin or the fur. Is it safe to take off?

  31. Morgan, I honestly don’t know what to suggest. What kind of flat black thing is it?
    If it’s attached to the fur then yes, it should be fine to pull off.
    However if it’s attached to its skin, then you’d best be very cautious about removing it in case it’s something like a tick. If you pull it off you might leave bits attached and that could cause a problem. The safest bet is to take your ferret to the vet and have it removed by them.
    Good luck!

  32. i have a ferret [sammy] who is 4 years old, and is extreamly healthy and strong. the only thing that worries me about him, – is that instead of brown crust below eyes.. – it is red colored. does any one know of what that is? much help aperchiated, thanks.

  33. Hi Brandi, I’m not sure I understand what you mean by Sammy having “red colored” crust below his eyes.
    Do you mean the colour of the fur under his eyes? If you do mean that then please don’t worry – the different colour of fur is just a genetic thing and nothing to worry about.
    If he actually has something crusty under both his eyes, then you should take him to the vet for a check up!
    Big hugs to Sammy from his new buddies down under 🙂

  34. Hi, I have a male ferret ( Columbus ) he’s 1 yrs old. I just started noticing small bits of brown/ red crust in his eyes. It’s in the spot where ppl have sleep in there eyes. He’s eating awesome , drinking not really playing as much but I think that’s because he’s gain sooo much weight for the winter so Mabey that’s slowing him down. But the eye thing is really bugging me cause I don’t know if it’s something I should worry about or not.

  35. Hi Jen & Chris
    I would suggest that you get Columbus checked out by a (ferret) vet in case the goop is due to an eye infection or even because of a cracked molar at the back of his mouth! Does his breath smell bad at all? If it does then that would suggest it was a bad tooth :/
    I’m sure that if it is something which is troubling him, once the vet finds the source and fixes it then your boy will be back to his usual weaasel wardancing self 😀
    Hugs to Columbus from his new buddies down under!

  36. thank you . Nope no bad teeth, all healthy 🙂 the day I saw it starting I called the vet. But im still trying to pay vet bills.an I can’t pay them until next week. Until that happens they won’t see him 🙁
    In the mean time, should I get some saline eye drops + neosporn ?
    What would you suggest ?

  37. Great to hear that it’s not a dental problem! 🙂
    I personally don’t know what neosporn is … ooops, just googled it! Which type of Neosporin were you planning to get? I can’t imagine any would be good for Columbus’ eyes as the ones I saw were “wound care, eczema care & lip care products”! I didn’t see anything for eyes.
    I do know that collodial silver is apparently good to use on an animal’s eyes as it’s an antibiotic and safe …


    I also found this information which I hope will be helpful …
    The type of discharge you are describing is usually associated with an eye infection. It usually will not clear up on its own and requires an antibiotic ointment prescribed by your vet. Usually vets prescribe an ointment called “neo-poly-bac” which is an ointment used directly in the eye. A call to your vets office and you may be able to just go in and pick up the prescription without the hassle of an office visit if your vet is anything like mine. If not, you will have to make him an appointment and have him examined. I would suggest that you do this as soon as possible. Left untreated the infection can and will cause serious eye problems including blindness.
    In the meantime you can help by keeping his eyes clean. Use a warm (not hot) cloth to gently clean the eyes thoroughly. Do not rub the eyeball itself but clean as much of the “gunk” out of his eyes as possible. You will need to do this eight or more times a day (even if eyes are not crusted shut) until you can get to your vets office. Your vet should explain how to use the ointment and how often. Basically you will clean his eyes thoroughly each morning and place a small amount of ointment into the eye. Rub gently to insure it gets into the eyeball area. Your vet can decide whether it needs to be done once a day or twice a day.


