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For Ferrets Only
Ask Angela


Hair Loss:


 

QUESTION:
I read the answers on your web site that other folks have asked about this, but still don't know what she has. She is about 3 years old and started losing hair on her tail at first, then it moved up to the rump (you can see her hip bones). It has not spread any further and there is no hair loss anywhere else. Does this sound like rat tail or adrenal disease. She acts normally in every other way. (She has always been very hyper). Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:
From your description it sounds as if your ferret has adrenal disease. Ferrets with adrenal disease really never show signs of illness until complications arise. They do however seem quite 'hyper' that is from the excess of the sex hormones produced in adrenal disease. Tumors can go into remission and so with the breeding season ending the signs of the disease sometimes go away and hence the confusion for ferret owners. Each year the progression of the disease gets worse, so best look up your options for treatment: www.miamiferret.org. Click on HEALTH CARE and then ADRENAL DISEASE.

 


QUESTION:
About 6 months ago our neighbors daughter was moving back home to save money to by a house. She had a Boa, Cat and ferret. Her parents had a dog and she had to give up one pet. I offered to take the ferret since I always wanted one. The ferret had all his shots and was de-scented. We take him to the vet on a regular basis for all of his needs. A couple months ago we noticed he was loosing hair around his neck and under his chin. We read up on this and figured it was the change of seasons or something like that. I continued to get worse so I took him to the vet. The vet did a skin scrape, checked for mites but all turned up negative. Then the vet gave me a topical ointment called "Revolution". I used that but it is getting worse. The hair loss is starting to go up to his head and hair is extremely thin. I am very worried since he is part of the family and my 3 boys treat him like a 4 brother. Can you please shed some light on this matter.

ANSWER:
You didn't say how old the ferret is, however it sounds from your description that he has the classic hair loss of a ferret with ADRENAL DISEASE, it is one of the most common ailments in ferrets and can be treated, either by surgery, or medication.

 

Your vet should have recognized this from the start, Revolution is for 'bugs', that will not cure his problem! It might be best to print out the info on ADRENAL DISEASE, by going to my LINKS page and clicking on SOUTH FLORIDA HELPLINE, once there go to HEALTH CARE and then to ADRENAL DISEASE, give it to your vet, or find a ferret knowledgeable vet.

 

There are many FERRET CLUBS and RESCUES that can recommend a good vet to you.

 


QUESTION:
I have a female who is a year and 4 months, de-scented and spayed. I noticed today on middle of tail underneath she has some hair loss its about an inch long and not very wide. I haven't noticed anything else wrong with her. Its not scaly or red its just like she got shaved. I looked at her rectum area and it looks normal. Please if you have any ideas please email me back.

ANSWER:
From the amount of hair that is missing it really doesn't sound like anything to worry about. Sometimes ferrets lose their hair on the tail, it is a seasonal thing and it usually grows back in, with the next coat change, if it gets worse then you may need to consult with your veterinarian.

Since we keep our ferrets indoors they often do not grow a thick winter coat but will exhibit a thicker undercoat with the change of season. Depending on where you live and the amount of daylight hours will determine for the ferret whether it should grow it's Winter or Summer coat.

Maybe the position that the ferret is sleeping in her bed or hammock could be causing the hair to be removed, you might want to check to see.

 


QUESTION:
We have a 7+ year old ferret. She is still very active and is still eating normal. She is balding very badly and her abdomen is very swollen. Do you know what is wrong and if she is in any pain?

 

ANSWER:
The loss of hair is a sure sign of adrenal disease, which can be treated by surgery, but being 7 years old you may not want to put her through that! You can treat the symptoms with a shot of LUPRON every month, or 4 months, that must be given by your vet.

OR you can buy MELATONIN 1mg tablets, at Wal-Mart and give her one every day at 8-9 hours after sunrise. You will need to crush it into something that she likes, i.e... Nutrical, Ferretone etc..

The abdomen being swollen is a more serious sign! If it is fluid it could indicate a heart problem, if you can feel a huge swollen lump, that appears 'blue' through the skin, then that would indicate she has a swollen spleen.

She could have several serious things going on at the same time, my suggestion would be to go to a 'ferret knowledgeable vet as soon as possible to get a correct diagnosis, THEN you will be able to make a DECISION concerning her health.

If you need a good vet in your area please go to: www.miamiferret.org. There you should be able to get a list of vets.

 




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