10 Situations – Get To A Vet


10 Situations Where You Should Get Your Ferret To A Vet

From our friends over at Ferret Love

Written by: Jess Fenyo and used on HFF with permission

Google Docs Version

Time and time again, people turn to Facebook for advice when in reality they can be wasting precious time that could save their ferrets life. So here is a list of just some of the ferret emergencies that should be attended to by a vet, and not by the Facebook community.

  • Difficulty Breathing: This is the most urgent emergency of any animal including your ferret. If your ferret is struggling to breathe GET IT TO A VET! Facebook is not the place to be right now. At first breathing problems may be hard to recognise, some signs include heaving sides, breathing with their mouth open,coughing, wheezing and weird respiratory noises.
  • Inability to Urinate or Defecate: This can indicate an obstruction or blockage, as we have seen in this group THIS CAN KILL A FERRET. Ferrets with obstructions or blockages suffer agonizing pain and should not be left to suffer, many people will offer you temporary advice including feeding pumpkin however ultimately the vet is the place for your ferret. The risk of temporary measures not working are too great, we do not want to see you lose your ferret. Failure to act (or waiting to see what happens) can lead to your ferret suffering renal failure, tissue death and rupturing of organs, then your ferret WILL die so ACT EARLY.
  • Stop Eating and/or Drinking: This is often seen with inability to urinate or defecate and generally means serious trouble for your ferret, this can be the symptom and cause of many health problems. Furthermore a ferret that is not eating or drinking can quickly become dehydrated, this is also serious.
  • Signs of Severe Pain or Obvious Distress: As you should all know by now ferrets are the master of hiding pain (like all animals) so if it’s hit that point they show pain, get to the vet. This can be a signs of something sinister happening you don’t know about. Signs may include vocalising, panting, hiding and overacting to contact with a painful area.
  • Sudden Paralysis: Enough said really, if your ferret is suddenly paralysed get to the vet, don’t consult with Facebook.
  • Sustained Vomiting and/or Diarrhea: i.e. more than one isolated incidence of either requires urgent veterinary attention ESPECIALLY when blood is present in either. While a once of episode of either does not necessarily mean you should panic then and there, when it becomes sustained vomiting of diarrhea ferrets can rapidly dehydrate, have a blood glucose crash and can go downhill quickly (especially kibble fed ones).
  • Ingestion of Toxins/swallowing a foreign object or Choking: All of these should be seen by a vet immediately before it kills your ferret, again enough said, don’t ask Facebook you are wasting precious time. Some people may advise that you induce vomiting HOWEVER:


        • If your ferret has swallowed a toxin and even if you don’t not know what it is, only induce vomiting UNDER DIRECTION FROM YOUR VET (not Facebook users).
        • If your ferret has swallowed a foreign object DON’T try to induce vomiting. Surgically removing an object from the stomach is far easier than something stuck in the esophagus, in this case you may easily make the situation A LOT worse than what it has to be.
        • If your ferret is choking, trying to induce vomiting will only make the situation worse.


  • Profound lethargy, collapse or unconsciousness (not to be confused with dead sleep): all of these should have you racing to a vet. Lethargy may manifest as a ferret hiding in one place and not reacting to stimuli like they usually would, and could indicate a serious problem. The other two are quite self-explanatory and while you may get some temporary advice from Facebook you will ultimately be wasting precious time for your ferret and waiting for some advice may cost your ferret its life.
  • Seizure: In ferrets this is often seen in those suffering from insulinoma, if you have never seen a seizure in your ferret before get your arse to the vet. It could be insulinoma, it could be a symptom of exposure to a toxin. If ANY ferret is seizing for over a minute get in the car, as an owner with a dog who has epilepsy I am horribly aware that seizures lasting more than 5 minutes may lead to brain and nerve damage. It’s not something you should wait out if the seizure isn’t stopping, also be aware that seizures can come in clusters.


As a side note, If it’s the first seizure you have ever seen, take a mental note of how long it lasts for, and what the signs are during the seizure (convulsions etc.) and after so you can tell your veterinarian when you get there.

  • Bleeding: Ok seriously, if your ferret is bleeding and the bleeding is not stopping get to a vet, take measures to try stop or minimize bleeding on the way but don’t try to stitch things up yourself. You need the bleeding stopped at the source and if you try to DIY you could miss this and end up with a dead ferret.


At the end of the day, while some Facebook users may have good temporary advice, in reality the clock is ticking for your ferret and waiting for advice and trying to decipher what is good (and what is not) is wasting time (especially when admin are not around to cut out the crap for you). Very rarely will a user be a qualified veterinarian which is the person you NEED to see in these situations and although we are happy for people to ask advice on general health matters in these situations by messing around on Facebook you are gambling with your ferrets life.


Please note that under Australian Law (Companion Animals Act 1998 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979) it is against the law to do anything but see a vet when veterinary treatment is necessary, veterinary treatment DOES NOT INCLUDE FACEBOOK!! Other countries may have similar laws so please be aware of your local legal requirements when it comes to your responsibilities to your animals.