    One of the symptoms of canine distemper are goopy eyes so I hope that’s not what’s causing Columbus’ problem. His vaccinations are all up-to-date, aren’t they? I do hope so as canine distemper cannot be cured 🙁
    Hope you manage to heal his eyes naturally so that you don’t need to see the vet 🙂

  38. Hi everybody,

    I am struggling to find what my Ferret has and my doctor is checking with other doctors to see if they know more about this.
    Maybe from your experience you can advise me.
    Mitso, is an albino ferret, she is almost 8 years old and she has been very healthy without any serious issues before.
    1 week ago, she started throwing up and was not moving or eating. We did a therapy with the doctor to stop the vomiting and she took some painkillers also and now she is much better. She can move, eat and drink. When she wakes up, she is very energetic, like she always been, with no signs of any issues. After usually 10-15 min, she starts to behave very strange. She looks dizzy, she is losing her balance, her back legs are shaking and she is collapsing on her stomach. We give her water (with some sugar), food and she is eating and drinking but she is not recovering. She start to shake also and we are putting her back in her bed to rest.
    After some hours (2-3) she is waking up and the whole thing starts again.

    Do you believe this is insulinoma? My doctor thinks that after the food and water she should be better if was insulinoma and for that reason we have not started a prednisolone thereapy.
    Any advise will be much appreciated.


  39. Hi Yiannis
    I am so sorry to hear about Mitso – the poor little thing 🙁
    It certainly seems to be insulinoma IMHO. If you look at my Insulinoma page, it seems like Mitso has a number of symptoms which are listed there …


    Are you in the States? Why I ask is because there’s a very experienced ferret vet in Maryland who is always happy to help vets if they have a puzzling case so you might want to give his details to your vet. He told me he’s always happy to help and gave instructions on what to say in the subject line so that it doesn’t go into the spam folder. Here are his details …

    Jeffrey Rhody, DVM
    Lakeside Veterinary Center, LLC
    8693 Cherry Lane
    Laurel, MD 20707 US
    Phone : (301) 498-8387
    Fax : (301) 498-0816
    He said …
    “You can always reach me if you need to via my email, which is lakesidevc1 AT verizon DOT net
    I would only ask that you put something regarding “ferret” / “ferret question” or something like that in the title line because I get so much spam I often delete it, and I don’t want your message to be deleted and I’ll try to get back to my emails as soon as possible.
    But if your vet has any questions they can certainly reach me via VIN or via the email and I’d be glad to answer their questions. I do a lot of consulting on the phone as well.”

    I hope you manage to find out what’s troubling Mitso so that she improves. There’s nothing more stressful that having a sick ferret, is there 🙁
    If you find out that Mitso does have insulinoma, check out the link on my page called “Ferrets and Insulinomas by David McCluggage, DVM, CVA (WellVet.com)”. He talks about giving your ferret a special meat-based diet & certain supplements. When I first read that, we couldn’t get Diabenil in Australia but now we can – however it’s very expensive 😮
    Touch wood, I haven’t had a ferret with insulinoma for several years now so I haven’t actually tried the supplements recommended in that article on any of my guys; but I do have a very bald girl with adrenal problems ATM and she is doing really well on the supplements I’m giving her so I honestly believe they can help our sick ferrets.
    Hope that’s been of some help to you.
    Please give Mitso a big hug from her new friends down under 🙂

  40. Thank you very much Nona for you great advise. Much appreciated.
    I am based in UK but i will try and send a note to the doctor you mentioned.
    Mitso is a brave girl and she is trying hard to fight it every day. Is very heart breaking watching her wanting to play or walk and not being able.
    Hope that she can be OK soon and start jumping and running a round as she used to.


  41. Yiannis – another thought. I would strongly recommend giving her a daily smoothie with a couple of supplements to help her. Milk Thistle is excellent to help the liver and a vet suggests that DMG (dimethylglycine) “can provide wonderful positive benefits to humans and animals”. And I quote …
    ““DMG for Seizuring Animals
    Ferrets with Insulinoma
    “DMG increases the threshold for seizures and can reduce seizures in all types of animals. In some cases, if DMG is added to a seizuring animal’s therapy, it may decrease the amount of anticonvulsants required by an animal. This can be very beneficial for ferrets suffering from insulinoma, until the blood sugar issues are under control. Diet plays a huge role in helping stabilize a ferret suffering from insulinoma, and Young Again Ferret Food is one very positive step in improving the health of a ferret. In some cases, an insulinoma may present as a solitary tumor in the pancreas, but for most ferrets, the lesions are microscopic infiltrates, and surgery is not considered the best way to treat this condition. Some veterinarians recommend surgically removing approximately 1/3 of the pancreas, usually the tail of the pancreas, however, the pancreas is a delicate organ and surgery is not always beneficial.”


