Diarrhea is a common disorder in ferrets.and is often associated with other clinical signs such as increased frequency of eliminating, weight loss, lack of appetite, and lethargy. The causes are many; the severity and treatment depends on the cause of disease. Important factors which help determine the cause are the medical history, age of ferret, and physical examination. Additional diagnostic tests may be needed to identify the cause.
Common causes of diarrhea are:
In Young Ferrets
- Rotavirus enteritis - generally seen in ferrets less than 6 weeks of age
- Ferret cornonavirus - also seen in young ferrets where there is exposure to a large number of other ferrets
- Eosinophilic gastroenteritis - associated with inflammation of intestinal and abdominal organs.
- Proliferative colitis - caused by a bacteria; most common in young ferrets- it is often associated with abdominal pain and straining
Related to improper diet
- Campylobacter jejuni infection is the result of feeding contaminated meat products (particularly poultry) or unpasteurized milk.
Most common causes
- Helicobacter mustelae infection is often associated with black tarry stools. Often this disease is associated secondary to another disease so it is important to try to find the primary disease.
- Gastric ulcers: either primary or secondary to Helicobacter mustelae infections -black tarry stools and these ferrets often grind their teeth due to pain.
- Gastrointestinal foreign bodies are a very common cause of diarrhea
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Aleutian disease is a chronic wasting disease caused by a parvovirus
- Lymphosacroma of the intetinal tract
- Gastro-intestinal parasites