    I actually give my guys about 1/16th teaspoon of DMG in their smoothie, together with 3 drops of milk thistle so if you could get those two supplements and start giving Mitso a daily smoothie, I’m sure it would help her. Just get some NO LACTOSE milk, add an egg yolk and those supplements, mix it really well and serve. Hopefully she’ll love it and lick it all up. Another good supplement is Astaxanthin, which is a great antioxidant. I just prick a hole in the capsule and squeeze a couple of drops into the smoothie and then take the rest of the pill myself 🙂
    I can’t say definitely that the smoothie will help Mitso but it certainly won’t hurt her so do try it out. I was able to order DMG through a site called iHerb.com – I *think* it’s worldwide so you should be able to order stuff for the UK. I just checked and yes, it has Great Britain in its list of countries! I get all my herbal supplements via that site and have never been disappointed by their service 🙂
    Wishing you the best of luck with Mitso! You’re a great ferret father for looking out for your little girl and I salute you 😀

  42. I have a 3 year old male ferret that has a lump behind his ear that is growing slowly, what do I do?

  43. Starr, you really need to get him to a ferret vet asap.
    It could be that the lump is benign but, unfortunately, it could also be malignant and that would be awful 🙁
    Please check my Vets page if you don’t have a good vet that you know of … I hope you’ll find someone good who’ll be able to help you and help your boy!
    Hugs to your little man from his new friends down under 🙂

  44. Hey I have a 2 year old ferret and I just happened across your web site. Kyrin as we call him is harnessed trained and has been trained as a type of service animal for my friend. I had her pick him out and everything. When we got him home he was under nurished due to the food pellets pet co was feeding him and we noticed he wasn’t retaining water like he should have. we have no idea how long he had been in that condition but we found a blended diet of ferret food and his favorite cat food brought his weight back to it’s healthy point. he now has all the energy of the world and has learned everything from bringing requested items to my friend to Stopping my friend from crossing the street if a car is coming. Now that he’s fully trained and has figured out that he is allowed both inside and outside with his leash. he has started licking Moss. Frankly I’m confused by this. My friend simply thinks he’s doing it to clean up a outside mess. but i believe it isn’t healthy for him. I’m fairly sure Wild ferrets don’t even lick moss but i may be wrong. he’s a smart little fella and knows the dangers of the outside world including cars and other animals, and even most of the plants around our area aren’t safe for him so he avoids them like the plegue as well. I know moss holds in alot of liquid and that maybe all he’s licking up but he has plenty of fresh water daily and he even gets to have a tub of water once a week he can play in (No soap just to goof off in) yet even after he’s done drinking he will still go outside on his leash and lick at the moss.

  45. What a wonderful story and how fabulous that Kyrin is such an intelligent little boy and does such a great job looking after your friend! I’ve always thought that ferrets were clever little critters but didn’t think they could be trained as well as your boy was! Fantastic! DesiSmileys.com
    However I’m completely stumped as to why Kyrin likes to lick moss Worried
    The only thing I can think of is that perhaps there are some minerals or vitamins in the moss which Kyrin needs or likes?!? If you knew what type of moss he licks, you could perhaps check on Google to see if it has any therapeutic properties which might explain why Kyrin likes it.
    Hope that’s been of some help and please give Kyrin a big hug from his new buddies down under 😀

  46. Thank you its a bit of a relief. But i’ll keep an eye on him just to be sure. if it does turn out to be bad for him. He will learn to avoid it if it makes him sick. And as for training its easy if you know the little fuzzy well enough and get them when they are young. He went through about a year of training total. Kyrin is also Trained to do many things that most people wouldn’t think possible for his little size. but i found his favorite treats, positive training and a bit of his favorite habits help with training. He’s trained that if his cage door wasn’t locked all the way he wont escape unless his leash is on and my friend call for him. my friend had never had a service animal before and once he was trained she couldn’t believe it. she was surprised by his disipline and his skills that he’s learned over his young life so far. He wont eat people food and that’s his own skill so We don’t have to stress about him grabbing candy or anything that resembles people food. he will on occasion bring my friend her wrapped sweets but he will drop them on her lap and run the other direction until she’s moved it out of her lap. He’s one strange ferret but unlike a lot of other ferrets he’s been introduced to probably 25 different species of dogs, 10 different species of cats, rabbits, rodents, birds, and he knows how to chase off a stray animals. I’ve owned personally 4 other ferrets before this little guy. and the only other one i had trained this well was Zaidie and she wasn’t trained as a service animal.
    Quite the opposite. she was a trained hunter. She would reduce the rabbit population from my grandma’s home as they were eating her out of house and home. *literally.* She was ruthless but the kills were swift and she was always off leash. and once she made one kill would return with it and wait for the command to go out and do it again. but with people or animals that were pets she would act like a normal little furry ferret and bounce and yip. She was a trained pocket pet. she would stay in someone’s hoody or pocket until you put your hand close and then she’d pop her head out and look around to see what to do. Zaidie knew her name and knew her limits. She could ride in a car and could tell me when she needed to go to the restroom.
    The reason these ferrets are all so well trained is because of an accident i had with my very first ferret. Zeke. I had taken him to the park in his velcro harness that pet co swore he would be alright in. But he ran to the end of his leash and the velcro gave way and he slipped out of the harness and ran right into the road. the driver didn’t even know he had hit him. and probably thought Zeke was a Squirrel. I never want that to happen again so all the ferrets i have gotten since have to be trained to avoid roads. and adding on other training isn’t that hard to do once you figured it.
    All in all I believe everyone trains their little furry ferrets just a bit. even if no one realizes it. I bet some of you have trained your ferrets to know when dinner time is. Or better yet when its time to be awake, you’ll know it’s happened cause as your sleeping in on your day off the little furry one escapes its cage and sneaks into your room and wakes you up. (This has happened with a few of my sneaky little furry friends *Rebel*) 😀 Thank you for this chance to just express some of my ferret tails for you. Kyrin’s still young and i’m sure he’ll keep learning Just like any other ferret would. I’m sure he’s smart enough to tell a bad moss from a good moss.

    Thank you for replying to me Nona and I have told him about you and even read your comment out loud for my friend and little Kyrin I got a bit “I told you so” but that’s alright I’d rather have asked that just ignored it. lol

  47. Lyulf, you should write a training manual for those who want to train their ferrets! Your stories are absolutely amazing and I had no idea that ferrets could be trained as well as that!
    I’ve always known they were incredibly intelligent little animals but I thought they were so independent that training them like a dog would be impossible 😮
    High Five to you! You’ve achieved what I’ve always thought was the impossible DesiSmileys.com
    More hugs to your very special little guy from Kimiko and Mojo, his new admirers 😉 I’ve told my girls about what a cool dude Kyrin is and suggested that perhaps the girls would like to try and emulate him but all I got was a sleepy “Meh” from my duo (please DON’T repeat that to Kyrin)!!! 😀

  48. Hey I just got my baby ferret yogi the other day, he seems energetic sometimes but when he wakes up he slides out of bed and just layes on the floor some more, he doesn’t seem to have much interest in toys either .. But he’s eating/drinking and I think his poo looks normal, it’s green/brown And thick clayish looking, more green than brown tho.

  49. Katie, I’m really sorry but I have no idea what is wrong with Yogi 🙁
    Please take him to a ferret vet ASAP to be checked out … I’ve gone through all my ferret vets in the States so I hope you can find a good vet nearby! It’s not something you should ignore – seriously 🙁
    Wish I could give you some idea of what’s wrong with Yogi but I can’t … PLEASE TAKE HIM TO A FERRET VET ASAP as he doesn’t sound like he’s very well at all!!! 😮

  50. Hi, we had to have our 12 yr old girl (Sasha) put to sleep in August. We have her tubby cheeky buddy Robin who is about 11yrs old all by herself now. She is still very healthy, eating and drinking well, moving without any issues however she sleeps an awful lot more than she used to (I think its because she has lost her play mate and cuddle buddy) and just lately her poop has gotten a funny smell to it however it still looks ok. Sasha had the same smell to her poop for a while before she started to shut down and we decided to have the death process helped along by the vet. I guess my question is do you think I should have my Robin put down or the change of poop smell normal with very well aged ferrets. I only know of one ferret who lived as long as my two girls did so I guess it’s not something most ferret owners would be knowledgeable in. I’d just hate to think there is something going on in her body that’s not comfortable for her and I did nothing about it. Sasha went down hill rather fast, she was fine in the morning (alert, nosey, hungry and her usual cheeky self) and in the afternoon after getting home from picking up my new car she was well into the process of passing over. Any advice you have would be appreciated. Reading everything on this site has been great. I wish I had found it years ago but better late than never. Thanks for your knowledge and passion for little ferries should be more people like you and more sites like this. 😊

  51. Hi Shez
    I am so sorry to hear about Sasha but I reckon she had 12 wonderful years with you so was a very lucky girl!
    As for Robin … I honestly don’t know what to say! If she were my ferret, I wouldn’t think of taking her for her final visit to the vet yet 🙁
    You know how a ferret’s poop can look different or smell different if they eat something so perhaps that’s why her poop is smelling different? Have you checked her breath? I know a broken tooth can make a ferret’s breath smell bad and could cause their poop to smell off too. I’ve had a couple of ferrets with dental problems and they were fine once their teeth were pulled.
    I know how quickly they can go downhill when sick and I understand your reasoning, but I always feel so dreadful when I’ve had to take any of my guys for their final visit that I want to make sure there’s nothing we can do for them before I take them.
    I lost my boy, Dash, to a very aggressive form of lymphoma in May last year. He was fine but then, one weekend, I noticed his poop was looking weird – green and gassy, so I was sure he had a blockage, as that was how Snoopy’s poop looked when she swallowed that olive pit years ago.
    I couldn’t see my usual vet on the Monday so took her to another specialised vet – they took an x-ray and blood tests and the result was that they weren’t sure if it was a blockage so we needed to take him for an ultrasound. We did that on the Thursday and it confirmed it was lymphoma 🙁
    I gave him all the supplements in a daily smoothie I could to help get the cancer to slow down and although I knew he wasn’t well, he was mooching about, eating and drinking and sleeping with the others quite happily. But 6 weeks later, on the Sunday he refused his smoothie and that set off warning bells. The next morning his back legs wouldn’t work so we had to take him for his final visit :'(
    A week later I got my husband to take Mojo, my albino girl whom I knew had adrenal problems as she lost all her hair, to the vet as her stomach suddenly got very swollen 🙁 My husband came back and said that our vet said that Mojo’s liver was very swollen but he didn’t tell me that the vet thought she only had a few days, maximum a week, left on this earth!
    I did a lot of research on the internet to find out the best supplements to protect her liver and put those in her daily smoothie and, as she had swollen glands, I found out which supplements would be good to drain her glands.
    8 months later our vet is amazed that Mojo is still with us! She still has her swollen belly and from the back the poor girl looks like an armadillo, but she is happy and shows no sign of pain or discomfort! Maybe I’m lucky that she loves her smoothie and actually comes to the kitchen when she hears my electric beater going as she knows I fixing up her smoothie 😉
    So, I’m telling you this just to show that a ferret who perhaps is not in the best of health can still carry on happily 🙂
    Perhaps you should take Robin to your vet for a check up to see what the vet says?
    I hope I’ve helped you figure out a decision for Robin and not just rambled on! 🙂
    Thank you very much for your very kind words about my site – I do appreciate it when ferret owners tell me they’ve enjoyed my site as it really was/is a work of love! I must say I am totally bewitched by these gorgeous little critters and don’t think I could ever be without one!
    Hugs to Robin from her new friends across the Nullarbor!

  52. Please, please, please take your ferret to a knowledgeable vet as soon as possible!
    Hopefully it won’t be cancerous but the sooner you get it to the vet, the better the outcome!
    If you don’t know of a ferret vet, please check out my US Vets page to see if there is someone close to where you live …


    I really hope it’s nothing serious 🙁
    Hugs to your little one and sending lots of positive vibes for a good outcome

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